From 28 December 2009, the Services Directive removed many barriers to service sector businesses established in a Member State, making it easier to provide services throughout the EU.
The Provision of Services Regulations 2009 is the main Statutory Instrument which implemented the EU Services Directive into UK law.
The Services Directive required EU Member States to simplify procedures and formalities that service providers needed to comply with to facilitate setting up a business and the cross-border provision of services.
They were obliged to set up online portals, called Points of Single Contact (PSC) so businesses could research information, and apply and pay for any authorisations, electronically and remotely.
Foreign businesses can find information on the provision of services in the UK and apply for licences at Business Link:
Business Link provides tailored advice and information for businesses in the UK; it includes an international trade in services section.
Invest Northern Ireland operates a Business Link service, NI Business Info, which also offers an international trade in services section.
In Scotland, business support, information and advice is provided by Scottish Enterprise's Business Gateway.