Trading with the EU after Brexit

The new rules surrounding VAT post-Brexit are complex and differ from one business to the next based on the products or services you supply and the activities that your business undertakes.

To help, our VAT Director Julian Borley has prepared a range of comprehensive guides to assist companies as they navigate the new rules.

While the post-Brexit trade deal means that there are no tariffs, duties or quotas on imports from or exports to the EU, there are still a number of steps that businesses involved in importing and exporting goods either need to take, set out by the Government in its Importing and Exporting Goods guidance document:

  • Understand the requirements of EU Member States. The necessary processes must have been done and documentation completed to comply with these requirements. Further information is provided in Annex A and B.
  • GB EORI – Traders will need a GB EORI number to move goods to or from the UK. Check your EORI number. Apply for a new one if yours does not start with GB.
  • EU EORI – If undertaking any EU customs processes, traders will need an EU EORI.
  • If you are an importer, check which goods are on the controlled goods list- If your good is on the controlled goods list, you will need to complete full customs declarations from January.
  • If you are importing non-controlled goods, decide whether to delay the customs declaration for up to six months or complete full customs declarations on import.
  • Decide how to complete customs formalities: Most traders are expected to use a customs intermediary. These are experts who can make declarations on your behalf.
  • Duty Deferment Account (DDA) – A DDA allows holders to delay customs duty, excise duty and import duty, to be paid once a month rather than on individual consignments.
  • Check to see if a facilitation would benefit the business- there are a number of facilitations, including the Common Transit Convention, to help import and export goods.
  • If you are importing live animals or high-priority plants and plant products, traders need to be prepared for submitting additional documentation and checks taking place at point of destination.
  • If you are an exporter, submit customs export declarations, or separate Safety and Security exit declarations if this is required.
  • If you are a haulier, use the “Check an HGV is ready” service.
  • Demonstrate the origin of goods to benefit from the zero-tariff rates contained in the trade deal.
  • Make arrangements to pay import VAT.

To help with this process the Government has produced a step by step checklist for importers and exporters, which can be found below:

UK nationals will need a visa if they want to stay in the EU for more than 90 days in a 180-day period.

Your European Health Insurance Card remains valid until its expiry date and the plan outlined in the agreement is to replace these with a UK Global Health Insurance Card. There is more information to come on overseas health insurance in the coming months.

You do not need an International Driver’s Permit to drive in the EU as a UK citizen.

UK professional qualifications won’t be recognised automatically in the EU, which will make it more difficult to work in the EU, especially for those in the service sector.

It appears that UK citizens will need to apply to the individual country in which they wish to work to get any professional qualifications accepted. This may change as the agreement suggests a framework of mutual qualification recognition in the future.

There are measures which commit both the UK and the EU to maintain common standards on worker’s rights, as well as many social and environmental regulations. The UK does not have to follow EU law, but they do have to be seen to protect the rules of “fair competition”.

Employees from EU member states should check whether they need to apply to the settlement scheme. To do this, they should:

  • Check whether they need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Find out what status they have as it may differ depending on their circumstances
  • Check what information they’ll need to apply
  • Submit an application.

Some EU citizens may be able to stay in the UK without applying – for example, Irish citizens or those with indefinite leave to remain.

The deadline for applying for settled status is 30 June 2021.

It is important that you check that key workers who are EU citizens have the right to remain in the UK post-Brexit to ensure you able to retain their talent for the future.


While the post-Brexit trade deal means that there are generally speaking no tariffs to pay when moving goods between the UK and EU, and vice versa, a number of challenges remain for many businesses.

We have a dedicated team who can assist you in taking practical steps to deal with the complexities of work and trade in the EU post-Brexit.

We can work with you to ensure the right safeguards and securities are in place to protect your business going forward.

Our experienced team can advise on the following areas:

  • Advising overseas businesses and investors investing or starting up in the UK
  • Company formation
  • Corporate restructuring, business expansion and investment
  • Finding customers overseas for your products
  • Importing and exporting goods to and from the UK
  • Insolvency
  • International tax planning
  • Selling your business to an overseas buyer
  • Supply contracts
  • UK and international joint ventures including shareholders agreements
  • Variations of existing contracts
  • VAT compliance and registration in the UK and EU

We are helping a wide range of businesses adapt to the changes that came into effect on 1 January 2021, helping them minimise disruption and seek out new opportunities for growth and success around the world.

If you need any advice in respect of the new trade and working arrangements or would like to take advantage of any new overseas opportunities, then please contact our expert team.

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