Guidance

Get a goods movement reference

Use this service to get a goods movement reference so you can move goods through locations which use the goods vehicle movement service.

Use this service to get a goods movement reference after registering with the goods vehicle movement service.

You’ll not need to get a goods movement reference if either:

What you’ll need

You need to check what is required to get a goods movement reference. You must enter a reference for all goods contained in a vehicle, trailer or container.

Goods from the EU (not including Ireland) to Great Britain

You will need:

  • a vehicle registration number if your movement is accompanied
  • the trailer number or container reference number if your movement is unaccompanied
  • transit accompanying document (TAD) movement reference number for Common Transit Convention movements if relevant
  • reference numbers for ATA Carnet and Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) Carnet movements if relevant
  • paper TAD or the ATA or TIR carnets, for common transit, ATA or TIR Carnet movements — these must travel with the goods throughout the journey
  • an imports movement reference number if declared into the Customs Declaration Service
  • an imports entry reference number if declared into the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF)
  • an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI), for goods where the trader is authorised to make declarations in their own records

You can choose to include the safety and security import entry summary declaration movement reference number, but it is not mandatory.

Goods from Ireland to Great Britain

You will need:

  • a vehicle registration number if your movement is accompanied
  • the trailer number or container reference number if your movement is unaccompanied
  • TAD movement reference number for Common Transit Convention movements if relevant
  • paper TAD or the ATA or TIR carnets, for common transit, ATA or TIR Carnet movements — these must travel with the goods throughout the journey

You can choose to include the safety and security import entry summary declaration movement reference number, but it is not mandatory.

Goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland

You will need:

  • a vehicle registration number if your movement is accompanied
  • the trailer number or container reference number if your movement is unaccompanied
  • TAD movement reference number for Common Transit Convention movements if relevant
  • reference numbers for ATA and TIR Carnet movements if relevant
  • paper TAD or the ATA or TIR carnets, for common transit, ATA or TIR Carnet movements — these must travel with the goods throughout the journey
  • an imports movement reference number if declared into the Customs Declaration Service
  • an EORI number, for goods where the trader is authorised to make declarations in their own records
  • safety and security import entry summary declaration movement reference number

Goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain

You will need:

  • a vehicle registration number if your movement is accompanied
  • the trailer number or container reference number if your movement is unaccompanied
  • TAD movement reference number for Common Transit Convention movements if relevant
  • reference numbers for ATA and TIR Carnet movements if relevant
  • paper TAD or the ATA or TIR carnets, for common transit, ATA or TIR Carnet movements — these must travel with the goods throughout the journey
  • a combined customs and safety and security export declaration — Declaration Unique Consignment Reference (DUCR) declared into the Customs Declaration Service — in some circumstances
  • an Export Accompanying Document for an indirect export from Northern Ireland to Great Britain declared in Ireland
  • safety and security export summary declaration movement reference number for goods moving under transit using either a TAD, Transit Security Accompanying Document (TSAD) or TIR carnet

Goods from Great Britain to the EU

You will need:

  • a vehicle registration number if your movement is accompanied
  • the trailer number or container reference number if your movement is unaccompanied
  • a goods movement reference with all the export declaration references, or you can choose to present a Master Unique Consignment Reference (MUCR) in writing at an office of departure, for Common Transit Convention movements
  • reference numbers for ATA and TIR Carnet movements if relevant
  • paper TAD or the ATA or TIR carnets, for common transit, ATA or TIR Carnet movements — these must travel with the goods throughout the journey
  • a combined customs and safety and security export declaration — DUCR declared into the Customs Declaration Service (except if the goods are being exported using transit through an arrived exports location)
  • a combined customs and safety and security export declaration — DUCR declared into CHIEF (except if the goods are being exported using transit through an arrived exports location)
  • safety and security export summary declaration movement reference number (only for empty pallets, containers and vehicles being moved under a transport contract, or for goods moving under transit using either a TAD, TSAD or TIR carnet)

What references your goods movement reference will need to include for goods sent from Great Britain to the EU

When you present a goods movement reference at an ‘arrived export’ location using the goods vehicle movement service, the goods movement reference should include:

  • the DUCR, for any goods being exported that are not also declared to the transit procedure
  • all the DUCRs for Common Transit Convention movements - you could also present a MUCR in writing for these movements
  • the DUCR, for any goods declared to the transit procedure that are covered by an Excise Movement Control System guarantee

When you present a goods movement reference at other locations as part of a pre-lodged export declaration using the goods vehicle movement service, the goods movement reference should include the DUCR.

