Guidance

Transporting goods between Great Britain and the EU by RoRo freight: guidance for hauliers

Guidance for haulage companies and commercial drivers moving accompanied (self-drive) RoRo freight and unaccompanied RoRo freight between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the European Union.

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales

Stay up-to-date

This guidance will be updated with the latest information on GOV.UK as soon as it is available. Sign up for an email alert to be notified when this page is updated.

You can also visit an advice site at a motorway services or truckstop for the latest information.

At haulier advice sites, heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers can:

  • take a free COVID-19 test (not at all sites, check first)
  • find out about the rules and documents needed to move goods between the UK and EU
  • complete a free border readiness check to ensure they have the correct documentation to cross the EU border

Section 1: Introduction and background

This guidance is for hauliers and commercial drivers who move goods or pick up/drop off trailers between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the European Union (EU).

It explains:

  • what documents you need
  • how to follow new rules to manage traffic heading to ports
  • new border control processes

Guidance on moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be published separately.

COVID-19 testing

You may have to test negative for coronavirus (COVID-19) and carry specific forms before you cross the border into certain countries.

Hauliers arriving in England from the EU outside the Common Travel Area (UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), may have to take a COVID-19 test if they are staying for more than 2 days. You may not need to take a test if you will be in England for 2 days or less.

As the situation changes regularly, it is advised that hauliers should check the most up to date COVID-19 requirements prior to attempting any international journey.

This applies to drivers and crews of HGVs and drivers of vans and other light goods vehicles. It applies to both UK-based and non-UK hauliers. Free COVID-19 testing is available for drivers and crew of HGVs, LGVs and vans at many UK haulier advice sites.

Find out about:

Goods: personal allowances

If you are travelling to Great Britain (GB) from outside the UK, there are new rules on goods you can bring in for your own use without having to pay tax or duty.

Find out about bringing personal goods into the UK and to know if you have to make any necessary declarations.

Rules for drivers and personal food and drink

Drivers travelling to and from the EU should be aware of the rules about what personal food, drink and plants they can take with them. These rules apply to items carried on their person, in luggage or in the vehicle.

Drivers cannot take products containing meat or dairy (e.g. a ham and cheese sandwich or coffee with milk) into (now) or out of the EU (from 1 Jan 2022). Almost all plants and plant products, including fruits, vegetables, flowers and seeds, require a phytosanitary certificate before being allowed into the EU.

If drivers have banned items with them, or they are not carrying the necessary certification, they will need to use, consume, or dispose of them at or before the border. Failure to do so may result in them being seized and destroyed with a risk of costs and penalties.

Find out about:

Securing a vehicle when travelling to and from the UK

UK, non-EU and EU haulage companies and their drivers must secure vehicles coming into the UK to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime.

Drivers crossing the UK-EU border should be aware of the potential threats to vehicles and loads and how they can help stop ‘clandestine entrants’. A clandestine entrant is a person who hides in or on a vehicle to avoid going through UK border control.

If a driver does not secure a vehicle, and is found carrying clandestine entrants into the UK and UK controlled zones, the vehicle’s driver, owner or hirer can each be fined up to £2,000 for each person found (also known as a ‘civil penalty’).

The law applies to all arrivals into the UK or UK control zones, including from European ports and via the Eurotunnel.

Keeping vehicles secure

For haulage companies, an effective system includes:

For drivers, an effective system includes:

  • application of security devices (e.g. a padlock, uniquely numbered seals and tilt cord) to secure vehicles after loading
  • checking the security devices and vehicle thoroughly after each stop and before entering the UK
  • recording comprehensive checks on a vehicle security checklist, to show compliance, and have available to present to a Border Force officer

Drivers should follow the 10 step guidance on preventing clandestine entrants, and carry this with them throughout their journey.

If someone hides in a vehicle 

If a driver suspects someone is attempting to enter their vehicle or has entered their vehicle, they should contact local police as soon as it is safe to do so. In the UK call 999 or in the EU call 112 before you enter the port.

Inland border facilities

Inland border facilities (IBFs) are UK government sites where customs and documentary checks can take place away from port locations.

IBFs act as an Office of Departure (for outbound journeys) and as Office of Destination (for inbound journeys).

Checks for the following movements are carried out at IBFs:

  • Common Transit Convention (CTC), also known as Transit
  • ATA Carnet
  • Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) Carnet
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
  • other forms e.g. C108, duplicate lists etc – check with your trader what you need to carry

Stays at an IBF are time limited to 2 hours. You may incur extra charges if you stay longer than 2 hours.

An IBF app is available for smartphones on the Google play store and the App store.

Note: Not all hauliers will need to attend an IBF. For example: if you are starting or ending a CTC movement at the premises of an Authorised Consignor or Authorised Consignee and already have a validated Transit Accompanying Document (TAD), you do not need to attend an IBF.

