UK-EU Transition

Information and resources related to the UK-EU transition, what it means for Buckinghamshire, and how local businesses can prepare for new rules on 1st January 2021.

Support to help your business thrive

Buckinghamshire Business First has lots of support available to help businesses achieve their goals. This includes through our Growth Programme, which has helped many businesses prosper.

Contact our Business Support Team to learn all about the help we can provide your business.

Call 01494 927130, email or fill out this quick form to book a chat with one of our Business Advisers.

Check what you need to do to get ready for the new rules in 2021

The UK has left the EU. The current rules on trade, travel, and business for the UK and EU still apply until 31st December 2020.

On 1st January 2021, new rules will apply on living, working, travelling and doing business in the UK and EU.

Use this quick checker tool to identify the specific steps your business needs to take to be ready. You will receive a series of actions to ensure you are ready for the new rules.

Visit the government's transition website for all the latest information on the UK-EU transition.

Brexit impact survey - how are you being affected?

Buckinghamshire Business First is working with the government to help ensure you get the guidance and support you need to help you prepare your business for a post-Brexit world.

Please help us do this by completing this short survey – it should take just 2 minutes.

Importing & exporting


Tariffs applied to UK imports will change from 1st January 2021.

The UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the EU’s common external tariff, which applies until 31st December 2020. This follows a government consultation.

Use this online service to check the UK Global Tariff that will apply to goods you import from 1st January 2021. You can also check the difference between what you pay now and what you’ll pay from 1st January 2021.

Please note: Any business looking to import and export to the EU will need to have an EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number. Find out more and get one here >

Read more about UK tariffs from 1st January 2021.



When it comes to exporting goods overseas, what you need to do and the rules you need to abide by depend on whether you’re exporting:

  • to the EU
  • outside the EU

Learn more information about exporting good overseas.

Selling digital services in the EU

Follow the rules for tax if you sell digital services in the EU, for example, downloadable videos, music, ebooks or software.



UK Global Tariff - new import tariffs from 1st January 2021

Tariffs applied to UK imports will change from 1st January 2021.

The UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the EU’s common external tariff, which applies until 31st December 2020.

Use this online service to check the UK Global Tariff that will apply to goods you import from 1st January 2021.

Importing - what are the rules you need to follow?

If your business imports goods from overseas, what you need to do and the rules you need to abide by depend on whether you’re importing

  • within the EU
  • outside the EU

Learn more information about importing goods from overseas.

Importing services from outside the UK

There are different rules if your business buys services from outside the UK.



An online tool launched by the Department for International Trade aims to make it easier for businesses to trade globally.

The tool enables businesses to report issues and problems which prevent them from trading globally, such as legal, regulatory or administrative requirements that slow down or prevent a business exporting or importing.

Once an issue or problem has been reported, trade experts will assess the problem and work with other governments around the world to resolve it.

Learn more about the tool and how to report trade barriers.



HMRC has an EU Exit Import and Export Trader Helpline for traders and hauliers importing from and/or exporting to the EU.

The helpline number is 0300 3301 331. Lines will be open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.



The Department for International Trade has a digital tool that helps UK businesses understand the rules, restrictions and tax and duty rates that may apply when they export goods internationally.

You’ll need to know what your product is made of to get the correct information about how to export it.

Access the tool here.



The government has produced advice on how to trade with other countries under WTO rules if there is no trade agreement in place between the UK and EU after 31st December 2020.

Read the advice here.


Immigration & employment


The government has revealed information about the new UK points-based immigration system which will begin on 1st January 2021.

This statement includes information on:

  • the requirements of the points-based system
  • salary and skills thresholds for skilled workers
  • a route for students and graduates
  • who can apply
  • visiting the UK
  • other immigration routes

Read the statement here.

Employers can sign up to receive email alerts for the latest news on the new immigration system.



Guidance is available for employers carrying out right to work checks on EU citizens and their family members in the UK.

You’ll need to check a job applicant’s right to work in the same way as you do now up until 30th June 2021.

