Guidance

Moving your goods to common or EU transit countries

Check how to prepare your goods, complete the different declarations and plan your route if using common or Union transit.

Check what steps you need to take before moving your goods

  1. Check whether using common and Union transit is right for you.

  2. Get your business ready for using common and Union transit.

  3. Consider becoming an authorised consignor so you can start movements directly from your own premises.

  4. Plan your route.

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 Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) to move your goods. You can use TIR to send goods by road to or through countries covered by the TIR convention. Find out more on the European Commission website.

Movements starting in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland)

Check if you need to complete an export declaration

You will need to submit an export declaration before completing your transit declaration if your goods are both:

  • going to an office of destination anywhere outside of the UK
  • not under duty suspense when they start their transit journey in Great Britain

You will not need to submit an export declaration if your goods are ending their movement in Northern Ireland.

If you do not need to submit an export declaration you must submit an exit summary declaration, unless your goods are moving directly into Northern Ireland.

Complete your transit declaration

Before you can start your transit movement, you must complete a transit declaration on the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS).

If you are moving multiple items together you may be able to move these together as a single transit movement under one declaration.

To make your declaration you will need to know the status of your goods and to plan your route.

Work out the status of your goods under transit

Movements of goods starting in Great Britain will almost always have T1 status, and should be declared as such on the transit document.

The only exception is for T2 goods which have arrived in Great Britain under duty suspense, and have remained under customs control. These goods may retain their T2 (or Union goods) status and be re-exported to Northern Ireland or the EU as T2 goods.

Movements of goods starting in Northern Ireland will be treated as T2 goods if they are in free circulation, or T1 goods if they not in free circulation.

Goods that are in free circulation moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain may also have the status of domestic goods in the UK. This status can be shown by entering TGB in box 44 of the transit declaration. This status applies in addition to the T1 or T2 status of the goods, it does not replace it.

Filling in your transit declaration

To fill in the transit declaration, you’ll need the reference numbers for:

  • the office of departure or authorised consignor (your own or an agent’s premises) where your movement will start – this must be in the customs territory the goods are being exported from
  • the office of destination or authorised consignee (your own or an agent’s premises) where your movement will end – this must be in the customs territory the goods are being imported to
  • all offices of transit your goods will pass through (based on the route your goods are taking) – you must include an office of transit for each customs area your goods will enter

For example:

  • if you are moving goods from Great Britain to the EU then you must include an office of transit for entry into the EU
  • if you are moving goods directly from Great Britain to Northern Ireland you must include an office of transit in Northern Ireland on your declaration

If you are moving your goods indirectly from Great Britain to Northern Ireland through the EU, then you must include an EU office of transit for when your goods leave Great Britain and enter the EU. You do not need to include an office of transit in Northern Ireland when the goods enter Northern Ireland from the EU.

Find the reference number for offices of departure, transit and destination.

If you are using an authorised consignor or consignee they will give you the reference number.

You’ll also need:

  • your Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
  • the status of your goods
  • your local reference number (a unique number less than 22 characters that you create yourself)
  • your guarantee reference number
  • estimated time it will take to for your goods to reach the office of destination, this can be no more than 14 days
  • the master reference number from either:

    • your UK export declaration – if you need to submit one
    • from the previous declaration for the goods – if you have one

Submitting your transit declaration

You must submit your declaration onto the GB NCTS system. The system will give you movement reference number (also known as master reference number) for the transit movement. You must keep a copy of this.

If you are an authorised consignor and are able to print barcodes, then you will need to print off the Transit Accompanying Document (TAD) when you start the movement.

If you are not an authorised consignor, or cannot print barcodes yourself, then the office of departure will print it for you.

If you are moving goods using a TIR then you must apply for a TIR Carnet from the IRU. TIR movements can no longer be declared into NCTS for movements within Great Britain.

You can read Community, Common Transit and TIR: newsletters for updates and changes to NCTS.

Starting your transit movement

You can start moving your goods under transit from:

If you are starting your transit movement at the premises of an authorised consignor, then the consignor can start the movement and issue the TAD and movement reference number.

If you are starting the transit movement at an office of departure, you must present your goods to the office specified on your transit declaration, along with your local reference number to the office of departure so they can locate your declaration. You might be asked to go to an inland border facility to start your transit movement or to complete other customs processes. The office of departure will then start the movement and issue the TAD and movement reference number.

If you are moving goods using TIR then you must start your movement at a government office of departure.

If you are travelling through Kent then you will also need a Kent Access Permit (KAP).

Find out the UK locations of Common Transit UK offices, including offices of transit, destination and departure.

