The Government has published its Border Operating Model, which details how the UK border will operate for importing & exporting after 1 January 2021. This advice is NOT dependent on whether negotiations end in a Free Trade Agreement with the EU. The steps to take outlined below must be taken regardless of any negotiated outcomes. This advice applies to ANY BUSINESS who buys products, including plants, from the EU (imports) and/or sells products into the EU (exports) including the island of Ireland (i.e. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland). The main government information page on transition is available here.

9 steps to 'Get Ready' for EU-Exit Trade

Prepare your business as soon as possible.
Follow our weekly series of steps below for advice on how to 'Get Ready' which will culminate with a webinar this October.

1. Applying for a GB EORI number

This is required for all businesses moving goods into or out of GB, including those deferring their import declarations.
Read advice

2. Get a Customs Intermediary (Customs agent, broker, freight forwarder)

Customs declarations are complicated.
Read advice

3. Customs Declarations

Customs declarations will be required for all goods moving into or out of GB from 1 January 2021.
Read advice

4. Paying Customs Duty & Paying Import VAT

Traders who import goods regularly may benefit from having a duty deferment account (DDA).
Read advice

5. Phytosanitary (plant health) requirements

If you are importing plants into GB (England, Scotland, Wales) you will need to obtain a phytosanitary certificate (PC) 24 hours before importing the plants into GB.
Read advice

6. UK Plant Passport system

As the UK leaves the European Union on 31 December this year, we will no longer be part of the EU plant health area. England, Scotland and Wales (GB) will have their own plant passport system.  
Read advice

7. Consider Commercial Arrangements - Advice coming 25 Sep

Individual commercial contracts and arrangements may alter the default legal responsibilities and requirements.

Read more on Commercial Arrangements

Contractual obligations for international commercial transactions are outlined in the Incoterms rules, which are administered by the International Chamber of Commerce.

These are an important consideration for traders when moving goods internationally and should be considered and understood by businesses if trading outside of GB.

8. Ensure drivers have correct International Driving Permits - Advice coming 2 Oct

If you control your own haulage cross border, then you will need to ensure your drivers have the correct documentation.

Read more on correct International Driving Permits

For example, an international driving permit (IDP) or an additional licence may be required to drive in some countries.

More information will be provided on GOV.UK as the requirements are clarified.

9. Additional Actions for Customs, VAT, and Excise Processes - Advice coming 9 Oct

Read more on Additional Actions for Customs, VAT, and Excise Processes

  • You may be suitable for facilitations processes which might make importing smoother. From 1 January, a number of facilitations will be available to reduce the impact of import processes. The existing range of customs facilitations for RoW trade will also be available for EU imports. Further information to come or your customs agent can help you.
  • Find the right commodity code for your goods, so that you know which identifying codes to put on your declarations
  • Businesses importing goods into GB should ensure they are familiar with using the ‘Trade with the UK’ tool which provides detailed information on tariffs, taxes and rules. The tariffs shown are those currently being applied until 1 January 2021. Use the UK Global Tariff tool to check the tariffs that will apply to goods imported from 1 January 2021.
  • Exporters of goods from GB should ensure they are familiar with using the ‘Check How to Export Goods’ tool which provides detailed information on duties and customs procedures for over 160 countries.
  • You should engage with your supply chains to discuss how to work together going forward and the information required by different entities to complete customs procedures.

Government guidance

The Government has launched a step by step online tool which guides you to the detail.

For importing to GB

For exporting from GB