- Will BREXIT make EU customs rules inapplicable to the United Kingdom?
Yes. Using the exit procedure established in Art. 50 of the Treaty, the United Kingdom has decided to leave the European Union and not to be subject to EU customs rules.
The agreement on the UK's withdrawal provides for a transitional period from 1st February to 31st December 2020 for people and companies. Thus, nothing changes until the end of 2020. EU laws and procedures concerning free circulation of people, services, capital and goods will remain in force in the United Kingdom.
- Will there be a transitional period?
Yes. The agreement on the UK's withdrawal provides for a transitional period from 1st February to 31st December 2020 for people and companies.
- What has changed on 1st February 2020?
As far as customs are concerned, nothing has changed on 1st February 2020 because the agreement governing the UK's withdrawal provides for a transitional period from 1st February to 31st December 2020.
- What will happen on 1st January 2021?
In the absence of further agreements, the United Kingdom will no longer be part of the EU tax and customs territory (VAT and excise duties) on 1st January 2021. Thus, the circulation of goods between the UK and EU will be considered as trade with a third country.
Before that date, however, the European Union and the United Kingdom will have the chance to define clearer and better rules for goods entering, exiting or transiting through the EU and UK tax and customs territories.
- What will change for travellers arriving in the EU from the UK?
The agreement on the UK's withdrawal provides for a transitional period from 1st February to 31st December 2020. Therefore, in 2020 nothing changes for travellers at customs level.
On the other hand, starting from 1st January 2021 and unless otherwise agreed, travellers from the UK arriving in the EU with goods (carried in their luggage or elsewhere) will only benefit from the same reliefs from customs duties as those granted to travellers arriving from non-EU countries (VAT and import duty exemption and, if applicable, excise duty exemption). Specific information about the goods concerned and the relevant benefits can be found in the Italian Customs and Monopolies Agency's website (www.adm.gov.it) as well as at the following link:
In major airports, the Italian Customs and Monopolies Agency has opened the so-called BREXIT ZONE offices, where travellers may ask for and receive assistance.
- Can non-EU visitors travelling from the United Kingdom obtain VAT refunds when they leave the EU territory?
Unless otherwise agreed, as of 1st January 2021, non-EU visitors travelling from the UK will be refunded VAT paid on goods bought during their stay in the EU, provided that such goods were presented at an EU customs office, together with the relevant documents for a VAT refund, when leaving the EU. Please also see the Guide for VAT refund for visitors to the EU
- I am an EU businessman. With BREXIT, what will change for my business with the United Kingdom?
Unless otherwise agreed, starting from 1st January 2021, customs rules and procedures applicable to third countries will be applied to commercial trade with the UK.
Operators selling goods to the UK that have never dealt previously with customs procedures, may ask for assistance from the competent territorial customs Offices that will help them to deal with the operational changes related to BREXIT.
- As from 1st January 2021, will I be able to carry out customs operations for goods from the UK at the customs office nearest to my company's premises?
The UK has expressed its intention to join the Convention for common transit, once all procedures for exiting the EU have been finalised. This convention represents the legal basis for the transit system both for the EU and some neighboring countries, such as Switzerland. We do not know yet if and when the Convention provisions will become applicable to the UK. However, the European Commission is working for an agreement with the UK. Without an agreement, the EU will apply all rules and procedures laid down for third countries not being parties to the Convention.
- I trade alcohol products in the UK- How will BREXIT change my business?
Unless otherwise agreed, as from 1st January 2021, the sale of alcohol products by an Italian trader to a British purchaser will be considered as an export operation, that is the exit of excisable goods from the EU Territory.
Where excisable products under excise-duty suspension arrangements are shipped by road, for example, the export procedure is applied, providing for the customs declaration to be sent by the economic operator to the export customs office. The export operation and movement of products under excise-duty suspension arrangements (with issuance of an e-AD) from the national tax warehouse till the place of exit from the EU territory are finalised when a report of export is issued by the export customs office and the relevant visa exit is affixed by the customs office of exit.
- I am an authorized economic operator: how will BREXIT affect my business?
From 1st February 2020 to 31st December 2020, AEOs (Authorized Economic Operators), depending on the kind of authorization obtained, will continue to benefit from the relevant favorable treatments throughout EU territory and also in the UK territory, in line with the EU programme.
Unless otherwise agreed, as from 1st January 2021, AEOs' operations to and from the UK will no longer be considered intra-Community operations. They will become import and export operations. Thus, from 1st January 2021, AEO authorizations obtained in the UK will no longer be valid, if no specific agreement of mutual recognition is signed. This is also true for those operators who have obtained the authorization in Italy (or in another EU Country) but also trade in the UK.
- What will happen to applications for the customs enforcement of intellectual property rights and to the relevant decisions granting application for action by the UK?
Nothing changes from 1st February 2020 to 31st December 2020. Unless otherwise agreed, as from 1st January 2021, the exit of the UK from the EU will affect the actions carried out by the Customs Administration aimed at the enforcement of intellectual property rights. Thus, it will no longer be possible to submit applications for the enforcement of intellectual property rights to the competent UK services. Likewise, decisions granting application for action issued by the UK will no longer be valid in other EU countries. Applications and granting decisions issued by EU bodies submitted in other Member States will remain valid in the Country where the application was submitted and in all other EU MS. For more information, please visit: DG TAXUD.
- How can I clear doubts or difficulties concerning customs procedures and related to BREXIT?
The Italian Customs and Monopolies Agency website provides useful information on customs clearance, transit and controls with non-EU countries, as well as on simplification procedures and customs reliefs. You can also:
Consult the European Commission website for all updates:
Gather information on the application of customs laws, on excise duties and export refunds contacting the Electronic Helpdesk at the following link:
If you have specific queries, please contact directly the competent local Customs offices.