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 if using Union and common transit it right for you.

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

Check if you need to complete an export declaration

You’ll need to submit a UK export declaration before completing your transit declaration if your goods are:

  • going to an office of destination in a common or TIR country outside the EU
  • being exported outside the EU once your transit movement has ended

After you have submitted your export declaration you will need to complete a transit declaration.

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

You’ll need to know what status your goods have under transit.

Your goods are T1 status if they are non-union goods, or do not meet the criteria for T2 or T2F status.

Your goods are T2 status if they are union goods going to:

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

Your goods are T2F status if they are union goods and they are going to EU special territories.

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
  • the office of destination or authorised consignee (your own or an agent’s premises) where your movement will end
  • all offices of transit your goods will pass through (based on the route your goods are taking)

Find the reference numbers 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 needed to submit one
    • from the previous declaration for the goods – if you have one

If you do not need to submit an export declaration and your goods are moving through a common transit country (apart from just Norway or Switzerland), you will either need to include safety and security data on your transit declaration or you must submit an exit summary declaration.

Submitting your transit declaration

When you have submitted your transit declaration, the system will give you a movement reference number (also known as master reference number) for the transit movement which you should keep a copy of.

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.

Start moving your goods

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 Transit Accompanying Document 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. 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.

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’re moving to

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.

Your guarantee will be released when customs end the transit movement.

Get more information

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

From 1 January 2021

For movements starting in Great Britain

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 United Kingdom
  • 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.

Complete your transit declaration

Work out the status of your goods under transit

All movements starting in Great Britain will have T1 status.

Filling in your transit declaration

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 a Northern Ireland office of transit 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. But you do not need to include an office of transit for when the goods leave the EU and enter Northern Ireland.

Submitting your transit declaration

For common and union transit movements you must submit your transit declaration into the GB NCTS system. TIR movements will no longer needed to be declared into NCTS for movements within Great Britain.

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

From 1 January 2021 the UK’s safety and security requirements are changing. Providing safety and security information on your transit declaration will no longer meet your safety and security requirements in Great Britain so all transit movements which require safety and security data will need to submit an exit summary declaration.

Starting your transit movement

If you are starting your transit movement from an office of departure, then you might be asked to go to an inland government site to start your transit movement or to complete other customs processes.

Find out the UK locations of Common Transit UK offices, including Offices of Transit, Destination and Departure.

For 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
  • going to an office of destination 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.

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. But 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.

From 1 January 2021 the UK’s safety and security requirements are changing. Providing safety and security information on your transit declaration will no longer meet your safety and security requirements in Northern Ireland so all transit movements which require safety and security data 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.

Published 12 August 2019
Last updated 29 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Information about the office of departure process in Northern Ireland for starting your transit movement from 1 January 2021 has been added.

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

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

  4. First published.