Your business may need to make changes before the UK leaves the EU. Please visit Prepare for EU Exit to find more detailed guidance on policy changes relevant to your sector and to sign up for updates.
Importing and exporting
Preparing for disruption to trade at the UK-EU border
Get a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number so you can continue to import or export goods and apply for authorisations that will make customs processes easier for you.
Decide if you want to hire an import-export agent, or make the declarations yourself.
Contact the organisation that moves your goods (for example, a haulage firm) to find out what information they need to make the declarations for your goods, or if you will need to make them yourself.
Read the guidance on simplified customs procedures for trading with the EU if we leave without a deal.
Further information is provided in HMRC’s advice for businesses trading with the EU.
Preparing for changes to existing trade agreements
Check the way you currently trade with non-EU countries. When the UK leaves the EU the way you access existing favourable arrangements with these countries may change. Changes may be different for each country.
Read the guidance on changes to trading with non-EU countries that have a free trade agreement with the EU.
Preparing for changes to import tariffs
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK would implement a temporary tariff regime. This would apply for up to 12 months while a full consultation, and review on a permanent approach, is undertaken.
Under the temporary tariff regime the majority of UK imports would be tariff-free.
In certain sectors, tariffs would be maintained to support the most sensitive agricultural industries, the automotive sector, vulnerable industries exposed to unfair global competition, and to maintain the UK government’s commitment to developing countries.
Transition of trade remedies and the setup of the Trade Remedies Authority
Current EU trade remedies which matter to the UK will be maintained when our own independent trade remedies system begins operating. The remaining EU measures where no UK interest has been identified will no longer apply.
All maintained measures will be reviewed by a new body, the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), to make sure they are suitable for the UK market.
When the UK leaves the EU, you will be able to apply to the TRA directly if your business is suffering as a result of unfair trade practices or surges in imports.
We will announce when the TRA is operational.
Read the guidance on trade remedies if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Energy and climate
Participating in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then the EU rules governing the EU ETS would no longer apply to the UK.
Business emissions from 1 January 2019 onwards will no longer be covered by the EU ETS, so UK businesses would no longer need to surrender allowances for these emissions at the end of each year.
However, all stationary installations currently participating in the EU ETS should continue to comply with the regulations for the monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gases. These regulations will underlie the new UK Carbon Emissions Tax.
The UK Carbon Emissions Tax will be introduced on 1 April 2019 and the reporting period for stationary operators will be 1 April 2019 to 31 December 2019. The 2019 tax will be set at £16 per tonne.
Subject to state aid approval, the scheme to compensate energy-intensive industries for the indirect costs of the EU ETS would remain in place to compensate for the indirect emission costs of the new Carbon Emissions Tax.
Accounts administered by the UK in the EU ETS allowance registry and Kyoto Protocol registry will be blocked from the point of the UK leaving the EU.
Operators wishing to retain access to their allowances after the withdrawal date should consider opening an account in another member state’s registry for this purpose, and should consider the amount of time this is likely to take.
Clean Development Mechanism project developers with a UK Letter of Authority will also need a letter of approval from a different Designated National Authority.
Until further notice, the UK government will not issue or auction any 2019 EU ETS allowances.
It remains possible for allowances to be purchased through the European Energy Exchange (EEX) auction platform, and on the secondary market. Operators should consider this when planning to meet 2018 compliance obligations.
In 2018, to make sure your compliance obligations will not be affected, the government brought forward the 2018 compliance year deadline. This has subsequently been subject to a further change. Operators must report their 2018 emissions and surrender allowances for those emissions on 11 March 2019 and 26 March 2019 respectively.
Carbon Emissions Tax legislation is included in the Finance Bill 2018-19.
Read the guidance on meeting climate change requirements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and the Carbon Emissions Tax policy paper.
Regulations and standards
Importing or using chemicals
If you use or import chemicals then you will need to check whether you have new obligations under UK REACH (the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation).
For example, if you currently purchase a chemical substance directly from an EU/EEA supplier, you must make sure any substances you purchase are covered by a valid UK REACH registration by someone within your supply chain. Otherwise, in order to remain compliant you will need to register as an ‘importer’. To do so, you must:
- open an account on REACH IT once it is established and provide initial information on your registration within 180 days of the UK leaving the EU
- provide full technical information on your registration within 2 years of the UK leaving the EU.
Ensure you can continue to manufacture and export chemical products
There may also be new actions you need to take if you manufacture or export chemicals. Further information is provided on the HSE website.
Employing EU workers
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EU citizens who are resident in the UK before 29 March 2019 will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to get settled or pre-settled status, which will mean they can continue to live, work and study in the UK.
The scheme will be open to applications from 30 March 2019 but EU workers must apply by 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
You can use the EU Settlement Scheme guidance for employers to give further information to your employees.
Applying for skilled-work or unskilled-work visas
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be a new process for EU citizens arriving in the UK between 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, a new skills-based immigration system will launch.
For non-EU nationals, EU Exit will not affect the application process for work visas.
Travelling to the EU
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, British passport holders travelling to the EU will need to have 6 months remaining validity on your passport, not including any extra months added to a 10-year passport if it was renewed early.