It is essential that all freight to the EU has all necessary documentation. Early reports suggest many failures to comply which are likely to result in entry being refused.


As things stand, the EU will treat the UK as a third (non-Member) country from day one. This means that UK exports to the EU will be subject to the same documentary, certification and other requirements as goods from the rest of the world, including in respect of issues such as permits for road haulage.

Animal and plant food and feed products are in addition subject to specific requirements related to their respective health and safety risks.

Companies which already export to non-EU countries will be familiar with these requirements and will simply have to scale up their internal procedures accordingly. But companies which have only ever traded with the EU will need to put new processes in place and factor in the extra time required prior to shipment, particularly in order to obtain an export health certificate. Many may find it easier to employ customs agents to help with this, though there will be significant demand for such services.

A summary of the main requirements and an initial check list can be found at Prepare to Export from Great Britain. Different arrangements will apply in respect of goods exported to the EU from Northern Ireland, which will continue to be subject to Customs Union and Single Market rules. Please see here for further details.