Guidance

Get a goods movement reference

Use this service to get a reference after registering with the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

Use this service to get a goods movement reference after registering with the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

What you’ll need

This table will confirm what is required to get a goods movement reference.

Goods from the EU to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales ) (Common Transit Convention movements only until January 2022) Goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland Goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain
A vehicle registration number if your movement is accompanied Yes Yes Yes
The trailer number or container reference number if your movement is unaccompanied Yes Yes Yes
Transit Accompanying Document movement reference number for Common Transit Convention movements if relevant Yes Yes Yes
Reference numbers for ATA and TIR Carnet movements if relevant No Yes Yes
Paper Transit Accompanying Document or the ATA or TIR carnets, for common transit, ATA or TIR Carnet movements — these must travel with the goods throughout the journey Yes Yes Yes
An imports movement reference number declared into the Customs Declaration Service No Yes No
An EORI number, for goods where the trader is authorised to make declarations in their own records No Yes No
A combined customs and safety and security export declaration — Unique Consignment Reference (DUCR) declared into the Customs Declaration Service in limited circumstances No No Yes
An Export Accompanying Document for an indirect export to Great Britain declared in the Republic of Ireland No No Yes
Safety and security import ENS movement reference number No Yes No
Safety and security export EXS movement reference number No No Yes (empty pallets, containers and vehicles being moved under a transport contract, only when moved under transit)

These rules will change on 1 January 2022.

Declaring 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

If you’re moving an empty trailer or any other commercial goods that can be declared orally or by conduct from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, you’ll need to get a goods movement reference. You can do this by selecting the ‘oral or by conduct declarations’ 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).

If you’re moving your personal goods yourself or commercial goods in your own accompanied baggage, you’ll not need a goods movement reference.

Find out what to do when moving personal goods or commercial goods in this way from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

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.

Published 23 December 2020
Last updated 26 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. Definition of ‘declaration by conduct’ added.

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

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

  4. Welsh translation added.

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

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

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

  8. First published.