News article

Providing services to any country in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland after EU Exit

20 June 2019

Guidance for UK businesses offering services in EU or EFTA countries if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the UK will no longer operate under the European Economic Area (EEA) regulations for the cross-border trade in services.

This means that the rights and protections provided by the EU Directives and EU Treaty rights of freedom of movement and freedom of establishment will no longer apply to the UK.

UK businesses will no longer be treated as if they were local businesses, and UK businesses and professionals providing services in the EEA will be regarded as originating from a ‘third country’.

UK firms and service providers may face additional legal, regulatory and administrative barriers as a result.

Cross border trade regulations

If you’re a UK business or professional providing services in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you’ll need to check the national regulations of the country you’re doing business in to understand how best to operate.

See the selling services guides to each country for more information.


If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, the main VAT ‘place of supply’ rules will remain the same for UK businesses, though there may be some areas of change.

Read more about VAT for businesses if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, including how ‘place of supply’ rules could change.

Using the UK’s VAT Mini One Stop Shop

Businesses can use the UK’s VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) to declare sales of digital services to EU consumers made before the UK’s exit from the EU.

If you wish to continue to use MOSS after the UK leaves the EU, you will need to register for MOSS in an EU member state.

Find out how to use MOSS after EU Exit.

Establishing and structuring your business

If you’re a UK service provider or business, you may face restrictions on your ability to own, manage or direct a company registered in an EEA state.

Business travel and entry requirements

If you’re a UK national, you’ll need to check whether you need a visa or work or residence permit if you’re either:

  • providing services
  • on a placement based in the EU or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

You should comply with the immigration controls in the country where you are selling services.

Sending workers to the EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

Currently employers and their workers only need to pay social security contributions (such as National Insurance contributions in the UK) in one country at a time. This may change if we leave without a deal. Employees may need to make social security contributions in both the UK and the country in which they are working.

Find out more about what you need to do.

Recognition of professional qualifications

If you are seeking recognition of a UK qualification in an EU member state, you’ll need to check:

  • the European Commission’s guidance
  • each individual member state’s rules for work on a permanent, temporary and occasional basis

You can find out more in the selling services country guides.

Citizens’ rights agreements

The UK has reached agreements on citizens’ rights with the 4 EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) which will apply if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. These agreements include recognition of professional qualifications held by these countries’ nationals and UK nationals:

the EEA EFTA No Deal Citizens’ Rights Agreement covers Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

the Swiss citizens’ rights agreement covers Switzerland

Data protection

You will still need to comply with data protection laws if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

You may need to make changes to ensure that your business still complies.

Country guides

Read the relevant country guide to find out about the potential legal, regulatory and administrative changes for UK firms and service providers, if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Read the selling services country guides.