It is important to note that IBFs are not:

  • truck stops/rest points for drivers – drivers should check the amount of driving time left on their tachographs when entering an IBF to minimise risk for having to find a place (elsewhere) for the mandatory rest breaks while also wanting to attend the IBF
  • places to initiate customs formalities (go elsewhere for those services – there are no customs agents on site)
  • mandatory for every export – if you already have all your paperwork for both sides and Permission to Progress (P2P) from CHIEF then you don’t need to attend an IBF

IBF locations and functions

IBF site Location Functions
Sevington inland border facility
(inbound and outbound)
Mersham,
Ashford
TN25 6GE
sat nav: 51.132138, 0.914994

what3words: corner.coach.sing
Start transit movement (Office of Departure)
End transit movement (Office of Destination)
ATA carnets stamp
CITES
Traffic management

If Sevington IBF is closed, Waterbrook will be made available as a contingency site.
Ebbsfleet
(outbound)
International Way
Ebbsfleet Valley
DA10 1EB
Start Transit movement (Office of Departure)
ATA and TIR carnets stamp
CITES licence check
DEFRA prioritisation (seafood and day old chicks)
Physical checks and inspections
North Weald Airfield
(outbound)
North Weald Airfield
Merlin Way
North Weald
Bassett
Epping
CM16 6GB
Start Transit movement (Office of Departure)
ATA and TIR carnets stamp
Physical checks and inspections
Birmingham Airport
(inbound and outbound)
Birmingham International Airport
BHX Car Park 6
B26 3QY
Start Transit movement (Office of Departure)
End Transit movement (Office of Destination)
ATA and TIR carnets stamp
Physical checks and inspections
Warrington
(inbound and outbound)
Barley Castle Lane
Appleton Thorn
Warrington
WA4 4SR
Start Transit movement (Office of Departure)
End Transit movement (Office of Destination)
ATA and TIR carnets stamp
Physical checks and inspections
Dover Western Docks
(inbound)
Dover Western Docks
Lord Warden Square
Dover
CT17 9DN
End Transit movements (Office of Destination)
ATA and TIR carnets stamp
CITES licence check
Physical checks and inspections
Stop 24
(inbound)
Folkestone Services
Junction 11 M20
Hythe
CT21 4BL
End transit movement (Office of Destination)
ATA and TIR carnets stamp
Physical checks and inspections
Holyhead – Port of Holyhead
(inbound and outbound)
Holyhead Port Office of Transit
CITES checks
Holyhead – RoadKing Truckstop
(inbound and outbound)
RoadKing Truckstop
Parc Cybi
Kingsland
Holyhead
LL65 2YQ
Start Transit movement (Office of Departure)
End Transit movement (Office of Destination)
ATA carnet stamp

Booking is required for these services.
At least 24 hours before you are due to arrive:
- let Border Force know when you expect to arrive
- tell Border Force if you’re transporting live animals

Notify Border Force of your arrival by emailing BFHolyhead@HomeOffice.gov.uk

Get ready before you travel to Holyhead – use an Authorised Consignor/Consignee to start or end your transit movement

Kent traffic management

Congestion may occur if HGV drivers reach the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel without the correct documentation or because of delays for other reasons (e.g. bad weather). The Kent Resilience Forum has plans in place to deal with this. Kent Police will decide when to activate parts of the plans, depending on the level of any congestion.

Note: HGV drivers no longer need a Kent Access Permit (KAP) to enter Kent.

Traffic management arrangements involving the M20 movable barrier may be deployed if required. Signage will direct hauliers as necessary if that occurs.

If travelling through Kent, be aware that there is potential for disruption if there are delays at the border. HGV drivers should plan their journey to ensure that they can take breaks and, in particular, overnight rest periods before entering Kent. This will minimise the risk of reaching drivers’ hours limits.

HGV drivers should ensure they have enough food and water (see bringing personal food into EU countries) in case of delays at the border. HGV drivers can find out about motorway service areas along their route to help plan their journeys.

Traffic management at other ports

The Short Straits routes via Kent are particularly vulnerable to disruption, and this area is the focus of most traffic management plans. Highway Authorities with high volume ports may also have localised traffic management schemes. During normal business these will only be introduced if there is abnormal traffic disruption and hauliers should follow local traffic signs if these are implemented.

Empty trucks and trucks with reusable packaging

If you are carrying packaging, you will need to check with the importer and/or exporter:

  • whether it meets the reusable packaging criteria
  • whether you have the authority to make a declaration by conduct on their behalf on import
  • whether the declaration is for the free circulation procedure or temporary admission
  • check the rules in GB (and the EU) about swap body containers
  • check the rules about machinery mounted on HGVs to facilitate loading and unloading

These items include plastic or metal cages, crates or frames.

At GB entry locations you can make a declaration by conduct for all reusable packaging. The declaration by conduct will generally be by disembarking from a vessel.

At EU entry locations, the haulier should check whether the packaging is EU or GB origin as this will impact which formalities you need to follow.

On export the declaration by conduct will be made by driving across the boundary of a port.

Find out about declaring reusable packaging for GB imports and exports.

