Guidance

The automotive sector and preparing for Brexit

Your business may need to make changes before the UK leaves the EU.

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Get ready for Brexit on 31 October. This page tells you how to prepare for Brexit. It will be updated if anything changes, including if a deal is agreed.

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Visit Get ready for Brexit to find more detailed guidance on policy changes relevant to your sector.

Regulation and standards

Automotive regulation

The regulations setting vehicle standards will not change at the moment. However, there are changes regarding type-approval certification, which will affect vehicle manufacturers.

Manufacturers selling new products in EU after the UK leaves would need to follow the existing process for getting a new EC type-approval. Full testing and certification must be done by an EU type-approval authority and a technical service designated by that authority.

Actions you can take now

  1. Manufacturers who want to continue selling products in the EU should check whether their EU approvals were issued by the UK with approval numbers beginning ‘e11’. They will need to begin the process of transferring these to another approval authority following the EU’s procedure

  2. For sale and registration in the UK, manufacturers will need to get a new UK type-approval. Contact the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) with your existing valid EC type-approval numbers at ukta@vca.gov.uk.

Read VCA’s guidance on vehicle type approvals.

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.

Read the guidance on regulating chemicals if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and the chemical regulation guidance from HSE.

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.

Driving in the EU

UK hauliers can continue to use their EU Community Licence until 31 December 2019. You will not need any extra permits to transport goods in EU countries until 1 January 2020.

You will be allowed to:

  • journey to and from the UK, for example, a journey from the UK to Germany, or a journey from Italy to the UK
  • drive through EU countries to reach another EU country, for example, driving through France to reach Spain
  • do limited cabotage or cross-trade journeys – the rules on what you can do will change from the day the UK leaves the EU

Read the guidance on carrying out international road haulage after Brexit.

Importing and exporting

Preparing for disruption to trade at the UK-EU border

  1. 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.

  2. Decide if you want to hire an import-export agent, or make the declarations yourself.

  3. 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.

Read the guidance on customs procedures and VAT for goods moving between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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.

Check the temporary rates of customs duty on imports after Brexit.

Personal data

Data protection

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.

Your employees

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.

Find out how to check an applicant’s right to work and read the guidance on employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens after Brexit.

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.

Business travel

Check the guidance for travellers visiting the EU to find out what you need to do when going abroad for work.

Trade associations

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
Motorcycle Industry Association

Published 1 February 2019
Last updated 14 March 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated with information for users/importers of chemicals and details of the temporary tariff regime.
  2. First published.