Ireland: providing services from 1 January 2021

Guidance for UK businesses on rules for selling services to Ireland from 1 January 2021.

Brexit transition: new rules for 2021

The UK has agreed a deal with the EU. This page tells you the new rules from 1 January 2021.

Use the Brexit checker to get a personalised list of actions and sign up for email updates.

Read this page in combination with the general guidance for EEA countries and Switzerland.

The authoritative source for Irish market regulations is the Irish government. This guidance links to official Irish sources wherever possible.

General information

The UK government and the Government of Ireland have committed to maintaining the Common Travel Area (CTA).

Rights to work, study and access social security and public services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals in the other’s state.

What UK businesses and professionals need to know

From 1 January 2021, UK businesses will need to comply with both UK and Irish rules.

You’ll need to follow rules for:

  • cross-border trade
  • establishing and structuring your business
  • business travel and visa requirements
  • recognition of UK professional qualifications
  • data protection

The UK and Irish governments are committed to maintaining the CTA and protecting the associated reciprocal rights. As such, the arrangements described below are without prejudice to the rights available to individuals under the CTA.

Find out more about rights under the CTA

Irish government preparations

The government of Ireland has published details of its preparation work with information on the CTA. Irish and British citizens may wish to review this document.

Cross-border trade

If you’re a UK business providing services in Ireland, you must follow Irish regulations including on:

  • getting authorisations or licences to provide a service
  • complying with specific local business regulations

The Irish e-Government portal can help you to:

  • find out about providing services in Ireland
  • understand local regulations
  • complete any relevant administrative procedures online

There are also non-governmental organisations that provide advice to UK businesses operating in Ireland, for example, the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce.

These organisations are not associated with the UK government, and their views are not representative of any government policies.


From 1 January 2021, UK service providers and businesses will no longer benefit from EU Treaty Freedoms and will be subject to the national laws of each European Economic Area (EEA) state. This will mean that service providers and businesses will need to consider if they face restrictions on their ability to own, manage or direct a company registered in an EEA state.

If you have doubts about your legal position, you should seek appropriate professional advice.

VAT on sales of digital services

Businesses will no longer be able to use the UK’s VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) to declare sales of digital services to EU consumers after 31 December 2020.

If you wish to continue to use MOSS from 1 January 2021, you will need to register for MOSS in an EU member state.

Find out more about paying VAT on sales of digital services.

Recognition of professional qualifications

The UK and the EU have agreed a comprehensive free trade agreement. As part of this deal, authorities responsible for professional qualifications in the UK and EU member states will be able to submit joint recommendations to the UKEU Partnership Council for profession-specific arrangements.

Once approved, these mutual recognition agreements would provide routes for UK professionals to have their qualifications recognised in the jurisdiction of an EU member state, and vice versa.

Until mutual recognition agreements have been put in place, UK-qualified professionals should continue following advice on using their qualifications in an EU member state.

Find out if you need to take action by reading our general guidance relating to EEA countries and Switzerland.

Starting the process to get your professional qualifications recognised by EU regulators by 31 December 2020 may help you to continue to practise your profession (for example accountancy, engineering) in the EU.

If you need to take action to secure the recognition of your professional qualification in Ireland, these sources can help you:

Under the Common Travel Area, the recognition of professional qualifications is an essential facilitator of the right to work, so both the UK and Irish Governments have made a commitment to ensure that appropriate arrangements for recognition are in place in the UK and Ireland from the 1 January 2021.

Check further guidance for UK businesses selling services into the EEA and Switzerland.

UK statutory auditors working in Ireland

For UK statutory auditors, the Irish competent authority, the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority should be able to provide further information.

UK lawyers working in Ireland

If you’re a UK-qualified lawyer working in Ireland, using either an Irish or UK professional title, you should contact the local Bar association in the region in which you are working or the Bar of Ireland or the Law Society of Ireland for specific advice.

Business travel and entry requirements

See the latest information on travel entry requirements for Ireland.

If you’re a UK legal professional who has investments in law firms in Ireland, contact the Bar of Ireland for further information.

Also see the Law Society of Ireland’s published information on Brexit.


Common Travel Area

The UK and Irish governments have committed to maintaining the Common Travel Area (CTA) from 1 January 2021. CTA arrangements mean full protection and maintenance of the status quo for all journeys for individuals between the UK and Ireland.

Rights to work, study and access social security and public services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals in the other’s state.

Find out more about the CTA and the rights of British and Irish citizens from 1 January 2021.

The CTA does not extend to individuals who are a British overseas territories citizen, British overseas citizen, British national (overseas) or other type of British citizen or national, and these may be subject to further restrictions.

Find out more about travelling to Ireland.

You can find out more on the Irish Department for Justice and Equality website.

Find out more about living in Ireland.

Data transfer and GDPR

As part of the wider UKEU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the free flow of personal data from the EEA to the UK will continue after the transition period for no longer than six months, until adequacy decisions come into effect.

As a sensible precaution before and during this six month period, it is recommended that you work with EEA organisations who transfer personal data to you to put in place alternative transfer mechanisms to safeguard against any interruption to the free flow of EU to UK personal data.

Read guidance on using data in your personal business or other organisation from 1 January 2021.

Published 19 March 2019
Last updated 28 December 2020 
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