Section 2: Driver and haulier requirements, licenses and responsibilities

Drivers: documents, licences and permits

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence

All UK and EU drivers need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) in order to work. Drivers need to carry their Driver CPC qualification card while driving in the EU and UK.

Drivers working for UK operators

Drivers with a current UK Driver CPC working for UK operators do not need to take any additional action regarding qualifications. A UK Driver CPC is valid for drivers of all journeys that UK operators are entitled to undertake, either on the basis of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement or on the basis of ECMT permits.

EU drivers can work for UK operators with a Driver CPC awarded by EU member states. If such drivers wish to have long-term certainty on their ability to work for UK operators, they should exchange their EU Driver CPC for a UK Driver CPC. To do this you’ll need to send your EU Driver CPC card to DVSA if you want to exchange it for a GB Driver CPC card or to the DVA if you live in Northern Ireland.

Find out about exchanging a EU Driver CPC for a UK Driver CPC.

Given the UK is a third country, UK nationals may need a ‘third country driver attestation’ in case they do not meet the conditions set out in Regulation 1072/2009 ‘on common rules for access to the international road haulage market’.

UK drivers working for EU operators

Drivers who hold a UK Driver CPC working or wanting to work for EU businesses should check with the relevant organisation in the country where they live and work to find out what they need to do.

Driving licences and international driving permits

Drivers need the correct category of driving licence for the vehicle they are driving. Drivers can check the driving categories on their licence.

You do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein if you have a photocard driving licence issued in the UK.

You might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have either:

  • a paper driving licence
  • a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

Check if you need an IDP.

IDPs can be purchased over the counter at many UK Post Office branches. An IDP costs £5.50.

Visas, passports and identity cards

UK drivers need at least 6 months on a UK passport to travel to the EU. Drivers can check if they need to renew their passport.

UK drivers can operate in most EU member states without the need for a visa or a work permit, providing they do not spend more than 90 days in the EU within any 180-day period. However, visa and work permit arrangements for undertaking paid work in the EU is a matter for individual member states, and operators should check with the relevant authority of each country in which they plan to undertake work before travelling.

Information about how to get a visa if you need one is on each country’s travel advice page.

Before 1 October 2021, EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals can enter the UK with a passport or national identity card.

From 1 October 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss national identity cards will no longer be accepted as a valid travel document and a passport will be required for entry to the UK. This will not apply to those EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 or otherwise have protected rights under the Citizens’ Rights Agreements. Gibraltar identity cards issued to British citizens and Irish passport cards will also continue to be accepted for travel to the UK. Further details on the new requirements and exceptions will be provided on GOV.UK.

There may be delays when applying for a UK visa as a professional driver.

UK haulier requirements: documents, licences and permits

Access to the EU

UK operators can undertake unlimited journeys to, from and through the EU. Up to 2 additional movements (cross-trade or cabotage) may be undertaken within the EU following a laden journey from the UK, with a maximum of 1 cabotage movement within a 7-day period. It must be within the same EU country where you dropped off your goods brought into the EU.

Both additional movements may be cabotage movements in Ireland for Northern Ireland operators provided they follow a laden journey from Northern Ireland and are performed within a 7-day period.

Own-account operators (operators transporting their own goods) who are carrying goods for a commercial purpose are subject to these cabotage and cross-trade rules when operating in the EU.

Movements that do not count as cabotage/cross-trade:

  • driving an empty trailer from one EU country to another
  • only dropping off goods in the EU that you transported from the UK
  • only picking up goods in EU countries, which can then only be dropped off in the UK, not another EU country

Operator licensing: UK Licence for the Community

UK hauliers undertaking international work need the relevant operator licence.

A copy of the UK Licence for the Community should, in all circumstances, be carried on board all vehicles when working in the EU.

ECMT permits

UK hauliers who wish to undertake up to 3 cross-trade movements (moving goods between 2 countries outside the UK) may do so using a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit.

Find out about the ECMT application process.

Motor insurance Green Card

A Green Card is proof of vehicle insurance when driving abroad. From 2 August 2021, UK drivers do not need to carry a Green Card when driving in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland.

Vehicle registration documents

Drivers need to carry vehicle registration documents when driving abroad. This can be either:

  • the vehicle log book (V5C), if you have one
  • a VE103 to show you’re allowed to use a hired or leased vehicle abroad

GB or UK sticker

Until 28 September 2021, vehicles registered in the UK must display the letters ‘GB’ when driven abroad (excluding Ireland).

From 28 September 2021, vehicles registered in the UK must display the letters ‘UK’ when driven abroad (excluding Ireland).

GB and UK identifiers can either be incorporated in vehicle number plates (along with the Union flag) or as a separate sticker.

GB stickers must be replaced by UK stickers from 28 September 2021.

Drivers do not need a GB or UK sticker to drive in most countries (except Spain, Cyprus and Malta) if their number plate includes a GB or, from 28 September a UK, identifier with the Union flag (i.e. the Union Jack).

