EU Exit: support for businesses

The transition period has ended and new rules are here. Act now to keep your business moving.

Last updated 19 January 2021.

The UK and EU have agreed a Trade and Cooperation Agreement governing future trade relations that sees no tariffs or quotas on the movement of goods produced between the UK and the EU.

Even though a deal is secured, doing business with Europe has changed, and you need to follow new rules on exports, imports, tariffs, data and hiring. To avoid disruption to your operations, we are encouraging all businesses to visit GOV.UK/transition to get a personalised list of actions and subscribe to find out when things change. 

We are working with Enterprise Growth Solutions (EGS), in alignment with the Department of International Trade (DIT), to provide support to businesses across Yorkshire and the Humber. Find more information in the local support section below.


What actions do I need to take now?

  • If you import or export goods, you need to follow new rules, including changes to process and licensing. Scroll further down this page for more guidance.
  • If you have employees working between the UK and EU, you may need a visa or work permit. Find out more
  • If you deliver services between the UK and the EU, make sure that your EU-qualified employees can continue to provide professional services to clients in the UK by ensuring their professional qualification(s) are recognised by the relevant regulatory or professional body in the UK. You may need to have your UK professional qualification officially recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in the EU / EEA or Switzerland. Find out more.
  • If you employ EU nationals, you will need to inform your employees about the EU Settlement Scheme. EU citizens and their family members living in the UK should apply to the Scheme. Find out more - EU citizens - EU citizens families.
  • If you want to hire from the EU, this process has changed. Free movement has ended, and the UK has introduced a new points-based immigration system. If you want to hire anyone from outside the UK, you must be a Home Office Licensed sponsor, and the employee will need to meet specific skills and salary criteria. Find out more
  • If you travel to the EU, you may need to apply for a visa, work permit or other documentation before travelling to the EU / EEA / Switzerland. This may also be required if you plan to stay longer than 90 in 180 days, or are carrying out activities not covered by a country’s visa-waiver list. We recommend that you check the rules of the relevant Member State before travelling. Business travel includes travelling for meetings and conferences, providing services (incl. charity), and touring art or music. Find out more
  • If you transfer data between the UK and the EU, you should check the guidance on using personal data in your business or organisation. Find out more

Local and national support

Local support

Yorkshire and Humber EU Transition Support Service

Delivered by Enterprise Growth Solutions (EGS), the support service provides businesses with one-to-one practical support and guidance on the changes and actions they need to take to follow the new rules on exports, imports, tariffs, data and hiring.

When required, EGS will signpost to other business support providers for access to specialist expertise.

Email | Call 0300 365 1000

EU Exit Legal Clinic

Delivered by the global law firm, Squire Patton Bogg, the Legal Clinic provides SMEs in West and North Yorkshire with free expert guidance on Brexit-related legal issues. 

Available until 31 March, businesses can access up to one hour of support on issues, such as:

  • Contracts and technology
  • Corporate and governance support
  • Data protection
  • Dispute resolution
  • Employment
  • Environmental law
  • Finance
  • Immigration
  • Intellectual property
  • Pensions
  • Public policy
  • Real estate
  • Regulatory
  • Rules of origin
  • State aid, competition and antitrust
  • Supply chain 
  • Taxation
  • Trade and customs

To make an appointment, email

National support

National Business Support Helpline

The government's Business Support Helpline offers free advice and guidance to new and existing businesses. 

Email | Call 0800 998 1098 | Web Chat 

Chamber International

Chamber International provides export and import support to businesses of all sizes throughout the UK and can help with the new requirements related to trade documentation, including:

  • Obtaining an EORI number
  • Tariff codes and application of tariffs applicate to goods
  • Obtaining customs simplifications
  • Changes in labelling and packaging of goods
  • Licensing
  • Rules of origin

Email Matthew Grandage,

Visit the website to access checklists, workshops, and courses.

Enterprise Europe Network (EEN)

For support with innovation and international growth, the Enterprise Europe Network is on hand to provide SMEs with the expertise and contacts needed for success. The EEN can support companies with information about the regulatory and procedural changes arising from the UK's departure from the EU.

Email | Call 0300 123 3144 | Visit

Webinars and podcasts

  • Sign up to a range of sector and topic-specific webinars for direct support from experts on the new rules on trading with the EU. Following the live events, the webinars are available to watch on-demand
  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is hosting a series of free podcasts to help businesses that make, use or supply chemicals, understand what actions they need to take to prepare for the changes. To listen to the podcast, you can search ‘The HSE Podcast’ on your chosen platform.
  • HMRC customs declarations webinars: HMRC has launched multiple editions of this live webinar covering how to complete customs import declarations and explaining how to make import declarations when importing goods between the EU and Great Britain.
  • UK Transition Period: HSE and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday 20 January at 10am. The event will cover actions businesses need to take in preparation for when independent GB chemical regimes will be in place.
  • Department for International Trade webinarsDIT is hosting a series of webinars primarily aimed at businesses which are UK based who import and export goods.
  • The Ministry of Justice has published several on-demand webinars for legal professionals discussing legal changes.
  • Trading with the EU: A video series that explains what businesses need to do to keep their business moving is available to watch now. These videos cover what businesses need to know about exports and imports, customs, commodity codes and controlled goods.

