Your business may need to make changes before the UK leaves the EU.
Visit Get ready for Brexit to find more detailed guidance on policy changes relevant to your sector.
Importing and exporting
Preparing for disruption to trade at the UK-EU border
Get a UK EORI number (this starts with GB) so you can continue to import or export goods and apply for authorisations that will make customs processes easier for you.
Decide if you want to hire an import-export agent, or make the declarations yourself.
Contact the organisation that moves your goods (for example, a haulage firm) to find out what information they need to make the declarations for your goods, or if you will need to make them yourself.
Read the guidance on simplified customs procedures for trading with the EU if we leave without a deal.
Further information is provided in HMRC’s advice for businesses trading with the EU.
Preparing to move goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, goods moving between Ireland and Northern Ireland will face different procedures compared to other UK-EU trade. This approach will apply until longer-term arrangements are made.
Exporting controlled goods
You will need a new export licence if you are exporting dual-use items from the UK to the EU or the Channel Islands.
- Register on the online export licensing system (SPIRE).
- Check how to apply to use the Open General Export Licence.
This new export licence will remove the need for you to apply for individual licences. You can use it immediately after the UK leaves the EU.
Preparing for changes to existing trade agreements
Check the way you currently trade with non-EU countries. When the UK leaves the EU the way you access existing favourable arrangements with these countries may change. Changes may be different for each country.
Read the guidance on changes to trading with non-EU countries that have a free trade agreement with the EU.
Preparing for changes to import tariffs
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK would implement a temporary tariff regime. This would apply for up to 12 months while a full consultation, and review on a permanent approach, is undertaken.
Under the temporary tariff regime the majority of UK imports would be tariff-free.
In certain sectors, tariffs would be maintained to support the most sensitive agricultural industries, the automotive sector, vulnerable industries exposed to unfair global competition, and to maintain the UK government’s commitment to developing countries.
Regulation and standards
Recognising CAA and EASA licences
Certificates which were issued by the CAA, or for a UK based organisation by EASA, before the UK leaves the EU would no longer be automatically accepted after Brexit.
Read about how businesses can apply for valid safety certification for the EASA system before the UK leaves the EU through third country approval or transferring your licence to another EASA state.
The European Commission Regulation 2019/494 states that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal:
- type certificates (and a number of related certificates) and design organisation approvals issued by EASA to UK organisations before the UK leaves the EU will remain valid for 9 months
- Authorised Release Certificates, Certificates of Release to Service and Airworthiness Review Certificates issued before the UK leaves the EU by organisations approved by the CAA will be valid with no time limit
Businesses with UK-issued certificates for aircraft registered in the EU should check the European Commission’s notice and with the relevant EU authorities.
Further guidance is available on preparing to work and operate in the European aviation sector after Brexit.
Importing or using chemicals
If you use or import chemicals then you will need to check whether you have new obligations under UK REACH (the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation).
For example, if you currently purchase a chemical substance directly from an EU/EEA supplier, you must make sure any substances you purchase are covered by a valid UK REACH registration by someone within your supply chain. Otherwise, in order to remain compliant you will need to register as an ‘importer’. To do so, you must:
- open an account on REACH IT once it is established and provide initial information on your registration within 180 days of the UK leaving the EU
- provide full technical information on your registration within 2 years of the UK leaving the EU.
Ensure you can continue to manufacture and export chemical products
There may also be new actions you need to take if you manufacture or export chemicals. Further information is provided on the HSE website.
European and domestic funding
Current Horizon 2020 grant holders
The government has committed to underwrite funding for Horizon 2020 projects submitted while we are still a member of the EU.
If you’re a UK organisation receiving Horizon 2020 funding you need to register your details. This will make sure that we:
- have initial information about you and your project to underwrite guarantee payments if needed
- can keep you updated about what you need to do next
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will manage the information you provide and update you as the process develops.
For help registering multiple grants, you can email the UKRI grants team at EUGrantsFunding@ukri.org.
Horizon 2020 applicants after Brexit
The government has extended the guarantee to cover funding Horizon 2020 projects where UK organisations are able to participate as a third country. This extension runs from Brexit day until the end of 2020.
Operating in the EU
Cross-border business operations
If your business operates in the EU you may want to seek professional advice or contact the government of the country in which you operate for more information.
UK companies and limited liability partnerships based in an EU country may need to restructure to satisfy the requirements for incorporation in that EU country.
Any UK companies that are carrying out a cross-border merger will need to make sure that they can complete the merger before the UK leaves the EU. You may want to seek legal advice on your specific case.
UK investors in EU businesses need to be aware of any restrictions within the EU country where they are operating.
Read the guidance about structuring your business if there’s a no-deal Brexit and check the requirements of specific EU countries.
Your business will need to make sure it follows data protection law if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
If you operate across the EU or exchange personal data with organisations in the EEA, there may be changes you need to make before the UK leaves the EU.
Read the guidance on sharing personal data across borders and the data protection guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
You can also check if you can use standard contractual clauses (SCCs) for transfers from the EEA to the UK.
Employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens
Right to work checks
You should continue to carry out the same right to work checks on all EU/EEA and Swiss citizens, by using their passport or national identity card, until January 2021.
You will not need to distinguish between EU/EEA and Swiss citizens who were resident in the UK before or after the UK leaves the EU.
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK before the UK leaves the EU
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EU/EEA and Swiss citizens who are resident in the UK before the UK leaves the EU will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to get settled or pre-settled status. This will mean they can continue to live, work and study in the UK.
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens must apply by 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
You can use the EU Settlement Scheme guidance for employers to give further information to your employees.
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens who arrive in the UK after the UK leaves the EU
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens arriving in the UK from Exit Day to 31 December 2020 can continue to come to the UK, to live, work and study without applying for a visa in advance.
After free movement ends, if they want to stay for longer than 3 months, they can read the guidance on staying in the UK to find out what they’ll need to do.
Irish citizens can continue to live, work and study in the UK, just as before.
From 1 January 2021, a new skills-based immigration system will launch.
For non-EU nationals, Brexit will not affect the application process for work visas.
Check the guidance for travellers visiting the EU to find out what you need to do when going abroad for work.