Vehicles registered in Great Britain or Northern Ireland do not need to display a GB or UK sticker to drive in Ireland.

Drivers must display a GB or, from 28 September, a UK sticker clearly on the rear of vehicles and trailers if their number plate has any of the following:

  • a European flag symbol
  • a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales
  • numbers and letters only – no flag or identifier

EU haulier requirements: documents, licences and permits

Access to the UK

EU operators can undertake unlimited journeys to, from and through the UK, with up to 2 cabotage movements in the UK, provided they are performed following a laden journey from the EU, and within 7 days of unloading in the UK.

Community Licence

EU operators must be licensed by their own country of establishment and carry a True Certified Copy of the Community Licence at all times.

Driver and vehicle documentation

EU operators doing business to, from or through the UK need to carry proof of motor insurance for their vehicle and trailer. A Green Card or other proof of motor insurance is recognised in the UK. However, green cards are not mandatory for EU drivers in the UK.

Cross-border responsibilities when moving goods

Trader

It is the trader’s responsibility to make customs declarations and provide the haulage company and driver with the correct documents. This can be done directly or via a third party, for example a freight forwarder, logistics company or customs agent.

Haulage company

The haulage company must ensure their operations have access to IT systems such as Good Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) and GB safety and security (S&S GB) – this can be done by registration and will require the haulier to have a GB Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

The driver should have all the necessary customs information and documents and other paperwork for the route they intend to use. If the haulier intends to use a third-party to complete the S&S GB entry, they will need to have put this in place via the third-party software or the community service provider (CSP).

The haulage company must also make sure that their drivers know what documents to present at each stage of the journey, including:

  • at ports or train terminals
  • at customs posts

Note: Depending on your route, some or all of these documents may be submitted digitally in advance. Please ensure you understand the process for the route you are using

Driver

The driver must carry the information and documentation provided by the haulage company in the vehicle for the duration of the journey. This also includes information and documentation necessary to meet EU member state requirements. This is because each movement of goods from the EU to the UK is both an export movement for EU authorities and import movement for UK authorities, and vice versa.

It is vital that drivers know what information and documentation is needed, and where, when and how they will be presented and checked.

Section 3: Safety and security requirements – ENS and EXS declarations

Background and upcoming changes

There are 2 types of safety and security declarations: an exit summary (EXS) declaration and an entry summary (ENS) declaration.

The UK has had temporary waivers in place both for EXS and ENS declarations, but these will soon be removed:

  • from 1 October 2021 EXS declarations will be required for all exports from GB to EU (this will remove the current waiver for empty pallets, containers and vehicles being moved under a transport contract to the EU)
  • from 1 January 2022 ENS declarations will be required for all EU to GB movements

The EU has required full ENS and EXS declarations since 1 January 2021. Specific procedural details on a member state by member state basis are listed later in the document for:

Entry summary declaration (ENS)

For accompanied roll on roll off (RoRo) freight, the haulier (as the carrier and as the active means of transport) is responsible for submitting the ENS declaration – also known as the safety and security declaration – at the first point of entry. This is of particular importance at GB RoRo ports and terminals that do not have port inventory systems.

For unaccompanied RoRo freight, the ferry operator (as the carrier and as the active means of transport) is responsible for submitting the ENS declaration at the first port of entry. For ports with inventory linking, the ferry operator will complete the manifest. For example, in the Netherlands the manifest must have all the ENS date entries for that ferry, prior to it being allowed to leave the UK. The information will need to be provided before the ship departs the port.

The data required for an ENS declaration includes:

  • consignor
  • consignee
  • a description of the goods
  • routing (country by country)
  • conveyance (e.g. ferry or Eurotunnel details)
  • time of arrival

An EORI number is required to make ENS declarations. This needs to be a:

  • GB’ or ‘XI’ EORI number for GB safety and security
  • valid EU member state EORI number for EU ENS declarations

A third party may lodge a declaration as long as this is done with the knowledge of the carrier and consent. It is the responsible party’s responsibility to make sure that:

  • an entry summary declaration is submitted
  • declarations are submitted within the legal time limits

The third party must also make sure that the information given by the carrier is accurate.

In GB, the carrier will need to sign up for access to the S&S GB service to lodge ENS declarations. This process can also be completed by a third party with their knowledge and consent.

Find out about the GB ENS process.

Exit summary declaration (EXS)

A carrier (meaning haulier for accompanied movements, and ferry operator for unaccompanied) is required to submit an EXS declaration to the customs authority of the country from which the consignment is being exported.

EXS data is normally merged with the export declaration (which is a customs declaration). The person normally responsible for submitting a combined declaration is the exporter of the goods, or their representative.

If it is a separate declaration (e.g. for an empty truck), it is entered into the export control system (ECS).

