Trading and moving goods from the UK to the EU if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

You’ll need to follow most of the same rules as traders exporting goods to the rest of the world.

If you send goods to the EU from the UK there are actions you should take before and after you’ve exported the goods. This applies to:

  • exporters
  • freight forwarders
  • fast parcel operators
  • customs agents
  • traders who move their own goods

This guidance does not apply to moving goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland. Sign up for EU Exit email alerts to find out when we publish new guidance about this.

Before you send goods to the EU

Getting started

  1. Get an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number that starts with GB.
  2. Decide if you want to make customs declarations yourself or get help.
  3. If you’re making declarations yourself, you’ll be able to do this using the National Export System. If you do this yourself, you’ll need to enter the right data needed on an export declaration. You’ll find this in Volume 3 Part 1 of the Tariff.
  4. Research the destinations you want to export to. This background information, along with the commodity code of the goods will help you work out if the goods will incur import duty in the destination country.
  5. You could be entitled to financial help to help your business complete customs declarations.
  6. If you already have authorisations to use special or simplified procedures check if they still apply.

Making a declaration

  1. Find the commodity code for your goods. This will help you fill in your export declaration accurately.
  2. Check if you need an export license for your goods.
  3. Choose the right customs procedure code for your goods which will help you work out the customs or excise processes that you may want to use.
  4. If you’re using a haulier, you’ll need to complete a commercial invoice and attach it (and licence, if you need one) to your consignment. You’ll also need to give them the movement reference number.
  5. If you use roll on roll off ports or the Channel Tunnel you or your customs agent must complete a combined safety and security and customs declaration before the goods get to the departure port. If you’re using other routes you’ll need to do this before your goods board.
  6. Make your customs declaration if you’re doing this yourself. You’ll need to use the UK Trade Tariff volume 3 to help you complete the declaration. If you’re using a haulier, you’ll need to tell them the any required actions and outcomes from the declaration.
  7. Check the rules if you’re exporting excise duty suspended goods.

Moving goods under transit

If your goods are moved under transit arrangements, there are less border checks and you won’t need separate export declarations. You’ll need to provide:

After your goods leave the UK

  1. Keep records of commercial invoices and any customs paperwork.
  2. Pay any tax or duty you owe in the destination country – you won’t usually pay UK duty on exports.
  3. If you’re registered for VAT, you can zero rate the VAT on most goods you export. There will also be changes to the way you pay or reclaim VAT if the UK leaves EU-wide VAT IT systems.

Stay up to date

Sign up to HMRC’s EU Exit update service to find out about new tariffs, implications for VAT on imports and exports, and what new customs checks will impact on the supply chain.

Further information and help and support

All the information provided here is meant for guidance only and you should consider whether you need separate professional advice on how these arrangements could affect your business.

Prepare your business or organisation for the UK leaving the EU.

Published 24 February 2019

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