The space sector and preparing for EU Exit

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there may be changes that affect your business.

Your business may need to make changes before the UK leaves the EU. Please visit Prepare for EU Exit to find more detailed guidance on policy changes relevant to your sector and to sign up for updates.

Public procurement

UK space sector bids for future EU contracts

UK-based businesses, academics and researchers will not be able to bid for future work on EU space programmes. Please read the guidance on Satellites and space programmes if there’s no Brexit deal.

Contracts with the EU or European Space Agency that run past EU exit

Membership of the European Space Agency

UK membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) is not affected by leaving the EU because it is not an EU organisation.

EU Global Navigation Satellite System (Galileo and EGNOS) programmes

UK businesses, academics and researchers that are contracted or expecting to carry out contracts on these programmes should contact the relevant contracting authority. You should make sure arrangements are in place to comply with the conditions of the contract and avoid possible penalties.

Businesses, academics and researchers in the UK and UK overseas territories which hold ground infrastructure hosting contracts may wish to contact their contracting authority to confirm the future position.


UK-based businesses, academics and researchers will be unable to bid for future Copernicus contracts tendered through the EU, or through any other process using EU procurement rules. We are seeking to clarify with the European Commission what this will mean for Copernicus contracts with delivery dates that run past the UK’s exit.

Space surveillance and tracking

A limited number of UK satellite owners and operators have arrangements to receive services from the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking programme. These are not linked to the UK government’s role in the programme. We are seeking clarification from the European Commission on the potential impact on access to services if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Read the guidance on Satellites and space programmes if there’s no Brexit deal.

Importing and exporting

Preparing for disruption to trade at the UK-EU border

  1. Get a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number so you can continue to import or export goods and apply for authorisations that will make customs processes easier for you.
  2. Decide if you want to hire an import-export agent, or make the declarations yourself.
  3. Contact the organisation that moves your goods (for example, a haulage firm) to find out what information they need to make the declarations for your goods, or if you will need to make them yourself.

Read the guidance on simplified customs procedures for trading with the EU if we leave without a deal.

Further information is provided in HMRC’s advice for businesses trading with the EU.

Preparing for changes to existing trade agreements

Check the way you currently trade with non-EU countries. When the UK leaves the EU the way you access existing favourable arrangements with these countries may change. Changes may be different for each country.

Read the guidance on changes to trading with non-EU countries that have a free trade agreement with the EU.

Your employees

Employing EU workers

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EU citizens who are resident in the UK before 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to get settled or pre-settled status, which will mean they can continue to live, work and study in the UK.

The scheme will be open to applications from 30 March 2019 and EU workers must apply by 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

You can use the EU Settlement Scheme guidance for employers to give further information to your employees.

Applying for skilled-work or unskilled-work visas

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be a new process for EU citizens arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, a new skills-based immigration system will launch.

For non-EU nationals, EU Exit will not affect the application process for work visas.

Travelling to the EU

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, British passport holders travelling to the EU will need to have 6 months remaining validity on their passport, not including any extra months added to a 10 year passport if it was renewed early.

Read guidance about travelling to the EU with a UK passport if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and check your passport to see if you need to renew earlier than planned.

Digital and data

Accessing Earth Observation Data

Copernicus has a free and open data policy. This means that the data produced by its satellites (Sentinels) and the Land, Marine Environment, Climate Change and Atmosphere services will continue to be freely available to UK users.

UK users could lose the right to high-bandwidth access to the standard data from Copernicus Sentinels and the UK will lose access to data sourced by Copernicus from contributing missions.

Read the guidance on satellites and space programmes if there’s no Brexit deal.

Trade associations

UK Space

Published 13 February 2019

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