A standalone EXS declaration is usually required if:

  • an empty container is being moved under a transport contract (a transport contract, or contract of carriage, is an agreement between a carrier and shipper or passenger, setting out each party’s duties and rights)
  • the goods have remained in temporary storage for more than 14 days
  • the goods have remained in temporary storage for less than 14 days but the import safety and security declaration details are unknown or where the destination or consignee details change
  • the goods are moved under transit using a Transit Accompanying Document (TAD) or Transit and Safety and Security Declaration (TSAD) – TSADs cannot be used to meet safety and security requirements in GB

For joint safety and security EXS declarations and customs export declarations, and for standalone safety and security EXS declarations, the submission can be made on the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system or the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). There is still the option to submit EXS declarations through CSP systems or third-party software providers.

A standalone EXS declaration is not required if empty pallets, empty containers and empty trucks are moved out of GB not under a transport contract.

Find out about the GB EXS process.

Section 4: Moving goods from GB to the EU (exporting from GB)

Customs requirements

To enter the EU, goods must satisfy customs requirements outlined in general terms in section 4a. Additionally, 3 types of movement (CTC, ATA, TIR) could alter the customs processes required.

4a. General process

If applicable, refer to these sections once you have reviewed section 4a.

4b. Common Transit Convention (CTC) movements from GB to the EU

4c. ATA Carnets movements from GB to the EU

4d. TIR Convention movements from GB to the EU

If you are transporting some commodities you will also need to consult:

4e. Additional requirements for moving specific goods into the EU

Regardless of which process you use, you will need to consult and understand section 4a for general import/export requirements.

Section 4a: Moving goods from GB to the EU – general process

From 1 January 2022, full export controls and checks will be in place and border locations will need processes to control goods for export. Locations will use either:

  • a port inventory system (‘inventory linked ports’) for the temporary storage model (or the merged model with pre-lodgement and temporary storage) where hauliers/trailer operators will need to follow commercial instructions, or
  • the pre-lodgement procedure for non-inventory linked ports/terminals using the GVMS

The new procedures are outlined in the exports section of the Border Operating Model and further details, including the locations that will be using GVMS and those with additional requirements due to space constraints, will be set out on GOV.UK.

List of ports using the GVMS.

Register for the GVMS.

Preparing for export from GB: customs documents and procedures that hauliers need to know

When collecting goods from the premises of an authorised consignor to move the goods into the EU, the driver must be given all customs documents necessary to cross into the EU. If the driver is collecting goods and all the relevant documentation from an authorised consignee, they do not need to stop at an IBF on their way to the border – they can proceed directly. See the document checklist.

If the driver is not collecting goods from an authorised consignor for export and the goods are moving under transit, they will need to attend an IBF to start/activate their transit movement. The IBF is the place where they will be given the paper document (TAD) that they need to be scanned at the border outbound from GB. If the goods are not moving under transit, the exporter/agent/freight forwarder should provide the haulier with the MRN(s) for the pre-lodged import declaration(s) for the member state the haulier is crossing the border to.

What are the export procedures?

It is the responsibility of the exporter to inform the haulage company about the Permission to Progress (P2P) and they can depart for the border.

For inventory linked ports, including all unaccompanied freight, the trailer operator must provide the Unique Consignment Number (UCN), provided by the exporter, in order to leave the goods at the port and have them accepted.

Note: For inventory linked ports, the EU import detail may not yet be known. It may be that there is no information for the driver about the EU import at the time of export. The exporter/loader needs to clarify to the driver/trailer operator what the EU member state requirements are. If this information is shared digitally, the driver does not necessarily have it (or they often pick a copy up on arrival on the EU side).

What changes from 1 January 2022?

GVMS and pre-lodgement

If exiting GB using the GVMS, before arriving hauliers will need to:

  • ask the exporter or agent to provide the correct references for each consignment carried
  • link all these references together, alongside any safety and security declaration references, into 1 Goods Movement Reference (GMR) for each vehicle movement – this can be done in 2 ways:
    • a direct link from the haulier’s own system into the GVMS; or
    • an online portal available in the haulier’s Government Gateway account
  • for each vehicle, update the GMR with the correct vehicle registration number (VRN) – this can be updated to cater for any changes but must be correct when the GMR is presented to the carrier at the point of departure
  • instruct drivers not to proceed to the border before all the necessary references are added into a GMR to make it complete, or if any declaration reference has not been accepted onto the GMR, as they will not be allowed to board
  • instruct drivers to present the GMR to the ferry operator/Eurotunnel on arrival at the point of departure to demonstrate they have the necessary evidence to legally move goods

Before you exit GB

For accompanied RoRo freight, the driver must have all necessary reference numbers or documents to meet the import requirements of the country they are entering in the EU. See the document checklist. It is the responsibility of the GB exporter (with their customs agent and/or logistics provider) to ensure this is done, unless they have agreed another party will take responsibility for this as part of their incoterms.

You may need to submit an EXS declaration, see section 3.

At the EU border

The driver must follow the EU member states’ import and border requirements for the country they are entering. Further country specific information for the main EU member states for RoRo freight is set out below.

