EU Transition: make sure you’re ready

There are new rules for businesses from 1 January 2021

From 1 January 2021 businesses that deal with Europe will have to follow new rules on exports, imports, tariffs, data and hiring.
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This website is home to the latest updates from Central Government to help you prepare your business for the end of the Transition period on 31 December 2020.

To keep your business moving, check what you need to do below or at today.


How to import and export goods between Great Britain
and the EU from 1 January 2021

From 1 January 2021, the process of importing and exporting goods between Great Britain and the EU will change.

If you trade with the EU, the 2 documents on this page will help you prepare for these changes so you can continue to trade.

Whether you’re completing the customs declarations yourself or have an intermediary to do it for you, these guides will take you through each step and set out your options.

The documents set out the information in the form of a ‘journey’, so that you can clearly see every step you need to take to ensure that your goods are transported successfully.

How to import goods from the EU into GB

How to export goods to the EU from GB

Border controls and end of transition period

New border controls in three stages up until 1 July 2021:

  • From January 2021: Traders importing standard goods, covering everything from clothes to electronics, will need to prepare for basic customs requirements, such as keeping sufficient records of imported goods, and will have up to six months to complete customs declarations. While tariffs will need to be paid on all imports, payments can be deferred until the customs declaration has been made. There will be checks on controlled goods like alcohol and tobacco. Businesses will also need to consider how they account for VAT on imported goods. There will also be physical checks at the point of destination or other approved premises on all high risk live animals and plants.

  • From April 2021: All products of animal origin (POAO) – for example meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products – and all regulated plants and plant products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation.

  • From July 2021: Traders moving all goods will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs. Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for SPS commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples: checks for animals, plants and their products will now take place at GB Border Control Posts.
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