Brexit Transition: Actions

Northern Ireland businesses can take now
If you are a Northern Ireland business, it is important that you act now to prepare for the new
rules in force from 1 January 2021 after the Brexit Transition period ends. has created a checklist with key actions that Northern Ireland
businesses should consider taking as they prepare. These will be required regardless of
discussions with the European Union. Please see below with links to guidance and further

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1. Assess your exposure to changes

There are free tools available to assess where your business will need to make
changes. Use Invest NI’s EU Exit Resilience Tool to assess where you will need to
make changes. You can also access the UK Government’s Transition Checker at This will provide your with a personalised list of actions to take.

2. Register for the Trader Support Service
The Trader Support Service will provide free training and support for businesses for
customs processes that will arise for goods moving between Great Britain and
Northern Ireland. The Trader Support Service can provide support in registering for
an EORI number, understanding Incoterms and in making declarations for goods
moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. Even if you are not sure whether you
will buy from/sell to Great Britain in the next year, it is worth registering just in case.

3. Get an EORI number

If you trade with Great Britain, and you do not already have an EORI number you
should apply for one now – for information on what an EORI is and how to get one,
click here. There is no risk to having an EORI number if you do not use it.

4. Find out the commodity code for goods you buy or sell

If you buy from or sell to Great Britain, you will need to know the commodity codes
for the goods you purchase and sell. For goods you purchase, you should speak to
your supplier, they may be able to tell you the code. You can also check the code
using the Trade Tariff. You should check the tariffs applicable under the EU Common
External Tariffs and UK Global Tariff (UKGT).

5. Register for the UK Trader Scheme

If you move goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland in 2021, you will need to
consider whether a tariff will apply to those goods. There will be two categories of
goods in terms of tariffs: a) those ‘at risk’ of entering the EU to which a tariff will apply
and b) those not ‘at risk’ of entering the EU to which tariffs would not apply. Some
goods will automatically fall into one of these categories – see when goods are ‘at
risk’ and goods are not ‘at risk’ of onward movement to the EU.

It will be possible for certain business to declare that their goods are not ‘at risk’ of
entering the EU. To declare your goods not ‘at risk’ from 1 January 2021, you must
have applied for your UK Trader Scheme authorisation by 31 December 2020. Find
more on who is eligible and how to apply for the UK Trader Scheme.
It may take some time for your application to be processed. However, if you meet the
conditions, you will be granted a provisional authorisation that will allow you to
declare goods not to be ‘at risk’ until HMRC reaches a final decision on your

All businesses that bring goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland should
consider whether they meet the criteria for the UK Trader Scheme.

6. Speak to your haulier

If you move goods to or from Great Britain, ask your haulier what information they will
need from you. Find out whether your goods routinely move through Dublin port, as
processes will be different for goods that travel via Ireland.

7. Speak to suppliers

Ask your suppliers what preparation they have made for the end of the Brexit
transition period. If your supplier is in Great Britain ask whether the terms of trade
(responsibilities of buyers and sellers) through Incoterms will remain the same and
who will be accountable for declaring goods to customs. You should suggest that
your supplier registers for the Trader Support Service.

8. Check your goods regulation

Check whether your goods must meet EU standards and how these goods are
approved for the EU market at the moment. Ask your supplier whether they will
continue to ensure the products meet the requirements for the EU market. If you
bring agri-food products from Great Britain, guidance and support is available from
the Movement Assistance Scheme. The new scheme will assist traders moving
animals, plants and associated goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland and will
include a helpline with advisers ready to help you with the new requirements,
including advice on export health certificates, live animals, animal products, plant and
plant product types.

9. Consider your data

Make a list of all the data flows into and out of your business. If you receive personal
data from the EU, you may need to take action. The Information Commissioner’s
Office has information on possible steps you will need to take and you can also read
further information at

10. Check if you need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme or Immigration
Sponsorship License

If you or one of your staff is an EEA national (excluding Ireland), you or they will need
to apply to the EU Settled Status Scheme. Your employees risk not being able to
continue living or working in the UK if they do not apply to the scheme. Apply to the
EU Settlement Scheme.

If you wish to hire foreign nationals (EU and non-EU, excluding Irish nationals) you
will be required to apply for a sponsorship licence from the Home Office. You should
also consider the impacts of the new points-based immigration system on
recruitment timelines and the costs of the immigration fees associated with the skilled
worker route.

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