EU transition period

The UK has left the EU. There is now a transition period until the end of 2020. Find out the actions you can take now to prepare.

Last updated 15 June 2020.

The UK has left the EU. There is now a transition period until the end of 2020, while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements. The current rules on trade, travel and business for the UK and EU will continue to apply during the transition period.

Use a transition checker to find out how to get ready for new rules in 2021 and subscribe to email updates about any additional arrangements that are negotiated. 

Following a meeting with the Withdrawal Joint Committee on 12 June 2020, the UK has formally notified the EU that it will neither accept nor seek any extension to the Transition Period.

See for more information.

Sign up for email alerts about any additional arrangements

Updates and Guidance

Recognising the impact of coronavirus on businesses’ ability to prepare, the UK government will introduce the 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 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.

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.

The UK's approach to negotiations with the EU

UK Government has published the legal texts covering its approach to our future relationship with the EU. The “Future Relationship with the EU” document lays out a suite of proposals for our negotiations with the EU. The draft legal texts are the legal articulation of this approach and have formed the basis of discussions with the EU. The main element of our approach is the comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, or FTA, covering substantially, all trade. You can view the documents here.

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.

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.

Employing EU citizens in the UK

Information for employers on employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK, covering: the right to work checks, the EU Settlement Scheme and the UK’s new immigration system has been updated with information on temporary changes to the way you can check right to work documents because of coronavirus.

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.

Does your business move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

At the end of the transition period when the Northern Ireland Protocol comes into force there will be changes to the way goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. For businesses to keep up to date with changes, they will need to fill in the Northern Ireland Protocol questionnaire.

Find out more
Export procedures and customs

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, the Department for International Trade, and the Enterprise Europe Network identified what the issues might be and what steps they should take to prepare for change. Expert input came from Chamber International and logistics specialists Advanced Supply Chain Group.

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Contact the imports and exports helpline for information about importing and exporting goods after 2020. 

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has published a series of guides focused on practicalities and helping businesses to understand the actions they need to take in the event of a no deal. View guides below.

Getting paid and taxation

In December 2018 Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, the Department for International Trade, and the Enterprise Europe Network teamed up with NatWest bank and accountants from BDO LLP to identify the impacts on tax and pay.

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IT issues and e-commerce

With expert input came from IT specialists Freeman Clark and international business consultancy Bolst Global, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, the Department for International Trade, and the Enterprise Europe Network have produced the following checklist to help with IT preparation.

Download the PDF

Employment and HR checklist

Expert input from the Labour and Employment team at law firm Squire Patton Boggs and a practical case study from Leeds-based Equifax Ltd helped to shape the following checklist.

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Contract issues

In October 2018 Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, the Department for International Trade, and the Enterprise Europe Network sought expert advice from the Competition team at law firm Walker Morris and the Enterprise Europe Network to help build this checklist.

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