For excise goods, declarations submitted using the Customs Declaration Service must not use the TRANS code. The declaration should be completed by presenting the DUCR when the goods leave the UK.

For excise goods leaving goods vehicle movement service locations, the Declaration Unique Consignment Reference must be entered into a goods movement reference.

If you are a Customs Supervised Export (CSE) trader, you should use the customs declaration completion requirements for Great Britain to find out how to obtain a goods movement reference.

Getting a goods movement reference without needing to include declaration reference information

There are circumstances when you can get a goods movement reference without needing to include any declaration references.

When you declare goods orally or by conduct

You can declare certain goods orally or by conduct at the border. ‘By conduct’ means that when you arrive at a point of exit or entry for Great Britain, you can make a ‘declaration by conduct’ by:

  • walking through a customs control point (this can be a green channel signed ‘nothing to declare’) with the goods, if you’re an individual on foot
  • driving (or being driven) past a customs control point with the goods inside your vehicle, if you’re importing or exporting goods in a vehicle
  • continuing your onward journey, if there are no customs control points

You’ll need to get a goods movement reference if you’re moving an empty trailer or any other commercial goods that can be declared orally or by conduct for either:

  • goods moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland
  • goods moved from the EU (not including Ireland) to Great Britain
  • goods moved from Great Britain to the EU

You can do this by selecting either the ‘oral or by conduct declarations’ or ‘empty’ option within the goods vehicle movement service.

In some cases, you may need to complete a safety and security declaration, where you must indicate if your goods are moving under contract of carriage (the service will provide more information on how to do this).

Not every port will accept declaring goods orally or by conduct. You should check with your carrier before moving the goods.

When you declare some postal items

If you’re a designated postal operator or an Extra-Territorial Office of Exchange, you can get a goods movement reference without needing to include declaration reference information for some items.

This applies to goods moving under Universal Postal Union rules with CN37, CN38 and CN41 movement documents, and CN22 and CN23 item declaration forms.

Get a goods movement reference

You’ll need the Government Gateway user ID and password you used when you registered for the goods vehicle movement service.

Start now

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What happens next

You need to present the goods movement reference at the port you’re leaving from. Contact the carrier at the port to find out how to do this.

The carrier will allow you to embark if the goods movement reference is valid.

You must follow instructions on whether you need to get your goods checked by customs on arrival or if you’re able to continue your journey.

Bringing goods into the UK

You should use your goods movement reference number in the ‘check if you need to report for an inspection’ service to understand if your goods are held. If you’re arriving into the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel, you’ll need to attend an Inland Border Facility to have these checks carried out. For all other goods vehicle movement service locations, you must proceed to the inspection facility within or near the port if your goods are held.

In some cases you may also be stopped by Border Force officers within the port to have checks performed on your vehicle or load.

If this happens, you must still attend an inland border facility to complete customs functions if you have received instructions to do so.

The goods must be taken to an inland border facility directly and the goods must be in the same condition as they were at the time of importation.

You may be liable to a penalty of up to £2,500 if you fail to follow HMRC instructions.

Taking goods out of the UK

Check which locations need an arrived export declaration.

Published 23 December 2020
Last updated 1 August 2022 + show all updates
  1. For Common Transit Convention movements of goods from Great Britain to the EU, you will need a goods movement reference with all the export declaration references, or you can choose to present a Master Unique Consignment Reference in writing at an office of departure.

  2. Guidance about when you declare goods orally or by conduct has been updated.

  3. The requirements to get a goods movement reference from 1 January 2022 have been updated. This is because of changes to the goods vehicle movement service and the decision to temporarily extend staged customs controls for goods moving from Ireland and Northern Ireland (where applicable) to Great Britain.

  4. From 1 January 2022, haulier's will need to check if they need to report for an inspection if they are arriving a the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel or Holyhead. Guidance on how to do this has been added. Guidance has also been added about what you'll need to include from 1 January 2022 when you present a goods movement reference at an ‘arrived export’ location using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service, and when you present a goods movement reference at other locations as part of a pre-lodged export declaration using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

  5. Definition of ‘declaration by conduct’ added.

  6. More information about what you’ll need to get your goods movement reference has been added.

  7. Information about what you'll need to get a goods movement reference has been updated.

  8. Welsh translation added.

  9. Information about what you'll need to get a goods movement reference has been updated.

  10. Information added about declaring goods orally or by conduct.

  11. Information has been added about needing a goods movement reference if you are moving an empty trailer.

  12. First published.