European Union flag merging into the British flag

Business information for trading with the European Union

Import & Export Support

For more advice on expanding into new markets, head to our dedicated page here:

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Government guidance

Visit the UK government’s guidance to find out how rules apply to things like travel and doing business with Europe.

This will provide all the information you need to be aware of, and what you need to do in regards to  areas such as:

Export Support Service

The Export Support Service is a helpline and online service where all UK businesses can get answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe. It gives access to cross government information and support all in one place. Access the UK Government’s online and helpline service.


There are a variety of on-demand and up-coming webinars/videos on imports from cross-government groups and departments. These can be found at the following links:

Sign up for updates

Sign up to our regular newsletter, which includes updates on trading with the European Union, as well as events and other news relevant to your business.

Import Control actions for Hauliers

Hauliers must be registered for the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) to move any goods between GB and the EU. The GVMS system has been designed to enable fast and efficient movement of goods and will be used by many UK ports. A full list of GVMS ports is available at

If you are not registered, you will not be able to board the ferry or shuttle and cross the GB/EU border.

Go to to register.

Ports that use GVMS to control goods will need pre-lodged declaration references to be linked together within a single reference number, called a Goods Movement Reference (GMR). The driver will need to present a valid GMR to the carrier for check-in.

The driver moving the goods should create the GMR, but it can be done by the haulier manager, or the trader’s customs agent or freight forwarder. You must only create one GMR per vehicle. You can get a GMR at

Take Action

Sign up for GVMS now at

Visit and follow the step-by-step guide to prepare for import control changes.

Customs Declarations

You must complete customs declarations on imports from the EU to GB at the time you or your courier/freight forwarder bring them into GB.

Visit and follow the step by step guide to make sure you’re prepared. The guide provides information on how to bring goods into the UK from any country, including how much tax and duty you’ll need to pay and whether you need to get a licence or certificate.

You can also apply for authorisation to use simplified declarations for imports, which allows you to move goods into a customs procedure without having to provide a full customs declaration. You can find out more about how to apply for a simplified declaration at

Alternatively, you may have chosen someone to deal with import and export declarations on your behalf, such as a customs agent, courier or a freight forwarder. Information on how people can help you with customs can be found on

Rules of Origin

If you sell goods to the EU, or buy goods from the EU and bring them into the UK, you need to be able to prove that they meet the rules of origin in order to use preferential tariffs.

To benefit from the preferential tariffs, you must have proof that:

  • goods you import into the UK from the EU originate there;
  • goods you export to the EU originate in the UK.

If you cannot prove the origin of your product, you or your EU customer will be liable to pay the full rate of customs duty and could face penalties. If you cannot prove your product’s origin, you cannot take advantage of the zero-tariff trade agreement with the EU.

For practical support with exporting your products, contact the Export Support Service online or by phone.

Pre-Notifying Imports

There are requirements for importing some Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods, such as meat or plants, to GB from the EU.

You will be required to pre-notify when importing most Products of Animal Origin, Animal By Products, High Risk Food not of Animal Origin and regulated plants and plant products from the EU to GB.

You (or a representative acting on your behalf) importing these goods from the EU may need to pre notify authorities that their consignment will be entering Great Britain.