Trading and moving between Northern Ireland and Ireland in a no-deal Brexit

How to prepare if you trade goods or move between Northern Ireland and Ireland in a no-deal Brexit.

This guidance was withdrawn on

If you’re in Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides information on how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Before you move or trade goods

  1. Understand the customs procedures for goods moving between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

  2. Check the guidance on VAT on goods you move across the border.

  3. Read the guidance explaining changes for UK exporters to Ireland after Brexit.

  4. Check the guidance on importing excise goods from Ireland to Northern Ireland.

Importing animals, plants, food and drink, and other controlled products

There will be no extra infrastructure at the border for checks on animal or plant health. However, you’ll need to follow new rules and procedures before importing.

Some of these import procedures are different to import procedures for the rest of the UK.

Live animals and products of animal origin from the EU

Find out what you need to do to import animals, animal products, high-risk food and feed into the UK.

Most fish and fish products (including fresh and processed fish), will need a catch certificate and supporting documents for imports into the UK from the EU.

There will be changes to the way that horses and other equines, including ponies and donkeys, are moved between the UK and the EU after Brexit.

Live animals and products of animal origin and high risk agri-foods from non-EU countries

You’ll need to notify UK authorities using the import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS) if you import animals and animal products.

Live animals, germplasm and high risk agri-foods will need to be cleared through a UK or EU Border Inspection Post (BIP).

Products of animal origin from a non-EU country will need to be checked at a UK BIP.

Plant and plant products from the EU

Most plants and plant products (including fruit, vegetables and cut flowers) imported from the EU will continue to enter the UK freely. If you import plants or plant products directly into Northern Ireland that are managed under the EU plant passport scheme now, you’ll need to give notice to Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) after Brexit.

Plants and plant products managed under the EU plant passport regime before Brexit will need their documents and identities checked.

Plant and plant products from non-EU countries

Plants and products that have not been checked at an EU border will need to be checked at your premises. You’ll need to authorise your premises as a Place of First Arrival with DAERA to do this.

Transporting or trading goods, materials, people or chemicals

If you’re a haulier, you can use your Community Licence for journeys:

  • to Ireland
  • through Ireland to other EU or EEA countries
  • through Ireland between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

If you operate vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating above 3.5 tonnes on international journeys, check the licences and permits you need.

Make sure any solid wood packaging meets the requirements for import and export.

Check what else you’ll need to drive in Ireland.

Trade in chemicals

You’ll need to follow both EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and UK REACH rules.

You’ll also need to register for the new online service if you trade and deal in fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances. Read more on GOV.UK about how you can continue to trade and deal in fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances in the UK and EU if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

Trade in pesticides

The EU pesticides regulation will be converted into UK-wide regulations. All existing approvals and authorisations will remain valid in the UK and EU after Brexit.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

The UK will continue to follow the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora.

After Brexit

You may need to apply for a UK CITES permit if you want to trade across the border.

You may also need to change your trade routes to:

  • Belfast International Airport for imports by air
  • Belfast Seaport for imports by sea and across the land border with Ireland

Crossing the border as a visitor

Travel to Ireland will not change, even if there’s no deal. You’ll continue to be able to travel and work there in the same way as before.

If you hold a UK driving licence and you’re going to drive in Ireland, you:

  • will not need an International Driving Permit
  • will need a motor insurance Green Card
  • should display a GB sticker on the left hand side of your number plate

Find out more about driving in the EU after Brexit.

If you’re an Irish citizen, you’ll be able to visit, work and study in the UK without a visa. If you live in Ireland but you’re not an Irish citizen, be aware of what you’ll need to do to visit the UK, including if you’ll need to apply for a visa.

DAERA provides information about what you’ll need to do for travelling across the border with your pet. There is also guidance on GOV.UK about how to prepare for travel with your pet after Brexit.

How services will be affected

If you live or work in a border area, check our guidance about ‘inadvertent roaming’ mobile signal and how it could affect you.

Read about Irish rules and regulations for providing services if you’re a business in a no-deal Brexit.

Moving to, working or living in Ireland

Read guidance about moving to and living in Ireland, including:

  • no-deal Brexit guidance
  • residency
  • healthcare
  • driving

Further information and help and support

All the information provided here is meant for guidance only and you should consider whether you need separate professional advice on how these arrangements could affect your business.

More information is available about the government’s unilateral policy to avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland in a no-deal Brexit.

We’ve also produced a series of videos about trading with the EU in a no-deal Brexit.

Prepare your business or organisation for the UK leaving the EU.

Published 1 January 2019
Last updated 15 October 2019 + show all updates
  1. Information added about moving excise goods, animals, plants, food and drink, and other controlled products, trading in chemicals and pesticides, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the government’s unilateral policy.

  2. First published.