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After the completion of the so-called “Brexit” process, the United Kingdom (UK) will no longer be part of the tax and EU customs territory (VAT and excise duties). Hence, the movement of goods between the UK and EU will be considered business with a third country. As a consequence, starting from the relevant date of exit, the customs status of the goods coming in, going out and transiting throughout the customs and tax territory of the United Kingdom and the EU shall have to be determined, along with the applicable legal provisions as well as the appropriate treatment in relation to VAT and excise duties. Furthermore, travellers moving between Italy and United Kingdom will be subject to customs inspections.


Art. 50 of the EU Treaty establishes, for an EU Country, a withdrawal mechanism based on a bilateral agreement setting out the relevant arrangements. Such an agreement is concluded, on behalf of the Union, by the Council, which shall act by a qualified majority after approval by European Parliament.

The Commission organized a Task Force responsible for managing negotiations with the UK, in order to reach the withdrawal agreement.

On March 15th 2018 the Commission formalized a draft agreement with the UK, which, if agreed upon, shall postpone Brexit starting date to January 1st 2021, guaranteeing to the Parties concerned a transition period from March 2019 to December 2020. Such period will be used to settle several matters concerning the future relation between the EU and the UK as third country. Such relation will be regulated by a second agreement (to be concluded after the withdrawal) with a different legal basis.

In the draft agreement dated March 15th the following procedures are regulated, not yet concluded at the exit of the UK from the EU:

  • Movement of goods at the moment of withdrawal;
  • Customs procedures underway;
  • VAT and excise duties still to be levied;
  • Intellectual property rights (including the identification of geographical indications);
  • Judicial and police cooperation in criminal matters underway;
  • Judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters;
  • Use of data and protection of information obtained or processed before the end of the transition period;
  • Public tenders;
  • Euratom issues;
  • EU judicial and administrative procedures underway;
  • Administrative cooperation procedures;
  • Privileges and immunities;
  • Issues related to the functioning of institutions;
  • EU agencies and bodies.

Negotiation is still ongoing. A possible "deal", once approved by the Council and the European Parliament, as well as ratified by the United Kingdom, would allow to postpone the operation of Brexit in the customs field. While, in case of non-agreement, UK will become a third Country to all effects starting from 30 March 2019.

It should be mentioned that the Agreement currently under negotiation only concerns the transition period (March 30th 2019 - December 31st 2020), and is intended to avoid any traumatic effect that the Brexit could cause to EU’s economy.

In any case, a free trade agreement will have to be negotiated for future commercial relations between EU and United Kingdom.

All information on the ongoing negotiation is available at link:


1 ) With Brexit, will the United Kingdom be considered a non-EU Member State for customs matters?
Yes. Due to Brexit, the United Kingdom will exit the Customs Union. After March 29th 2019, the United Kingdom will be a third country, also as far as customs obligations and procedures are concerned.

2 ) Will there be an agreement for a transition period?
Yes, European Union and the United Kingdom are negotiating an exit agreement with a transition period, that would allow the United Kingdom to benefit from the acquis communautaire until December 31st 2020. If no agreement is reached (the so-called "no deal"), there will be no transition period.

3 ) When will we know about the Brexit?
The negotiation is still ongoing. If a withdrawal agreement is approved by the European Parliament and ratified by United Kingdom by March 29th 2019, Brexit’s effects will be postponed to December 31st 2020 as regards customs matters. However, if no agreement is reached, UK will become a third country for all purposes starting from March 30th 2019.
It should be mentioned that the Agreement currently under negotiation only concerns the transition period (March 30th 2019 – December 31st 2020), and is intended to avoid any traumatic effect that the Brexit could cause to EU’s economy.
In any case, a free trade agreement will have to be negotiated for future commercial relations between EU and United Kingdom.

