EU exit checklist - 10 steps to take


There are new rules on how Northern Ireland businesses must operate from 1 January 2021. This checklist highlights the key actions that you can take now as well as additional guidance and support.


Follow this checklist to find out what rules your business must follow when trading from 1 January 2021. Find links to guidance and further support.

  1. Register for the Trader Support Service
    The Trader Support Service provides free training and support for businesses for customs processes that will arise for goods moving between GB and NI. The Trader Support Service can provide support in registering for an EORI number, understanding Incoterms and in making declarations for goods moving from GB to NI. Even if you are not sure whether you will buy from/sell to GB in the next year, it is worth registering just in case.
  2. Get an EORI number
    You will need both a GB EORI number and an XI EORI number if you buy from GB. If you do not already have a GB EORI number, you can apply for both a GB EORI number and an XI number at the same time – get an EORI number. There is no risk to having an EORI number if you do not use it. 
  3. Find out the commodity code for goods you buy or sell
    If you buy from/sell to GB, you need to know the commodity codes for the goods you purchase and sell. For goods you purchase, you should speak to your supplier, they may be able to tell you the code. You can also check the code using the Trade Tariff. You should check the tariffs applicable under the EU Common External Tariffs and UK Global Tariff (UKGT).
  4. Plan for how to handle tariffs on purchases from Great Britain
    Tariffs may be applied to purchases from GB unless you take some action. There are several options available and businesses can use different processes for different purchases. The main options are:

    You will need to input this information into the import declaration. If you use the Trader Support Service, this information is input on the supplementary declaration.

  5. Speak to your haulier
    If you move goods to or from GB, speak to your haulier. There may be changes to your usual processes and timing, for example, the requirement to pre-notify movements of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods at least 24 hours before they arrive in NI. Ask your haulier what information they will need from you and whether goods will be moved through Dublin as processes will be different for these movements. 
  6. Speak to suppliers
    Your suppliers in GB also need to prepare and you will need some information from them to help you get ready. If they have not prepared it is likely you will face delays to orders from GB. You should suggest that your supplier registers for the Trader Support Service and ask them to apply for GB and XI EORI numbers. If you are purchasing SPS goods (including products of animal origin) from a GB supplier, you should ensure that they are aware of the need to pre-notify these consignments at least 24 hours before they arrive in NI. Further information is available from DAERA.
  7. Check regulations that apply to your goods
    Check whether your goods must meet EU standards and how these goods are approved for the EU market at the moment. Ask your supplier whether they will continue to ensure the products meet the requirements for the EU market. If you bring agri-food products from GB guidance and support is available from the Movement Assistance Scheme. The scheme assists traders moving animals, plants and associated goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland and includes a helpline with advisers ready to help you with the new requirements, including advice on export health certificates, live animals, animal products, plant and plant product types.
  8. Consider your data
    The UK and EU have agreed a temporary 'bridging mechanism' for personal data which will allow organisations to continue to send personal data from the EU to the UK until 30 June 2021. During this extension if you receive personal data from the EU you should consider putting alternative safeguards in place as a sensible precaution. The Information Commissioner’s Office has information on possible steps you will need to take
  9. Check if you need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme
    If you or one of your staff is an EEA national (excluding Ireland), you or they will need to apply to the EU Settled Status Scheme. Your employees risk not being able to continue living or working in the UK if they do not apply to the scheme. Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
  10. Apply for an Immigration Sponsorship Licence
    If you wish to hire foreign nationals (EU and non-EU, excluding Irish nationals) you will be required to apply for a sponsorship licence from the Home Office. You should also consider the impacts of the new points-based immigration system on recruitment timelines and the costs of the immigration fees associated with the skilled worker route.