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 The UK has left the EU Customs Union and Single Market. Effective 1 January 2021, the movement of goods is subject to export and import Customs procedures similar to movements between the EU and Canada.


It can be difficult to figure out exactly what that means to your company. Read the Q&As below to learn more.

 Q: Will my company be affected by Brexit?

If your company is involved with the trading or movement of goods between the UK and EU countries or trading with the UK using EU Free Trade Agreements, your company will be affected by Brexit.

Business transactions between the UK and EU countries were previously seen as intra-community traffic and therefore not subject to customs import processes and duty payments. Brexit changes this, meaning products must be included in customs declarations, with a potential liability to pay duty. 

Companies outside the EU doing business with UK companies might be affected as existing trade agreements ceased when the UK left the EU Customs Union. Trade after that is subject to the new trade agreements the UK has negotiated.

We also expect significant impact on returned goods between the UK and EU since it could be that duty will be payable on the original import and the return.

Q: What do we need to do to prepare for Brexit?

Customs controls were introduced between the EU and the UK when the transition period ended on 31 December 2020.

Some of the key preparations required are to obtain an EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number, classify your products and have a correctly formatted commercial invoice.  For guidance on these and more items required please refer to the links at the top of this page. 

You may also need to review your supply chain, especially if you are currently using a central warehouse based in the EU or UK to distribute across Europe, to avoid paying duty on entry to the EU and then again on entry to the UK.

You will also need to appoint DSV or another to act as your direct representation to complete Customs declarations, your normal DSV contact can provide details of what is required for us to act on your behalf. 

Q: How can DSV help us prepare for Brexit?

We have prepared a series of guides on this site to assist in the preparation and are adding to these continuously as more information is available.  You will find links to external sites as well as to the DSV UK Brexit site which has extensive information available on the UK Brexit processes.  

Should you need further information please reach out to your normal DSV contacts who will be able to assist you.

Q: Who do we contact about Brexit in DSV?

You should first contact your normal point of contact in DSV. They have direct access to relevant Brexit information and can reach out to the local DSV Brexit leaders or customs experts.

If you do not know who your normal contact is, please use our Global Office Finder to contact your nearest office.

Q: Will Brexit increase the cost of our supply chain?

Unfortunately yes, because all shipments will require customs documentation on departure and arrival, for which you may require a customs broker.  Additionally, depending on where goods originate duty may be payable. 

Q: Will Brexit result in delays to our supply chain?

Customs controls have been implemented by both the UK and EU, requiring clearance before cargo is allowed to move forward.  Apart from the potential for port congestion, the logistics has changed from an operation which is similar to a domestic movement to one similar to a movement from the EU to the USA or Japan, with documentation needed to be in place before goods are collected from origin and customs and other government agency checks at borders. This will inevitably impact overall supply chain speed and reliability.

Right now, our customers are asking us...


Q: Can you tell me what paperwork is necessary for exporting to/importing goods from EU post-Brexit?

You can find all the necessary information regarding paperwork and procedures under the tab 'About Brexit' on this website. 

Q: How can I classify my goods for Customs purposes in the UK?

You can find an overview of the UK Tariff on the Online Trade Tariff.

Q: How can I classify my goods for Customs purposes in the EU?

Click here find an overview of the EU Tariff.  Please also not that each EU member state has its own national system for classification.

Q: Are duties payable in the UK when they have already been paid in the EU and vice versa?

Yes, the EU/UK Cooperation and Trade Agreement (CTA) only allows for the duty-free movement of goods originating in the UK or EU. Please find the full explanation under the About Brexit tab.

Q: When and which EORI number do we use for export/import in EU/UK?

You can find all the information on EORI use here (UK) or here (EU).

Q: Where can I check if an EU/UK VAT number is valid?

You can check the EU VAT numbers via the European Commission's webpage and you can check the UK VAT numbers via

Q: How are free of charge goods managed?

All goods imported from the EU into the UK or vice versa will now need to have customs declarations. These need to be based on the goods' true value (you cannot declare goods as zero-value on import into the UK/EU).  Duties will have to be paid on this value (unless claiming preference) from the UK or EU. This value needs to be stated on a proforma invoice.

Q: What is a Registered Exporter (REX) and how do I apply?

To be entitled to make out a statement on origin, an EU economic operator has to be registered in a database by their competent authorities. The economic operator becomes a "registered exporter".  Click to learn more about the Registered Exporter system.

Q: Northern Ireland, use of XI EORI or GB EORI number?

The XI EORI number can only be used for import declarations to OR export declarations from companies residing in Northern Ireland. For goods leaving/arriving the UK to/from EU mainland or Ireland, the GB EORI of the UK seller is needed. 

Q: What is the procedure for goods travelling from EU to the Republic of Ireland using the UK landbridge?

You can find the process well defined on the Irish Government's webpage

Q: How are veterinary goods treated upon import in the EU?

In the EU, normally the importer or its broker need to make a pre-alert into the TRACES system before goods arrive.  You can find the explanation on the Trade Control and Expert System's webpage.  Please also be informed that each member state in the EU has its own approach and procedures may vary depending on port of entry.  

Q: Do preferential goods and non-preferential goods need to be stated on separate invoices?

No, they do not. The articles on the invoices need to be linked to a country of origin and linked with the statement of origin on the invoice. The receiving country will be able to determine which articles are duty payable and which are exempted.

Q: Why is a split on weights per article required?

It all depends on how many different commodities you export.  If articles have a different commodity code, then the split of weight and packages is crucial for a correct export, transit and ultimately an import declaration.  If all articles are the same commodity code, then no split is needed as they can all be grouped onto one declaration line.

Didn't find the answer you were looking for?

Make sure you visit the other Brexit pages of the DSV website. We have many available resources to keep our customers' supply chain flowing. 


Any questions?

Our customs experts are ready to help. Get in touch and we'll find the right solution for your needs.

Contact us about Brexit