The Government has published guidance for businesses and members of the public on how to prepare for Brexit as part of its Get ready for Brexit campaign. 

The UK left the European Union on 31 January and enter a Brexit transition period. During this period, which runs until the end of December 2020, it will be business as usual for data protection.

The GDPR will continue to apply. Businesses and organisations that process personal data should continue to follow the ICO’s Data Protection and Brexit resources (below) for advice on their data protection obligations.

During the transition period, companies and organisations that offer goods or services to people in the EU do not need to appoint a European representative. It is not yet known what the data protection landscape will look like at the end of the transition period. 

Letter from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, to businesses about actions they need to take from 1 January 2021.

The letter from the Business Secretary was sent to businesses. It provides advice on what key actions businesses must take after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. The letters contain QR codes and URLs which direct readers to GOV.UK, where they can view the online transition checker, sector specific webinars and access further guidance.

The letter was sent with a leaflet that provides further information about the new rules from 1 January 2021.


The government  has produced a checker tool to assist businesses and individuals to prepare for the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, at It is intended to  identify the necessary next steps that businesses need to take.


HMRC has sent a letter to VAT-registered businesses trading in the EU. The letter explains what businesses need to do to prepare for new processes for moving goods between Great Britain and the EU from 1 January 2021, including:

  • making sure they have a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
  • deciding how they will make customs declarations
  • checking if their imported goods are eligible for staged import controls

A guide and press release to how the border with the European Union will work after the transition period: The Border with the European Union: Importing and Exporting Goods.

BREXIT-BEIS Latest Guidance

Are you ready for our new relationship with the EU? (12 October)

Business Secretary urges businesses to prepare for the end of the transition period (11 October)

Check what actions you need to take by visiting

Sign-up for updates.

Attend government webinars for additional support, you can sign up to attend BEIS webinars now.

DCMS Guidance on preparing for the end of the transition period if you work in arts, heritage and culture sectors

Use our 7-point checklist to understand what you need to do before 1 January 2021 if you work in the arts, heritage and culture sectors.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year. This provides guidance on what needs to be done before 1 January 2020. Check what else you need to do during the transition period.


  1. Your employees
  2. Your data
  3. Visiting Europe
  4. Your organisation and services
  5. Moving goods
  6. EU funding
  7. Recruiting from outside the UK

Use DCMS  7-point checklist to understand what you need to do before 1 January 2021 if you work in the arts, heritage and culture sectors. There may be other steps you need to take to prepare for the end of the transition period. Use the Make sure you are ready checker to find out more.

Your employees

Step 1: Check your employees can still meet professional requirements for the country they're working in, including whether they need a visa or work permit or need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

For more information:

Your data

Step 2: Check if you need to change the way you receive personal data from the EU/EEA.

For more information:

Visiting Europe

Step 3: Check what you need to do to visit Europe after the transition period.

For more information:

Your organisation and services

Step 4: Check the impact on any arts, cultural or heritage services you provide to organisations or individuals based in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, including for ecommerce and eu domain names.

For more information:

Moving goods

Step 5: Prepare for moving goods in and out of the UK, including works of art and historical objects.

For more information:

EU funding

Step 6: Check the UK's continued participation in EU programmes funded by the current EU Multiannual Financial Framework.

For more information:

Recruiting from outside the UK

From January 2021, freedom of movement is ending. The new points-based immigration system will introduce job, salary and language requirements.

For more information:

The Global Talent visa also provides another route for prospective employees and self-employed workers from outside the UK to work in the arts and culture sectors:

Guidance for DCMS sectors during the transition period and after 1 January 2021

Information for DCMS sectors now that the UK has left the EU.

At the end of the transition period, the eCommerce Directive will no longer apply to the UK. You should begin to prepare for these changes now.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

This page tells you what you'll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

Check what else you need to do during the transition period.


  1. Changes from 1 January 2021
  2. Other provisions in the eCommerce Directive
  3. During the transition period

What you should do before 1 January 2021

  1. Check whether you are in scope
  2. Check where your service is based
  3. Check for new legal requirements
  4. More steps you can take

Changes from 1 January 2021

Rules relating to online activities in European Economic Area (EEA) countries may newly apply to UK online service providers who operate in the EEA from 1 January 2021.

