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.

Update: 24 December 2020

Further information has been released on the Plant Health Portal, particularly on Exports and How to Use PEACH, plus clarity on PoDs and phytosanitary certificates plus multidrops and how they will work up until 1 July 2021.

Also check out the HTA News pages for up to the minute advice - there have been very recent changes to exporting to the EU and Northern Ireland trade.

HTA have also put togther a spreadsheet advising on the likelihood of inspections by species or category, aligning it with the physical check frequencies document included in the Defra guidance above. We invite members to use it as a tool in decision-making processes when planning purchases from the EU in 2021. Whilst not exhaustive, we believe it is a helpful starting point. 

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

Prepare your business as soon as possible.
Follow our series of steps below for advice
on how to 'Get Ready' and click here to watch our webinars.


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

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

8. Transporting Goods

Once the transition period ends in December transporting goods into and out of the UK will become a more complicated process. 
Read advice

9. Don't miss our webinars

Our series of webinars with Q&A sessions will help members prepare for the changes to EU Exit trade from 1 January 2021 by providing the very latest updates, advice and next steps to help you 'Get Ready’. 
Watch webinars

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