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Preparing your business for Brexit

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Brexit: Local Business Survey

Please complete our survey to help us understand the possible impact of Brexit on our local businesses and your preparation plans. 

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The full effects of Brexit on businesses may still be largely unknown, but that does not  mean businesses should not start preparing. This includes preparing for a potential 'no deal' Brexit scenario, which would mean no transition period. If that was the case, consumers, businesses and public bodies would have to respond immediately to changes as result of leaving the EU on 29 March 2019 (11pm GMT).

Consequences of a 'no deal'

According to the Institute for Government, the principal consequences of a ‘no deal’ for businesses are as follows:

  • The UK becomes a third country, with no preferential deal for customs purposes or for VAT;
  • Licenses and approvals issued by the UK are no longer recognised by the EU;
  • Companies based in the UK can no longer operate in the EU as a member state and need to either move business or establish a representative in an EU country;
  • The UK is no longer an approved destination for some EU business (e.g. ship recycling, some waste management);
  • UK professional qualifications are not recognised by the EU;
  • The UK stops being part of EU systems – like the aviation area or the energy market.

Some of these consequences could be highly disruptive. For example, agriculture and agri-food would be particularly severely impacted by the EU’s border inspection regime – as well as potential tariffs. 

Ramping up preparations for a 'no deal'

On 18 December, the UK Government announced that it was ‘ramping up’ preparations for a no-deal Brexit. Although the Brexit Secretary declared the Government's focus was still on getting a deal negotiated with Brussels through Parliament, preparing for leaving the EU with no agreement had become its "operational priority".

The Government is advising businesses to activate their own 'no deal' contingency plans, as they think appropriate.

The Government has said that, in the event of a 'no deal', it is committed to prioritising stability for businesses. It says it will continue to work closely with industry to ensure that interventions in a no deal scenario are conducted in a way which minimises delays and additional burdens for legitimate trade, while ensuring compliance. However, the approach of continuity does not mean that everything will stay the same. 

On 28 February 2019, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) reiterated its call for business owners to make sure they are ready for no deal. There are 3 steps businesses need to consider to ensure they can continue to trade with the EU if the UK leaves the EU without a deal: 

1.  Register for an Economic Operator and Registration Identification (EORI) number

2.  Consider how they want to make customs declarations

3.  Register for  new Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) for ro-ro locations. 

Changes at the UK Border

Changes at the UK Border in 60 Seconds 



HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has published numerous guidance for businesses on processes and procedures at the border - please see HMRC in the 'Information and Advice' section below. This includes guidance on Ro-Ro requirements after EU Exit . 

French Customs and Excise

This guidance from the French Customs and Excise helps UK businesses to prepare customs declarations for roll-on roll-off freight carried between the UK and France if there is no EU Exit deal.

Information and Advice

The following are a range of links that we have found to help you start thinking about what you need to do - but this list is not exhaustive and guidance is continually updating. Therefore, please check with the relevant agencies that the information is the most up-to-date.  

Dover District Council is not responsible for the content or accuracy of any third-party website. 

Please click on the plus sign (+) to expand the boxes and the minus sign (-) to collapse the boxes. 

Prepare your business for EU Exit (GOV.UK)

The UK Government has launched a Prepare your business for EU Exit website, to help you understand how leaving the EU may affect your business and what you can do to get ready.

The website includes a ' start preparing' tool - answer a few simple questions to get guidance relevant to your business.

The website is divided into sections: 

  • Employing EU citizens: Changes to areas include movement of people, settled status and qualifications.
  • Importing, exporting and transporting: Changes to areas include importing or exporting goods, moving goods across borders, haulage permits, customs and tax.
  • Operating in the EU: Changes to areas if your business operates in the European Union.
  • Regulation and standards for products and goods: Changes to areas if you sell physical products or goods in the UK.
  • Using personal data: Changes to exchanging personal data with another organisation in Europe.
  • European and domestic funding: Changes to funding for areas include research and higher education, social and structural development and sector-specific funds.
  • Intellectual property: Changes to areas include copyrights, trademarks and patents.
  • Energy and climate: Changes to areas include energy, renewables, the nuclear industry and regulated carbon emissions
  • Public sector procurement: Changes to areas include government contracts

The website also provides information to assist: 

 Technical Notices (GOV.UK)

The UK Government has published a collection of technical notices on how to prepare if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019. These cover a whole range of topics including importing and exporting; meeting business regulations; and workplace rights. 