A new immigration system will apply to people arriving in the UK from 1st January 2021 and EU citizens moving to the UK to work will need to get a visa in advance.

Find out more information and guidance here.



EU citizens applying for a skilled worker visa will need to show they have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor to be able to apply.

If you’re an employer planning to sponsor skilled migrants from 2021, and are not currently an approved sponsor, you should consider getting approved now.

Learn more about becoming an approved sponsor.



European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizens and their family members who are living in the UK before 1st January 2021 need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30th June 2021.

The government has produced a toolkit containing information with which employers can support EU citizen employees and their families with regards to the EU Settlement Scheme. The information can help employers to support EU citizen employees to apply to stay in the UK.

The toolkit includes:

  • an introduction to the EU Settlement Scheme for employers
  • details of eligiblity, the application process and deadline
  • template letters to EU staff
  • factsheets
  • presentations
  • leaflets and posters
  • social media graphics and videos
  • translated materials

View the toolkit here.

The government has also produced a toolkit for community groups to support EU citizens and their families, which can be accessed here.


Government advice

The government has said that the current rules on trade, travel, and business for the UK and EU still apply until the end of the UK-EU transition period on 31st December 2020.

On 1st January 2021, new rules will apply on living, working, travelling and doing business in the UK and EU.

For government advice on the transition period and the new rules from 1st January 2021, visit the government's transition period homepage here.



Innovation projects can still be funded through the Horizon 2020 programme during the UK-EU transition period, including those lasting beyond 2020. Prototyping, testing, piloting and more are eligible for funding covering up to 70% of costs.

The Horizon 2020 programme was established by the European Union (EU) to ensure that Europe produces world-class science, remove barriers to innovation, and make it easier for public and private sectors to innovate together.

What happens during and after the UK-EU transition period?

UK scientists, researchers and businesses can continue to participate in Horizon 2020 programmes and receive EU grant funding for the lifetime of individual projects. This includes projects finishing after 1st January 2021.

You can apply for funding if your project is close to market. This could include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, market replication or large-scale product validation.

You can get up to 70% of your project’s direct costs funded if you are a business, or up to 100% funding if you are a not-for-profit organisation.

Learn more about the Horizon 2020 programme and how to get involved.

Please note: The government states that "a very limited number of UK Horizon 2020 projects, which involve access to security-related sensitive information restricted for EU Member States, may be unable to continue after EU Exit in their current form. The government expects the European Commission to inform participants if this is the case. To account for this, the government and UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), has established a ‘Continuation Process’. This will provide funding to UK beneficiaries if their Horizon 2020 grant is terminated by the European Commission due to EU Exit."


View the detailed guides for businesses on specific product safety and metrology regulations from 1st January 2021.


DEFRA have produced guidance on how rules for producing, processing, labelling and trading organic food will change from 1st January 2021.


The National Archive will allow members of the public to view all EU legislation relevant to the UK exiting the EU.

You can view legislation originating from the EU here.


The UK will no longer be part of the EU merger system from 1st January 2021. Businesses considering a merger that will affect both UK and EU markets will need to comply with UK and EU merger rules.

Read the government advice on how merger reviews and investigations into anti-competitive activity will change from 1st January 2021.

Cross border mergers

Cross border mergers involving UK companies must be completed and registered before 1st January 2021.

Read the government advice on cross border mergers.



The letters ‘CE’ appear on many products that are traded on the single market in the European Economic Area (EEA).

You can use the CE marking if you’re placing certain goods on the UK or EU market until 1st January 2021.

The CE marking is required for many products. It:

  • shows that the manufacturer has checked that these products meet EU safety, health or environmental requirements
  • is an indicator of a product’s compliance with EU legislation
  • allows the free movement of products within the European market

This government webpage provides information on CE marking and will be updated if anything changes.


The government has provided a 6-point checklist for haulage drivers transporting goods commercially if they are driving from the UK to any international destination.


Watch our Brexit advice videos

Get advice from experts on how to prepare for Brexit, what opportunities you could tap into, and more. Watch the following videos: