Guidance

Check if you can use transit to move goods to the EU and common transit countries

Use common and Union transit when exporting or taking goods out of the UK to move them quickly and delay duty until they reach their destination.

Common transit is a customs procedure that allows the movement of goods to, from, through or between the countries that have signed the Common Transit Convention without the need to:

  • complete customs declarations until they end their transit movement
  • pay customs duties and other charges on the goods until they end their transit movement

This includes movements to, from, through or between all EU member states.

Union transit is a customs procedure that allows goods not in free circulation, to move within the EU, while customs duties or other charges are suspended. It also allows goods that are in free circulation to move from a point of departure in the EU, to point of destination in the EU, through the territory of a third country.

Transit can help you move your goods from the UK to EU and other common transit countries more quickly and without paying import duties in those or countries or UK duties where those duties have already been suspended, because:

  • customs declarations and duties are not required at each border crossing
  • you can complete some customs processes away from the border at either:
    • an office of departure or destination
    • your own premises if you are an authorised consignor or consignee

Goods you can move using transit

Goods under duty suspense

Duty could be suspended on goods that have been either made:

  • outside the UK
  • in the UK but used materials from outside UK

Goods under duty suspense must be stored under customs supervision until either the duties are paid or the goods are moved out of the UK using transit. You can store your goods in:

Until the end of the transition period, any goods made in the EU using materials from inside the EU, do not need to be held under duty suspense.

Union goods

Union goods are goods that are already in free circulation within the EU. Your goods will be union goods if they are made:

  • in the EU from EU materials
  • in the EU from materials from outside the EU, but you’ve paid EU duties on them
  • outside the EU but you have paid EU duties on them

Until the end of the transition period goods which are made in the UK, or have UK duties paid on them, will be treated as union goods.

Non-union goods

Anything that is not a union good is classified as a non-union good.

Where you can move goods using common or Union transit

You can use common or Union transit to move your goods by air, rail, road or sea to, or through:

You can also use Union transit to move union goods to:

  • San Marino
  • Andorra (industrial goods only)

If your goods are classified as non-union and you want to take them to Andorra or San Marino, you must end your transit movement in an EU member state before they enter Andorra or San Marino.

What you need to do next

Find out what you need to get your business ready to send goods from the UK using common and Union transit.

Get more information

The transit manual and transit manual supplement have more information on common and Union transit.

Where you move goods using Transport Internationaux Routiers (TIR)

If your goods are going by road to, or through, a country that is not covered by common and Union transit you may be able to use TIR to move your goods.

You can use TIR to send goods by road to or through countries covered by the TIR convention.

Get more information

The transit manual and transit manual supplement have more information on TIR.

Other ways you can move goods from the UK under duty suspense

You may be able to move goods on which duty has not been paid between the UK and EU countries:

You may be able to move union goods between the UK and countries outside the UK and EU if they are temporarily leaving the UK and EU for processing or repair under outward processing.

From 1 January 2021

Where you can move goods using common or Union transit

The UK is a common transit country. You can therefore use transit to move goods from, between or through Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the other common transit countries including the EU.

Where you can move goods using TIR

The UK is covered by the TIR convention. You can use transit to move goods from, between or through Great Britain and Northern Ireland and other countries covered by the TIR convention.

Other ways you can move goods under duty suspense

You will not be able to use outward processing when moving goods from Great Britain.

You may be able to move union goods between Northern Ireland and countries outside the EU if they are temporarily leaving Northern Ireland and the EU for processing or repair under outward processing.

Goods you can move using transit

Goods under duty suspense

Duty could be suspended on goods in Great Britain which either have:

  • not been made in the Great Britain
  • been made in the Great Britain but used materials from outside Great Britain

Duty could be suspended on goods in Northern Ireland which have:

  • not been made in the EU or Northern Ireland
  • have been made in the EU or Northern Ireland but used materials from outside the EU or Northern Ireland

Union goods

Goods made in the EU, or goods with EU duties paid, will be union goods. Goods made in Northern Ireland will be classed as union goods for customs and transit purposes.

Non-union goods

Goods made outside the EU and Northern Ireland, including goods made in Great Britain, or with UK duties paid, will be non-union goods.

Published 30 June 2020
Last updated 31 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. This page has been updated because the Brexit transition period has ended.

  2. This guidance has been updated to explain what you need to do if you are using transit from 1 January 2021.

  3. First published.