 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

Partnership Pack

This partnership pack (fourth edition 6 February 2019) is designed to help support businesses preparing for day one if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. 

Ro-Ro Day 1 No Deal External Business Requirements after EU Exit

This Border Delivery Group detailed document sets out the key HMG Departments’ requirements, predominantly HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) / Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) / Food Standards Agency (FSA), Home Office (HO) / Border Force (BF), Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the regimes under which those Departments operate at the border in a RoRo environment.

Customs, excise and VAT

If the UK exits the EU without a deal, UK businesses will have to apply customs, excise and VAT procedures to goods traded with the EU, in broadly the same way that already applies for goods traded outside of the EU. The detail is set out in the  technical notices on GOV.UK. The following link sets out the important changes to expect:

Step-by-step guides

These HMRC guides set out the step-by-step process that businesses will need to follow when importing from or exporting to the EU, in a ‘no deal’ scenario. 

Guidance for UK businesses that trade with the EU

On 4 December 2018, HMRC published further guidance on declaring goods at customs if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. This guidance sets out an  overview plus details on:

HMRC has also written to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses only trading with the EU that explain changes to customs, excise and VAT in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, with the latest on 4 February:

Trading with countries outside of the EU

You can find information on how to trade with countries outside of the EU on GOV.UK. It covers customs procedures, excise rules and VAT when importing or exporting goods outside the EU. 

Customs Declaration Service

The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) is being replaced by Customs Declaration Service (CDS). HMRC began phasing in CDS from August 2018, starting with a group of importers who make certain types of Supplementary Declarations. From November 2018 remaining importers will start to move over to CDS. Exporters will follow when export functionality is delivered in March 2019.

Visit    Customs Declaration Service to understand how the changes affect your business and what you will need to do to prepare for the introduction of CDS and when. This includes making sure you have a Government Gateway account and an EORI number.

A new Trade Tariff will be used for declarations on CDS to comply with the Union Customs Code (UCC), and HMRC has stated it is important for businesses to understand how the information it provides will change. 

CDS is compliant with the UCC, EU legislation that aims to bring consistency to customs declarations across the Union. Whilst the United Kingdom will leave the EU from the end of March 2019, the Government says that it still plans to comply with this legislation.

Video resources

The Border Delivery Group and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have published a series of short  video guides to help businesses to prepare for changes at the UK/EU border in a ‘no deal’ scenario. The videos set out the actions that businesses will need to take to continue to trade in a ‘no deal’ EU Exit, and direct them towards further information available online.

Along with a general video and leaflet for all businesses, there are tailored products for specific industries. There are also two deep dive videos available that provide more detail on importing and exporting in a ‘no deal’ scenario.


The Border Delivery Group and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have also published a series of leaflet

Email Alerts

You can stay up-to-date with the HMRC    registering for email alerts. Follow the email alert link, add your email address, select 'Submit', select 'Add subscription' and choose 'EU Exit' then 'Submit'.  

Tell HMRC what you need

HMRC says it wants to provide as much support as possible to help businesses and their customers, members and clients prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario. It is asking for feedback on:

  • What information, guidance and support you would find most useful as stakeholders and intermediaries
  • What businesses are telling you they need 
  • Whether the information HMRC provides can be improved, or if you and your clients have questions which they are not addressing
  • Whether HMRC are using the right formats and channels to support you and provide you with resources and guidance.

Please contact:

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) 

Food Standards Agency (FSA)

If your business deals in food, or animal feed, your responsibility to make sure it is safe will remain a requirement of law from day one of the UK leaving the EU. The FSA has published the following guidance to help businesses prepare: 

Home Office (EU Settlement Scheme)

In December 2017, the UK Government reached an agreement with the EU on citizens’ rights. In March 2018, this was extended to cover those arriving during the implementation period (before 31 December 2020).

