Brexit - FAQ's for international sellers exporting to the UK

This article will provide guidance in relation to Brexit and the steps needed to continue selling to UK based buyers from wherever you're based around the globe.

Topics in this article:

Please note that all applications related to International sales, Customs requirements and exporting to the UK , should be verified via your relevant countries Government and other agencies. 

First of all, for any business' currently selling into international markets outside of the EU, the new process of selling into the UK will be very similar.

What can I expect and how can I prepare?

From January 1st, the UK government will implement additional changes by introducing a new VAT for treatment of goods arriving into Great Britain from outside of the UK.

This ensures that goods from EU and non-EU countries are imported in the same fashion and UK businesses are not put at a disadvantage as far as competition from VAT free imports are concerned.

It will also improve the effectiveness and simplify the process of VAT collection on imported goods and address the problem of overseas sellers failing to pay the correct amount of VAT on sales of goods that are already in the UK at the point of sale.

Which rules change in relations to customs declarations?

As per current Customs requirement when shipping goods to Countries outside of the EU, Customs Declarations will be required to export products to the UK. 

You can make the declarations yourself, but most businesses use a courier, freight forwarder or customs agent.

To ensure goods are transitioned smoothly from your domestic market into the UK, you will be required to provide basic essential information such as what the goods are, who your Business is, how they are being shipped and who is responsible for the Customs etc.

How about VAT thresholds and requirements?

  • Business to Customer consignments under £135

For any parcels under or at the value of £135, rather than paying import VAT at UK customs, Sellers will need to charge their customers the UK VAT value in the checkout. This will then need to be declared through the UK VAT return.

  • Business to Customer consignments over £135

For parcels above the value of £135, the usual charges will apply. For goods imported into the UK, they have to account for import VAT in addition to the customs declarations. And as of 1 January 2021 this will include the countries within the EU.

For any EU, US or other international market merchants selling into the UK, they will be required to register for UK VAT to sell into Britain, prepare customs declarations in a similar fashion as we have mentioned above.

To clarify, this will be a requirement for any International Seller wishing to export into the UK, so includes any EU, US and other non-UK based Business.

To register for UK VAT, go to

Do I need to update my business EORI number?

Any EU, US or non-UK based Business will need to register for a GB EORI number to export to the UK. For Businesses with an existing EU EORI number, this means registering for a specific GB EORI.

This will be a requirement for all Business exporting into the UK. 

To register for a GB EORI number, do so here.

What can I do to minimize the impact on shipping internationally?

Provide your carriers with complete and accurate data for customs clearance. Make sure your shipping platform is set up to handle customs data.

Do what you can to minimize the risk of customer parcels being held up at customs or returned to sender, e.g. your labeling and shipping systems should be able to capture and provide additional data like HS codes and commodity descriptions and the GB specific EORI number.

Summary - what is on my to do list right now as an international seller exporting to the UK?

  • Register for UK VAT
  • Register for a GB EORI number
  • Ensure Customs Declarations meet the requirements to travel successfully into the UK

Please be aware that the above content does not constitute legal advice and should be considered a summary of terms collated from available sources. To ensure all requirements are met, please refer to Governmental agencies such as the European Commission refer to the UK Government website for additional clarification.

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