4 ) If an agreement is reached what will happen after March 29th 2019?
If an agreement is reached, the relevant proposal will be submitted to both the European and the British Parliaments for approval. If both Parliaments agree with it, there will be a transition period until December 31st 2020.
During such transition period the United Kingdom, while being legally a non-EU Country, would still benefit from the Customs Union and Internal Market provisions. This would mean that nothing would change in terms of customs rules/provisions.

5 ) What would happen if no agreement is reached?
If no agreement is reached, there would be no transition period and all consequences related to the UK’s new status would be applied already starting from March 29th 2019. In particular, this would mean that traders should reintroduce both customs (import/export and transit declarations) and non-customs obligations and procedures (sanitary and phytosanitary controls).

6 ) What will change, as far as customs is concerned, when I come back from the United Kingdom after March 29th?
When coming back to the EU, all goods purchased in the United Kingdom whose value exceeds the limits established in Decree N°32/2009 and listed in the Traveller’s Customs Charter will have to be declared to customs officers, and all duties, if any, will have to be paid for.

7 ) What will change, as far as customs is concerned, when I go back to Great Britain departing from Italy with my purchases?
After March 29th 2019, all goods bought in Italy or in other EU Member States will benefit from the VAT refund, according to standard rules.

8 ) I am a business man. After March 29th 2019 how will my business with the United Kingdom change?
In case of exit from the European Union on March 29th 2019 with “no deal”, the United Kingdom would become a non-EU third country. Thus in commercial exchanges, the same rules, including customs procedures, applied to non-EU third countries would apply to the United Kingdom.

9 ) If I want to carry out my customs procedures for goods coming from the United Kingdom in the customs office nearest to my company, what should I do?
The United Kingdom expressed its wish to join the common transit Convention, once the exit procedures from the EU will have been completed. Such Convention represents the legal base of the transit system both for the European Union and for some neighbouring countries, such as Switzerland. The date for the entry into force of the current Convention’s provisions with the United Kingdom cannot, at present, be known. However, the Commission is working in order to obtain an arrangement as soon as possible.

10 ) My business is to export alcohol product to the United Kingdom. What should I do after March 29th 2019?
If no agreement is reached by the parties, all provisions concerning third countries would be already applied starting from March 29th 2019, including the need to submit an export customs declaration for your goods. For more detailed info:

11 ) What will change as of 1 April 2019, for AEOs (Authorized Economic Operators)?
Depending on the type of authorisation obtained, AEOs will continue to enjoy favourable treatment throughout the EU, in accordance with the relevant EU programme. Only AEO transactions to the UK will be considered as imports/exports, while those to other Member States will continue to be considered as intra-Community transactions. Following the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, only in the case of a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) of authorised economic operators (AEO) between the parties, will it be possible to establish the rules for the favourable treatment of European AEOs and British AEOs.

12 ) What will happen to applications for customs protection of intellectual property rights and the related decisions granting them by the United Kingdom as of 1 April 2019?
The United Kingdom's exit from the European Union will also have an impact on customs action to protect intellectual property rights. Indeed, from 30 March 2019 it will no longer be possible to submit applications for action (the so-called AFA) to the competent department of the United Kingdom Customs Administration. Likewise, the decisions granting applications issued by the United Kingdom will no longer be valid in the other EU countries. Applications for action and decisions granting EU applications submitted in other Member States will remain valid in the country of submission and in all other countries except the UK. More information is available on the DGTAXUD website

13 ) What should I do in case of doubts on customs procedures related to the Brexit?
The Customs Agency website includes specific information on customs clearance, transit, controls with third countries and customs simplification procedures. It is also possible to:

  • ask questions and request assistance by writing to;
  • obtain general information on the application of customs legislation, excise duties and export refunds through the telematic URP service (Office for Relations with the Public), using the procedure described on the Agency's website at the following link: In case of detailed questions concerning specific customs operations, it is possible to contact the local customs offices competent for these operations directly by consulting the Agency's website.
  • consult the documents published by the European Commission in order to be updated on the main developments in the dossier. More information available at: