Search
  • Culture Commons

Briefing: Exporting objects of cultural interest from Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Earlier today, the Government published new guidance on the exporting of objects of cultural interest from Northern Ireland from 1st January 2021; the rules will now differ from those for Great Britain when the United Kingdom leaves the "transition period".


Some exports of objects of cultural interest from Northern Ireland will continue to require an EU export licence.


The licensing requirements for exports of objects of cultural interest from Northern Ireland to different destinations are set out below:


Exports from Northern Ireland to EU Member States will require a UK export licence.


Exports from Northern Ireland directly to non-EU countries will require an EU export licence.


Exports from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will not require an export licence issued by the UK. This includes objects from Northern Ireland which are being exported to a non-UK destination through a port or airport in Great Britain, which will require only a UK export licence for their final export from the UK.


Exports from EU Member States which are in transit through Northern Ireland, which have not been definitively despatched from the EU or which have not entered into free circulation in Northern Ireland, may require an EU export licence issued by the relevant EU Member State to permit them to be exported to Great Britain.


EU and UK export licences for exports of objects of cultural interest from Northern Ireland will continue to be issued by the Export Licensing Unit at ACE.


Information and guidance on export licences for objects of cultural interest is available on ACE’s website.


Importing objects of cultural interest from the EU into the UK or a country outside the EU now and from 1 January 2021


There are no licensing requirements for importing objects of cultural interest into the UK.

However, if you are importing items from the EU to the UK or another country outside the EU you’ll need to comply with the EU and individual EU countries’ export licensing regimes.


The licensing authorities in the country of export will be able to advise you on what you need to do. If you hold an EU licence issued by the UK authority before 1 January 2021, you will not be able to use it to authorise exports from EU Member States to destinations outside the EU after the end of the transition period. In this case, you should also seek advice from the licensing authority in the relevant EU Member State in order to ensure uninterrupted compliance with the EU and individual EU countries’ licensing regimes.

If you are in any doubt as to whether you require an export licence or which export licence you require, we strongly advise you to contact Arts Council England at: enquiries@artscouncil.org.uk


If you feel the guidance you receive from the Government or the Arts Council England is unclear, please get in touch with Culture Commons by emailing trevor@culturecommons.uk