Shipments to the EU after Brexit

Brexit has affected the whole supply chain for UK exporters to the EU. What can you do to minimise the disruption and keep your goods moving?


Get an EORI number


Firstly, get an EORI number.  This is a priority! EORI stands for Economic Operators Registration and Identification number. This number will be used by customs and other authorities to monitor and track your goods coming into and out of the EU for tax and duty purposes. HMRC will allocate EORI numbers to be able to import and export to and from the UK. It can take up to a week to be valid so please apply for one in advance to ensure there are no delays. 

Find out about commercial invoices


Commercial invoices must be prepared for every inter UK/EU shipment. You need to be familiar with the information required on the commercial invoice - 


- Name, address of shipper/seller and buyer/consignee/Goods description i.e. weight, size, quantities

- Trailer number (if full trailer is being shipped)

- Port/point of entry in the UK (dover for example)

- Commodity code of goods

- Value of goods


Check duties and customs procedures for your goods in the EU


The online service by the UK government is a free, step by step process for checking rules/restrictions, taxes and duty and what documentation is required by the destination country.


Apply for any required licenses


Check in with your importer in the EU


Whoever is going to receive your goods in their destination country should have the required documentation to receive it.


Complete an export declaration (customs)


An export declaration is part of HMRC’s export handling system. You will need to source a customs agent or company able to process/raise these documents for exportation. 


Find out more about how to apply.


Classify your goods


All goods will have a ‘commodity code’ to classify them. You can determine what these are on These are also known as HS codes. 


Customs Clearance for exporting to the EU


Customs clearance may be required on entry to the EU country, please make sure you have an agent in place to clear these on arrival to avoid any delays. Most hauliers will be able to provide this service but it is best to make sure it is included. 

Decide on the best method of transportation to the EU


Your goods can be transported by sea, air, road or courier service


Transporting your goods to Europe via Dover is the most common route for UK business, but it may not be the most efficient financially or environmentally. Considering sea freight from alternative ports is a good option to avoid delays and high prices. 


Find out more about shipping to Europe by sea in our blog post.


Further information

New to exporting page

Step by step UK Government guide 

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Government guidelines