Movements starting in Northern Ireland

Check if you need to complete an export declaration

You will need to submit an export declaration before completing your transit declaration if your goods are duty paid when they enter transit and are either going to an office of destination:

  • anywhere outside of the EU
  • in the EU but being exported outside of the EU once your transit movement has ended

This includes goods that are being moved from Northern Ireland to Great Britain if you choose to move them using transit.

If you choose not to use transit, and instead you move your goods directly from Northern Ireland to Great Britain under normal procedures, you will not need to submit an export declaration.

If you are moving goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and need to submit an export declaration, check if the Trader Support Service can help you with this.

Complete your transit declaration

Work out the status of your goods under transit

Union goods that are put into transit in Northern Ireland are T2 status if they are union goods going to:

  • an EU member state
  • San Marino or Andorra (industrial goods only)

Goods are T2F status if they are union goods put into transit in Northern Ireland and they are going to EU special territories.

All other movements will have T1 status.

Filling in your transit declaration

Moving goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain

If you are moving your goods directly from Northern Ireland to Great Britain, you must include a Great Britain office of transit on your declaration.

If you are moving your goods indirectly from Northern Ireland to Great Britain through the EU, then you do not need to include an office of transit for when your goods leave Northern Ireland and enter the EU. You must include an office of transit in Great Britain for when the goods leave the EU and enter Great Britain.

Moving goods from Northern Ireland to the EU

If you are moving goods directly from Northern Ireland to the EU then you do not need to enter an office of transit for entry into the EU from Northern Ireland.

If you are moving your goods indirectly from Northern Ireland to the EU through Great Britain, then you must include an office of transit in Great Britain for when your goods enter Great Britain from Northern Ireland. You must also enter another office of transit in the EU for when the goods leave Great Britain and enter the EU.

Submitting your transit declaration when your movement starts

You must submit your transit declaration into the XI NCTS system. You can do this using either:

You can read Community, Common Transit and TIR: newsletters for updates and changes to NCTS.

All transit movements which require safety and security data in Northern Ireland will need to submit an exit summary declaration.

Starting your transit movement

If you are starting a transit movement in Northern Ireland and are not doing so from an authorised consignor (your own or an agent’s premises) then you must start the movement at an office of departure.

Find out more about the office of departure process in Northern Ireland.

Transit accompanying document (TAD)

The TAD, will be issued by the office of departure or authorised consignor when the transit movement is started. It will show a barcode and the movement reference number that will match your transit declaration. It must accompany your goods under transit from the point they start their journey until the transit journey is ended together with any licences needed.

If your goods are going through an office of transit

You must tell the haulier to present your goods with all accompanying documents to each office of transit listed on the transit declaration.

There may be occasions when your haulier diverts from the intended route. In most cases, if your haulier diverts to different office of transit, the office of transit will still be able to process the movement and allow entry. However, if you set a prescribed itinerary restriction on the original declaration, then the alternative office of transit may refuse to allow the movement to cross the frontier and direct it back to the declared office of transit or destination.

If you are moving goods using TIR then you must present your TIR Carnet to customs offices on both entry and exit of each customs area. This means that your TIR Carnet must be stamped by customs officials on both sides of the border.

When your goods reach the country they are moving to

Presentation of your goods at an office of transit must be carried out at the first arrival entry point into a new customs territory. If this is also the country where your goods will end their transit journey, then presentation at an office of transit must take place before they can proceed to an office of destination or premises of an authorised consignee.

The haulier must present your goods with all accompanying documents, at either:

Even if your goods have been presented to an office of transit at the border in the country of destination, the haulier must still go to an office of destination or premises of an authorised consignee to end the transit movement.

Discharging the transit movement

Your guarantee will be released when your transit movement is discharged. This will only take place once customs at your destination are satisfied that all goods have arrived, and all transit requirements have been met.

If the transit movement is not ended correctly at an office of destination or at the premises of an authorised consignee then the transit movement will not be discharged. This will delay the release of your guarantee and could result in payment of fines or additional duties.

Get more information

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

Find out the UK locations of Common Transit UK offices, including offices of transit, destination and departure.

Find out which ports are using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

More information on TIR can also be found in the TIR Handbook.

Published 12 August 2019
Last updated 28 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Information about 'Movements starting in Great Britain' and 'Movements starting in Northern Ireland' has been updated.

  2. Information about the office of departure process in Northern Ireland for starting your transit movement from 1 January 2021 has been added.

  3. Clarification has been provided about checking if you need to complete an export declaration for movements starting in Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.

  4. Additional guidance added on what information you need to complete your transit declaration.

  5. First published.