Moving goods through the short straits – GB to France

France has implemented a smart border system for processing freight using both the ferry and Eurotunnel crossings. It pairs customs declaration data with the vehicle registration number transporting the consignment(s).

They have also produced substantial guidance and comms. At check-in at the Port of Dover ferry terminals or at the ‘pitstop’ at Eurotunnel’s Cheriton terminal, the driver will hand in the MRN(s) from the transit or French import declaration. The MRN will be scanned and matched with the Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) or Trailer Registration Number (TRN) - trailers are at Dover only.

Note: The process for sending data can also be done digitally on the Eurotunnel portal or via electronic data interchange (EDI). That generates a Eurotunnel Border Pass (EBP) with which the driver does not need to show any paperwork at the pitstop but can continue on this reference.

For consignments from multiple traders, either the exporter or the driver can scan all the barcodes from the separate documents, using the Enveloppe website. This will create an MRN envelope. The driver will then only need to present 1 single MRN from the load they are carrying.

This data is analysed by the French customs system while the driver and consignment(s) are on the ferry or shuttle train crossing the Channel. It allows HGVs or LGVs to be pre-selected for further customs and/or sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) controls.

The driver will be informed en route – via screens on board the driver carriage at Eurotunnel or in the drivers lounges on the ferries if:

  • they can proceed – they will be ‘green routed’
  • they need to present to goods for customs and/or SPS – either ‘Orange-douane’ or ‘Orange-SIVEP
  • there are any problems which need to be addressed before they can continue their journey - they will be ‘Orange-routed’

On disembarkation of the ferry or shuttle service, if selected for a control (i.e. orange routed), it is the driver’s responsibility to follow that guidance – if they ignore the routing, they could face penalties. Also, to note, that there may also be selections from green routed trucks to check compliance.

Safety and security declarations for entry into France

For freight from GB, ENS declarations must be submitted into the French Import Control System (ICS) before crossing the EU border. Submission can only be made by EDI using certified software (or web portals).

For accompanied freight, the haulier makes the ENS declaration entry into the French ICS.

For unaccompanied freight, the ferry operator makes the ENS declaration entry into the French ICS.

Compliance regimes in France (customs and SPS)

If you are selected for a control on entry to France, either for customs or SPS or both, you must follow the orange routing signage (for either customs or SPS) to attend the facility.

If you are selected for an SPS control (SIVEP), you must seek help from a ‘commis’ service (for ferries) or Eurotunnel operatives (for Eurotunnel) to unload, load and present your consignments and to the administrations

Moving goods through Dutch ports – GB to continental Europe

The Netherlands logistics industry has advice on how to pass through Dutch ports. This will help freight and logistics operators with the various formalities involved in UK-Dutch transportation of goods. The import can only be created once the manifest is submitted to Dutch customs, a process that happens once the ferry has left GB.

If there is a transit starting from GB side the ferry line will report this to customs via Portbase.

Safety and security declarations for entry into the Netherlands

The ENS data for the safety and security declarations are submitted at the time of booking the crossing. The transmission of the ENS declaration is always completed by the carrier (i.e. the ferry operator) for both accompanied and unaccompanied freight when the ferry departs via Portbase into the Netherlands ICS.

Moving goods through Belgian ports

The majority of RoRo freight via the port of Zeebrugge is currently unaccompanied. There are 5 steps. The haulier normally has a role in step 3 and step 5.

  1. The UK trailer operator or person booking the crossing supplies the shipping company with the ENS data at the time of booking and gives it to the shipping company.
  2. The Ferry Operator does the ENS declaration to customs at the same time as doing the temporary storage declaration to customs.
  3. The terminal operator produces a discharge notice to the importer, forwarder, customs agent or haulier.
  4. The customs representative does a follow up declaration to customs.
  5. The terminal operator issues a cargo release to the haulier for them to pick the goods up.

The RX/Seaport digital system joins up the data submitted and required by all parties at the Port of Zeebrugge. The data is registered for imports and exports through their e-Desk. This can be done manually, through a linked data connection or through customs software.

Drivers will not be allowed to leave the terminal if discharge notice is not given and the cargo released (on arrival in Zeebrugge) nor can they proceed to the Zeebrugge Terminal if customs declarations have not been pre-notified through the RX/SeaPort e-Desk.

RX/SeaPort has detailed information about importing and exporting through the Port of Zeebrugge.

At Antwerp the pre-notification of customs documents is done via the Port Community system of C-point. This pre-notification can be lodged by the exporter, the freight forwarder, customs agent or the haulage company.

C-point has detailed information about customs procedures at Antwerp.

Check with your ferry operator about the use of any IT platform.

Safety and security declarations for entry into Belgium

ENS declarations should be submitted into the import clearance system via an EDI interface to the Paperless Customs and Excises (PLDA) system.

In Belgium the ENS declaration submission is done by the ferry operator or shipping company for both accompanied and unaccompanied freight.