The eCommerce Directive currently allows EEA online service providers to operate in any EEA country, while only following relevant rules in the country in which they are established. This framework will no longer apply to UK providers as the UK will have left the EEA

You should consider whether your services are currently in scope of the Directive, and if so, ensure that you are compliant with relevant requirements in each EEA country you operate in.

Depending on the nature of your online services you may already comply with these requirements. This could mean that there are little or no immediate changes you need to make to be compliant from 1 January 2021.

You may also wish to seek legal advice.

The government intends to fully remove the eCommerce Directive’s Country of Origin principle from UK legislation, to bring EEA online service providers in scope of UK laws, which they were previously exempt from. As this principle is found in a number of pieces of legislation it will be removed at different points, when parliamentary time allows.

  1. Check whether you are in scope

The eCommerce Directive applies to ‘information society services’. These are defined as any service that is normally provided:

  • for payment, including indirect payment such as advertising revenue
  • ‘at a distance’ (where customers can use the service without the provider being present)
  • by electronic means, and
  • at the individual request of a recipient of the service

This covers the vast majority of online service providers, for example online retailers, video sharing sites, search tools, social media platforms and internet service providers.

  1. Check where your service is based

The Directive refers to this as your ‘place of establishment’, and is the fixed establishment where you pursue your economic activity for an indefinite period of time. See paragraph (19) of the recitals to the Directive for further guidance.

  1. Check for new legal requirements

If you are established in the UK, you should check for any legal requirements in any EEA countries you operate in. The rules that you may need to start following are those that fall within the Directive’s ‘coordinated field’. This covers legal requirements in individual EEA states which apply to information society services, for example, rules relating to:

  • online information
  • online advertising
  • online shopping
  • online contracting

UK online service providers may also become subject to ‘prior authorisation’ schemes, such as licensing requirements, in EEA countries where they operate.

The Directive does not cover:

  • tax
  • questions about agreements or practices governed by cartel law
  • certain gambling activities
  • personal data covered by the GDPR and e-Privacy Directive
  • legal requirements relating to goods such as safety standards, labelling obligations or liability for goods
  • requirements relating to delivering or transporting goods.
  1. More steps you can take to prepare for changes

We also recommend that you:

  • ensure that you have processes in place for ongoing compliance if individual EEA states change their requirements governing online activities
  • consider legal or other professional advice

Other provisions in the eCommerce Directive

The eCommerce Directive also contains provisions relating to intermediary liability and prohibitions against imposing general monitoring obligations.

The Government has no current plans to change the UK’s intermediary liability regime or its approach to prohibition on general monitoring requirements.

During the transition period

The eCommerce Directive will continue to apply to the UK for the duration of the transition period, ending on 31 December 2020.

BREXIT update: DCMS guidance for business after the end of the transition period

The DCMS website has a dedicated section for DCMS sectors after 1 January 2021. The general link  to the guidance is set out below.

Guidance for DCMS sectors during the transition period and after 1 January 2021

Video- on demand and broadcasting

Broadcasting and video on-demand from 1 January 2021

Ofcom Guidance on Video sharing Platform regulation from 1 November 2020

Regulating video-sharing platforms: a guide to the new requirements on VSPs and Ofcom’s approach to regulation (PDF, 237.9 KB):

Ofcom has published this  guide to the new regulatory requirements for UK-based VSPs which come into force on 1 November 2020. Under the new regulations, VSPs must have appropriate measures in place to protect children from potentially harmful content and all users from criminal content, and incitement to hatred and violence. VSPs will also need to ensure standards around advertising are met. 

Data Protection- DCMS

Using personal data in your business or other organisation after the transition period  DCMS 16 October 2020 Guidance

More detailed information can be found in the BREXIT and end of transition period section of the the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) website.

11 of the 12 third countries deemed adequate by the EU have currently informed the UK they will maintain unrestricted personal data flows with the UK. Further information can be found on the ICO’s website.

International data transfers from the UK to other jurisdictions, information can be found here on the ICO’s website.