Brexit: import and export

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Do you import products from the UK? Or do you have customers in the United Kingdom? Since 1 January 2021 you have to deal with customs formalities and longer waiting times at the border. Prepare your shipments well to avoid delays.

The information on is based on the agreement between the EU and the UK. The government is currently analysing the agreement. That is why these texts may change in the near future. Do you have questions? Contact Brexitloket.

Preferential origin: avoid paying import duties

Do you trade with the UK and would you rather not pay import duties on your products? Then it is important for you to see how you can make use of the agreements between the EU and the UK. Read more on Brexitloket (in Dutch).

To do list

  • Apply for an EORI number

    To transport goods to and from the United Kingdom, you must apply for an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number. You need that number to submit customs declarations for the export of goods outside the EU. You can apply for an EORI number in the Netherlands via the website of the Tax and Customs Administration. You must register your products with both Dutch and British customs. Do you have a representative in the UK who takes care of this for you? Then check whether they have a British EORI number. Does your representative not have an EORI number or do you handle the import into the UK yourself? Then make sure you have a British EORI number yourself. Check the British government website to apply for an EORI number in the UK.

  • For import: turnover VAT

    If you import from the UK, you have to file an import declaration, and pay VAT. You can delay paying the VAT with an Article 23 permit. With an Article 23 permit, you can declare the VAT on your VAT return instead of having to pay directly. If you import from the UK regularly, an Article 23 permit can save you time and work. Apply for an Article 23 permit (in Dutch).

  • Commodity codes, import duties; permits

    Find out what the commodity or HS codes are for the products you are importing or exporting. Check how high the import duties are for those products and which documents you will need.

    Depending on whether you are importing or exporting, you must submit an import or export declaration to customs. You can do this yourself or have it done by a freight forwarder. You need special software to make a declaration yourself. The Customs website states which software suppliers there are (in Dutch). Check whether you need a customs permit. If so, request one. For example, you need such a permit for the storage of goods when importing from the UK or for onward delivery to or from third countries. For companies and customs, issuing permits and certifications requires much care and time. Do not delay applying for the correct permits. View and apply for customs permits (in Dutch).
  • Arrange the pre-notification via Portbase

    If you trade via ferry and / or shortsea terminals, you must pre-notify the customs documents digitally via the Portbase website. Make arrangements who will do this: the importer, exporter, freight forwarder, customs agent, or in some cases the carrier. Without pre-notification, the transporter will not be able to access the terminal. Digital pre-notification and real-time tracking of your cargo is done via Portbase. To do so, you need to subscribe to the following services:

    Before the start of the transport, check whether the terminal has also received the customs documents. Only digitally pre-notified cargo may enter or leave the terminal. Read more about the ferry process at
  • Read up on the export rules

    Check whether you comply with all export rules. View the information on the Access2Markets portal (enter your HS number first). Not yet familiar with Access2Markets? First read the step-by-step plan (in Dutch) on the RVO website. Do you want to know more about the changed export rules? Read on the RVO website about export regulations in the United Kingdom from 1 January 2021 (in Dutch).

Five things to do: ferry and shortsea terminals

All ferry terminals and most shortsea terminals in the Netherlands work together within the Portbase platform. You must pre-notify your business with the United Kingdom digitally via this platform. If you fail to do so, you will not have access to the terminal. Portbase helps you on your way in five steps, outlined on the Get Ready for website.


Dutch Customs declaration

You must inform Dutch Customs that you are exporting or importing goods from a country outside the EU. Visit the Customs website for a 3-step plan (in Dutch).

You can find more information on the website (in Dutch)

Do you often export to or import from the UK?

Then it is useful to apply for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status (in Dutch). This offers you various advantages in the field of international trade, such as fewer physical checks and priority checks.

Do you have little experience with international trade?

Then consider outsourcing your customs declaration to a forwarder or carrier (in Dutch).

British Customs Declaration

As you can see in the to-do list above, you must register your products with both Dutch and British customs. You need a UK representative to file the declaration in the UK. He or she needs a British EORI number (customs number) for this. The representative bears the risks. So make agreements about the risks and how to cover them. Are you unable to make agreements? Then you can do the import declaration on the British side yourself. Then open a branch in the UK (in Dutch) and apply for a UK EORI number. Do you handle customs formalities in the UK yourself? And do you want to make use of the preferential tariffs resulting from the trade agreement? Then you must comply with the applicable rules of origin. Read more about UK Customs in the article "New Rules: UK Customs" (in Dutch).

Freight Forwarder Selection Tool

The sector organizations ACN, TLN / FENEX and evofenedex have developed a free Brexit tool for entrepreneurs who want to outsource customs and logistics. The tool is available on the evofenedex website.

Key considerations

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Dual use goods

Do you import or export dual use goods? As of 1 January 2021, the UK has been added to the list of countries for which a Union General Export Permit (the EU001) applies. Keep in mind that dual use goods are subject to inspection. Apply for the necessary export permits (in Dutch). Do you want to export a more sensitive strategic good (categories listed in Annex IV of the Regulation)? Then ask the Central Office for Import and Export of Customs for advice.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact Brexitloket

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