Moving goods through Spanish ports

Hauliers going from GB to Spain should:

  • make or arrange to make the ENS declaration into the Spanish ICS
  • obtain the MRN
  • log into the maritime carrier (Brittany Ferries) system and link the vehicle registration number to the MRN
  • the system checks the first 4 digits of the Integrated Tariff of the European Communities (TARIC) code, number of packages and weight

The data must be sent to the carrier in advance of the HGV arriving at the GB port or the driver must have it with them.

Safety and security declarations for entry into Spain

An ENS declaration must be lodged for all consignments. The ferry operator must be satisfied that this requirement has been met before loading will be authorised.

For accompanied freight, the haulier makes the ENS declaration entry (using EDI only) into the Spanish ICS. This doesn’t rule out the possibility of a private agreement between the ferry operator and the haulier for the ferry operator to make the ENS declaration for accompanied freight.

For unaccompanied freight, the ferry operator makes the ENS declaration entry into the Spanish ICS.

The ferry operator sends the manifest (including references to previous ENS declarations) to the operatives in the Spanish ports. The operatives then send the documents to Aduanas (Spanish customs).

Moving goods through Irish ports

All EU import declarations need to be submitted to the Automated Import System (AIS).

The Irish Revenue Customs RoRo Service provides 3 functions to facilitate the flow of commercial vehicles into and out of Irish ports. The 3 functions are:

  1. Pre-boarding notification – customs declarations should be made in advance of arrival at the port of departure in the UK. The details of safety and security and customs declarations for all goods to be carried on an HGV need to be recorded in the pre-boarding notification (PBN). The PBN is a virtual envelope that links together the details of all the goods being carried on an HGV. The customs authority will provide a single instruction to be followed by the driver on arrival at an Irish port, regardless of the number of consignments on board the vehicle.
  2. Channel look-up (CLU) – hauliers can track the progress of the PBN via the Customs RoRo Service so that they know when to arrive at the terminal. The CLU service provides information on whether an HGV can directly exit the port or if the goods need to be brought to customs for checking. This information will be made available via the Customs RoRo Service 30 minutes prior to arrival of the ferry into Ireland and can be accessed by anyone in the supply chain.
  3. Parking self check-in – drivers whose vehicles have been called for a physical inspection will remain in their vehicle and inform Revenue that the goods are available for inspection using this function. When an examination bay becomes available the driver will receive a text message advising where to attend for inspection.

Using the Customs RoRo Service is a prerequisite to receive the PBN without which access to the ferry will be denied.

Verification and release regimes in Ireland

If issues cannot be resolved goods will be held in temporary storage for a maximum of 90 days.

Holding areas are in place around ports but space is limited. If goods are seized, claims must be made within 1 month and in writing.

Traders must pay a fee to use border control posts (BCP) and an additional fee may be required if notification is not received prior to arrival.

Goods may be refused entry or destroyed if SPS requirements are not met.

Find out about bringing goods into Ireland from GB.

After the Irish border

Once the goods have passed EU customs, if they have not been selected for a control, they can proceed to their destination.

Safety and security declarations for entry into Ireland

There is a legal requirement to submit an electronic customs safety and security declaration in advance of import.

This declaration is called an entry summary (ENS) declaration. The ENS declaration must be submitted to Irish customs in advance of the goods departing GB.

The carrier is responsible for ensuring that the ENS declaration is submitted. Accordingly, the importer must ensure that the carrier of your goods is aware of their responsibilities for this declaration. Failure to do so will lead to delays.

Find out about the ENS in the Import Control System (ICS) Trader Guide.

Section 4b: Moving goods from GB to the EUCTC movements

Before leaving GB

If the trader decides to move the goods under the Common Transit Convention (CTC) starting in GB, the haulier will need either:

  • a transit accompanying document (TAD) from the trader, and be told by the trader that the movement has been released to the transit procedure and that they can proceed to the place of exit from GB.
  • a local reference number (LRN) or a TAD that hasn’t been released to the transit procedure, and be told to present the goods and the LRN or TAD to the UK Border Force at a nominated UK Office of Departure – the goods will then be released, and a TAD will be given to the driver
    • a single vehicle may need multiple LRNs – you will need to convert all LRNs into TADs to continue your movement in a compliant manner
    • an LRN will need an accompanying CHIEF entry (usually performed by your GB exporter) to be released

Note: check beforehand as the process can vary per port.

The exporter/agent is responsible for updating the haulage company and driver on the status of the TAD.

Safety and security requirements apply as normal in the EU and GB for goods being moved using transit.

Combined TSADs cannot be used to meet safety and security requirements in GB (UK EXS declarations). Traders moving goods under transit need to ensure that the appropriate safety and security declarations are made via other means in the EU and in GB where necessary.

As TSADs cannot be used for ENS requirements on transit movements from GB to EU until the roll out of NCTS5 (due 2023), separate TAD entries must be made into the EU Transit System (NCTS), and separate ENS declarations must be made into that member state’s ICS using a commercial EDI platform.

