Guidance

Taking humanitarian aid out of Great Britain to support Ukraine

Check if you can send goods for humanitarian aid purposes using a simplified customs process.

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales

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If you are taking goods out of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) destined for the victims of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, you may be able to use a temporary process to get goods through customs without delay.

If you are taking goods to the EU from Northern Ireland through Great Britain, with some limited exceptions, you will only need to make a declaration when crossing between Great Britain and the EU.

The government strongly recommends (whenever possible) you give financial aid through the Disasters and Emergencies Committee Appeal and other trusted charities and humanitarian aid organisations, rather than sending or driving donated goods directly to the region.

If you want to donate goods rather than financial aid, the government recommends you donate these to registered charities which are experienced in these movements.

If you want to donate aid directly to the region, you must check the rules for the country you are taking the aid to and travelling through. You can contact the export support team for help.

Check if you can use a simplified customs process

Your goods must be destined for the victims of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The goods must not be destined for, or travel through, Russia or Belarus.

Only certain goods can be taken out of Great Britain using this simplified process. This may include goods such as clothes, blankets and sanitary products, but other goods may qualify.

Goods you cannot take out of Great Britain using the simplified process

If your goods fall under any of the following exclusions you must remove them before travelling:

Dual use goods can be put to military or civilian purpose, and include (but are not limited to):

  • protective equipment (for example, equipment which provides chemical, nuclear or biological protection)
  • chemicals (for example, any chemical on the Chemical Weapons Convention list)
  • high specification telecommunications equipment employing cryptography

How to move goods in your baggage or a small vehicle

A small vehicle is a vehicle that can carry up to a maximum of 9 people and weighs 3.5 tonnes or less.

You can declare your goods in one of two ways.

  1. Check before setting off if the port or airport has the facilities available to offer oral declarations. If they do, you can declare the goods by speaking to a Border Force officer at the ‘goods to declare’ channel or the red point phone in the customs area at the port or airport.
  2. If there are no facilities available to make an oral declaration, you can declare the goods by taking one of the following actions:
    • walking through a customs control point (this can be a green channel signed ‘nothing to declare’) with the goods, if you are on foot
    • driving (or being driven) past a customs control point with the goods inside your vehicle
    • simply driving through the port if there are no customs control points

You or the person transporting the goods:

  • should carry a note of the types of goods
  • try to pack goods in groupings of similar items before travelling
  • may be asked to confirm:
    • what the goods are
    • your contact details (or the contact details of the organisation or charity you are moving the goods on behalf of)
    • the final destination of the goods

But unlike other goods movements, you will not need to supply any customs documentation or get an EORI number to move goods in this way.

How to move goods as freight in a larger vehicle

A large vehicle is a vehicle that can carry more than 9 people and weighs more than 3.5 tonnes (for example, a heavy goods vehicle (HGV)).

Taking goods through locations using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service

If you are taking the goods through a location using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service, you will need to:

  1. Get an EORI number starting with GB.
  2. Register for the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.
  3. Try to pack goods in groupings of similar items before travelling.
  4. Get a ‘declaration by conduct’ goods movement reference using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service by selecting the ‘oral or by conduct declarations’ option.
  5. Carry a note of the types of goods.
  6. Present your goods movement reference at the port for check-in so you can board.

Taking goods through other ports and airports

If the port or airport you are travelling through do not use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service, you must check with your shipping line or airline about what steps you need to follow before moving your goods.

If you need further help

You can contact the export support team.

Published 10 March 2022
Last updated 22 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added Ukrainian and Polish translation.

  2. The section 'check if you can use a simplified customs process' has been updated to confirm that before you travel you must remove any human medicines (where you do not have a licence to distribute).

  3. You should not take medicines out of Great Britain using simplified processes if you do not have a licence to distribute them.

  4. First published.