Information for businesses that trade with the EU

A guide to how the border with the European Union works

View the step by step guidance on how to move goods from the UK to international destinations, including the EU.

Find out what you need to do to comply with regulations on manufactured goods you place on the GB market.

Recognising the impact of coronavirus on businesses’ ability to prepare, and following the announcement in February 2020 that the UK Government will implement full border controls on imports coming into GB from the EU, the UK Government has taken the decision to introduce the new border controls in three stages up until 1 July 2021. This approach will give industry extra time to make necessary arrangements. The stages are:

  • 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 on all high-risk live animals and a proportion of low-risk live animals.
  • 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.

Further details can be found in the Border Operating Model. See the ‘Guide to changes at the border’ for a summary.

Prepare for new processes for moving goods between Great Britain and the EU

  • Decide how you’re going to make customs declarations
    Customs agents, freight forwarders and express operators can help you with declarations and ensure you’re providing the necessary information. Learn more.
  • Sign up for the new Trader Support Service, if you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland or bring goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK
    The free Trader Support Service (TSS) is handling the new processes arising under the Northern Ireland Protocol. Register your interest in using this service. Further information about the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be available soon. Please note TSS is not available for goods moved between Great Britain and the EU.
  • Delay your declarations and duty payments You may be eligible for this if your goods are not on the controlled goods list and you do not have a poor compliance record. Learn more.
  • See if your imported goods are eligible for staged controls
    Most traders with a good compliance record will be able to defer import declarations on most goods for up to six months after 1 January 2021. Learn more.
  • Make sure you have a GB EORI
    You should already have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. You will need this to complete customs declarations. If you do not yet have one, you can register for free.
  • Decide how you will account for import VAT when you make a customs declaration
    Businesses can use postponed VAT accounting to account for import VAT on their VAT Return for goods imported from anywhere in the world. Learn more.
  • Check if Import VAT is due at the border
    Import VAT will not be due at the border if goods in a consignment do not exceed £135 in value. The only exceptions will be excise goods and gifts. Learn more.
  • Check the Controlled goods list to see if you need to complete declarations. If your goods are not on the list, you can choose to delay import declarations until July 2021
    Check if your imported goods are on the Controlled goods list.
  • Check the government’s tariff tables and consider how your trade will be affected
    There are new rates of Customs Duty for imports - called the UK Global Tariff. Check the tariffs that will apply to goods you import

Further guidance

Guidance for business sectors
Helpline contact numbers

Helpline contact numbers

HMRC systems update 24 December

As a result of the end of the transition period HMRC is  taking some of its systems offline for a short time. This is a normal approach and it has been preparing to update these systems for some time.

You will need to plan around this downtime. There may be specific action you need to take if you are moving goods during this period.

Each of the following customs processing systems will be experiencing some downtime as a result of the end of the transition period:

Please also check HMRC guidance if you have ongoing customs movements at the end of the transition period.

EU (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks report

The seventh European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks statutory report details the progress on the development of common frameworks. These frameworks will help facilitate the flow of trade between different parts of the UK whilst allowing the UK to fulfil its international obligations; they will help the UK to safeguard our common resources and enable the functioning of the UK’s internal market.

£50 million to support businesses

To support businesses with the new processes taking effect next year, the UK Government has developed a new £50 million package to boost the capacity of customs intermediaries – including customs brokers, freight forwarders and express parcel operators – providing businesses with further support. This funding will support intermediaries with recruitment, training and supplying IT equipment to help handle customs declarations. Applications for the new funding will be open from July and HMRC will unveil more details in due course. Rules will also be changed to remove barriers for intermediaries taking on new clients.

Additionally, the UK Government have committed to building new border facilities in Great Britain for carrying out required checks, such as customs compliance, transit, and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks, as well as providing targeted support to ports to build new infrastructure. We are consulting with ports across the UK to agree on what infrastructure is required. Find out more.

Existing UK trade agreements with non-EU countries

Information on the trade agreements the UK has already signed and our discussions with countries the EU has a trade agreement with has been updated.

List of customs agents and fast parcel operators

Updated with additional customs agents and fast parcel operators who can help submit customs declarations from 1 January 2021.

Financial services legislation under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018

Updated with Trade Repository Registration Arrangements under the UK Securities Financing Transactions Regulation document. HM Treasury’s programme of secondary legislation to ensure that the UK continues to have a functioning financial services regulatory regime in all scenarios when the UK leaves the EU.