Last reviewed 5 November 2019

The Government put in place a lot of guidance, instructions and documentation in case the UK left the European Union on 31 October — but what happens now that date has passed and the leaving date looks to have moved into 2020?

Just as the General Election was announced, the EU confirmed that the Other Member States had agreed to defer the UK’s leaving date until 31 January 2020.

They added the proviso that, in the unlikely event of the Withdrawal Agreement being accepted by the UK and EU Parliaments before that date, then the UK could leave on 1 December 2019 or 1 January 2020.

In this context, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has advised businesses that it will continue to help them to prepare for Brexit in all scenarios, including the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 January 2020.

“Many of the steps that you have already taken to get your business ready for Brexit will still be useful preparation for the UK leaving the EU, with or without a deal,” it pointed out.


Those who were given an EORI (Economic Operator Registration Identification) number starting with GB, have been asked to retain it as it will remain valid for use in trade with businesses based in the EU if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

These EORI numbers can be used now to trade with businesses based outside of the Union.

Transitional Simplified Procedures

Importers who have registered for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) are advised to retain their letter of approval as it too will remain valid if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Businesses who received a letter from HMRC telling them that they had been automatically registered for TSP, will be contacted in the near future with authorisation to use it to import TSP standard goods from the EU if the UK leaves without a deal.

They should retain these letters and their TSP number.