Exporting Food & Drink License Requirements


I have recently been on the bootcamp webinars which were extremely helpful. I do however need some assistance on whether I need a export licence to sell food and non alcoholic drinks to expats around the world. I am looking to set up a business and will be selling pre made food and drink (non perishable items) from confectionery, baby milk to canned food and fizzy & soft drinks (I am not a manufacturer). I am mainly targeting Asia and USA as well as EU (for EU I know no licence is required). However these items are from a business to an individual for personal consumption. Does this require a licence?

Also as I will be paying VAT on these products will it be possible to claim any VAT back on these foods items? These are individuals who will not be VAT registered.

I would be grateful for any guidance given.

Many thanks

Malti Patel ([email protected])


Hi Malti

Thank you for your question & glad to hear you found Export Bootcamp helpful!

You may wish to take a look at our food & drink page which contains a wealth of information on exporting food & drink including infographics, case studies, articles, events & previously answered questions:


Good luck with your new business.

Kind regards


nformation on the Customs requirements for exporting is given in HMRC Public Notice 275. All notices can be found on our website www.hmrc.gov.uk under Quick Links > Library > Official Statistics – Publications – Notices, Info Sheets & Other Reference Materials > Import, Export & International Trade. The Public Notices are in numerical order.

Further detailed information regarding exporting goods outside the EU can be found on our website by using the following link:


You may find the Export Best Practice Guide particularly helpful.

I would also suggest that you may like to contact D.E.F.R.A. (Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs). They can be contacted by telephone on 08459 335577 or by email at [email protected]

HM Revenue & Customs
Customs International Trade & Excise

Export Action Plan