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 export nuclear materials – licensing requirements
When the UK leaves the EU, the overall framework for controls on nuclear-related items will not change.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, businesses will require an export licence to export Dual-Use nuclear-related items. Businesses should register to use the Open General Export Licence (OGEL) to export Dual-Use nuclear-related items.
An export licence will continue to be required for the export of nuclear-related items included on the ‘Trigger List’ to all destinations. Existing export licences issued in the UK for these nuclear-related items will remain valid.
Read the guidance on exporting nuclear-related items for details of the export licence arrangements that will apply and the steps your business will need to take.
Further information on how to apply for export licences is available from the Export Control Joint Unit.
Preparing to import nuclear materials from the EU – licensing requirements
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, businesses will need to apply for an import licence from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to import relevant nuclear materials from the EU. This will be the same as the current process for importing from non-EU countries.
Businesses can apply now. You should allow at least a month for your application to be processed.
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
Preparing for new nuclear safeguards arrangements
When the UK leaves the EU, a new domestic nuclear safeguards regime will come into force. This will be run by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), which already regulates nuclear safety and security in the UK.
The UK has passed new legislation so ONR can implement domestic safeguards. New international agreements have been signed with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to replace trilateral agreements between the IAEA, Euratom and the UK.
All operators in the UK civil nuclear sector will need to comply with the new domestic safeguards regime as it applies to them.
Authorising shipments of radioactive sources between the UK and EU
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, some of the processes that operators need to follow when moving radioactive sources to and from EU countries will change.
Operators will need to comply with the new Shipments of Radioactive Substances (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 when moving radioactive sources between the UK and EU countries.
Read the guidance on shipping radioactive sources between the UK and EU after Brexit.
Authorising shipments of spent fuel and radioactive waste between the UK and EU
The current Euratom arrangements provide the framework for the movement of spent fuel and radioactive waste between countries.
The UK’s current arrangements for the reprocessing of spent fuel and treatment of radioactive waste will continue after the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom. There is no change to the UK government’s policy not to accept overseas origin radioactive waste for disposal in the UK except in specific circumstances.
However, when the UK leaves the EU, the process for authorising new shipments of spent fuel and radioactive waste between the UK and EU countries will change.
The Transfrontier Shipment of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 set out the new arrangements that will apply for the authorisation of shipments of spent fuel and radioactive waste between EU countries and the UK.
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.
Providing services to the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland after Brexit
The UK will no longer operate under the European Economic Area (EEA) regulations for the cross-border trade in services if there’s a no-deal Brexit.
This means that the rights and protections provided by the EU Directives and EU Treaty rights of freedom of movement and freedom of establishment will no longer apply to the UK.
UK businesses will no longer be treated as if they were local businesses. Services provided by UK businesses and professionals will be regarded as originating from a ‘third country’.
UK firms and service providers may face additional legal, regulatory and administrative barriers as a result.
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.
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.