The EU Settlement Scheme will enable EU citizens resident in the UK and their family members to obtain the UK immigration status they will require in order to live and work in the UK after the end of the planned implementation period.  The scheme is currently being piloted and will open fully by 30 March 2019. From 29 November 2018, staff in the health and social care sectors across the UK have been eligible to apply. Under the draft Withdrawal Agreement, the deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021. Some EU citizens are able to stay in the UK without applying - for example, Irish citizens or those with indefinite leave to remain. 

Leaving without a deal

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 and EU workers must apply by 31 December 2020. 

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be a  new process for EU citizens arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, a new  skills-based immigration system will launch.

The Home Office has launched an  employers toolkit to equip them with the right information to support EU citizens and their families on the EU Settlement Scheme.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

DEFRA has published various technical notices designed to provide businesses and individuals with more information on the considerations they should undertake in the case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. These cover issues such as Farming and Fishing; Food labelling; Chemicals (REACH); Veterinary medicines; Pet travel; Imports & Exports of animals; Imports & Exports of plants; Food standards legislation; and Buying and selling timber.

Also published: 

Department for Transport 

Department for International Trade

Explore the potential of exporting with guidance, services and support from the Department for International Trade.

Trade Bodies and other links

British Chamber of Commerce (BCC)

The BCC has put together resources to help businesses prepare for the change and to assess the progress of the negotiations. The resource includes a Business Brexit Checklist and a Brexit Risk Register. The checklist includes actions on workforce, cross-border trade (including preparations for possible border delays, tariffs and customs checks) and taxation. 

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

The ICAEW checklist covers movement of goods; product compliance; contracts; people; and financial planning. 

Institute of Directors (IoD)

The IoD's Brexit Guide covers goods; services; people; Brexit checklist; IoD resources; glossary; and an index of useful links.

Federation for Small Business (FSB)

The FSB has published a pack to set out what smaller businesses should be thinking about. 

Open to Export

Open to Export is a free online information service from The Institute of Export & International Trade, dedicated to helping small UK businesses get ready to export and expand internationally.

Ready for Brexit

Ready for Brexit aims to help businesses and organisations understand the challenges and opportunities that Brexit will create. It has a range of tools to help deal with Brexit.

Road Haulage Association (RHA)

The RHA has prepared arrange of documents relating to Brexit.

Data Protection

When the UK leaves the EU there may be changes to the rules governing the use of personal data.

The Information Commissioner's Officer has published guidance for UK businesses or organisations setting out the key practical points and preparations for you to consider when preparing for Brexit, covering both 'deal' and 'no deal' scenarios: 

Intellectual Property

Parts of UK intellectual property (IP) law will change when the UK leaves the EU:


When the UK leaves the EU there may be changes to how UK organisations, such as charities, businesses and universities are funded: 

Dover Port Health Authority

The Dover Port Health Authority provide enforcement, advice, support, training and consultation on food safety and infectious disease control issues both to the commercial and voluntary sector:

Kent Trading Standards

Find out how your business will be affected by Brexit

Business Support - Growth Hub

The  Kent & Medway Growth Hub forms part of the South East Business Hub, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s overarching business support programme. It helps new and existing businesses find the most suitable type of business support available in their area.

Video resources

The Border Delivery Group and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have published a series of short  video guides to help businesses to prepare for changes at the UK/EU border in a ‘no deal’ scenario. The videos set out the actions that businesses will need to take to continue to trade in a ‘no deal’ EU Exit, and direct them towards further information available online.

Along with a general video and leaflet for all businesses, there are tailored products for specific industries. There are also two deep dive videos available that provide more detail on importing and exporting in a ‘no deal’ scenario.


The Border Delivery Group and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have published a series of leaflets to help businesses to prepare for changes at the UK/EU border in a ‘no deal’ scenario. 

Other leaflets

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Dover District Council is not responsible for the content or accuracy of linked third party websites. We are not an agent for these third parties nor do we endorse or guarantee their products etc. We make no representation or warranty regarding the accuracy of the information contained in the linked websites. We suggest that you always verify the information obtained from linked websites before acting upon this information.

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