At the EU border

If the movement is being made under the CTC, the TAD must be presented by the driver to the EU customs authorities in line with the EU’s procedures. In many cases, the ferry operator/Eurotunnel will do this on your behalf. Check with your carrier before you travel.

After the EU border

If the movement is made under the CTC, the driver must present the TAD at an EU Office of Destination or to an authorised consignee, where the transit procedure will be closed. The goods will then be subject to EU import procedures.

Section 4c: Moving goods from GB to the EUATA Carnets procedure

ATA Carnets are international customs documents used for the suspension of duties where goods will be re-exported within a year.

Before leaving GB

If the trader arranges for the goods to move under the ATA Convention the driver must:

  • obtain the ATA Carnet document from the trader
  • take the goods and the ATA Carnet to the UK Border Force at a UK Office of Departure to get the Carnet stamped
  • as instructed by the trader, their agent or the logistics company controlling the movement
  • check with the trader that the safety and security EXS declaration requirements have been met for the movement – relevant safety and security ENS requirements must also be met for the country the goods are being moved to

Note: Ensure that the driver of the truck is either: listed explicitly in ‘Box B’ of the Carnet, or the Carnet is accompanied by a signed authorisation letter from one of the Carnet holders, indicating their permission for the driver to move the goods and sign ‘Box F’ on their behalf.

The driver should ensure that the front cover of the Carnet has been signed and completed correctly before departure.

At the EU border

The driver must present the ATA Carnet and ensure it is stamped by the EU customs authorities in line with the EU’s procedures.

After the EU border

If the movement is made under the ATA Convention, the driver should give the ATA Carnet to the recipient of the goods when they are delivered. This is so the ATA Carnet is available to return the items to their country of origin, if not transported back by the same outbound haulage company.

Section 4d: Moving goods from GB to the EUTIR Convention procedure

TIR Carnets are international customs documents used for the transport of goods across borders.

Before leaving GB

In order to move under the TIR Convention, the haulier must hold a TIR authorisation obtained in his/her country and the vehicle moving the goods must hold an approval certificate of a road vehicle for the transport of goods under customs seal. For exceptions from this general rule (e.g. the movement of heavy and bulky goods), check the guidance for TIR.

The TIR system allows UK customs officials to pack and seal goods before they’re transported to the EU or to third countries. This means that the load will not need to be opened and inspected by customs officials at border crossings.

Book a TIR test.

The haulage company must:

  • give the driver the TIR Carnet
  • ensure that arrangements have been made, either by the trader or haulage company to declare the movement to NCTS and have the reference numbers (LRN and/or MRN) needed to present the goods to the EU customs authorities
  • instruct the driver to:
    • take and present the goods and the TIR Carnet to the UK Office of Departure where the page 1 of TIR Carnet will be stamped and detached by the customs officer and customs will seal the vehicle
    • take and present the goods and the TIR Carnet to the UK Border Force at a UK Office of Departure – customs will check the documents and ensure that the seal is intact, and will stamp and detach page 2 of the TIR Carnet
    • note: these 2 steps occur simultaneously at the Border Force office
  • check with the trader that the safety and security EXS declaration requirements have been met for the movement – relevant safety and security ENS requirements must also be met for the country the goods are being moved to (see safety and security for the procedure for submitting EXS and ENS declarations)

At the EU border

If the movement is made under the TIR Convention, the driver must present the TIR Carnet and ensure it is stamped by the EU customs authorities in line with the EU’s procedures.

After the EU border

The driver must present the TIR Carnet and ensure it is stamped by the EU customs authorities either when the goods leave the customs territory of the EU or at an EU Office of Destination or at an EU-TIR authorised consignee’s premises.

Once the vehicle has completed its journey, the driver must return the TIR Carnet to their office/manager.

Section 4e: Additional requirements for moving specific goods into the EU

Moving excise goods out of GB and into the EU

Excise goods are alcohol, tobacco or energy products.

If the goods are subject to excise duty, in addition to other commercial documents, the driver must receive from the trader one of the following:

  • a copy of the electronic administrative document (eAD)
  • commercial documents clearly showing the administrative reference code (ARC) for the eAD
  • a paper W8 form for energy products
  • a copy of the customs declaration

Moving animal, plant and other controlled products into the EU

Haulage companies and drivers who transport animal, plant, and other controlled products, need to be aware which locations in the EU have BCPs for carrying out checks on these products.

The haulage company and driver should not start to move these types of goods until they are certain that the:

  • importer or exporter have checked that the route they intend to take is appropriate
  • border location they intend to use is authorised to move the goods they are carrying
  • trader has given them an Export Health Certificate (EHC) to accompany the goods

It is important to note that several EHCs may be needed for a single truckload even if all goods are collected from the same site.

Moving animals, animal products, plants, fish and fishery products into the EU

Traders moving animals or animal products from GB to the EU will need to apply in advance for an EHC.

The trader will need to make sure the EHC is signed by an authorised person after the consignment has been inspected.

Rules vary depending on the type of product and where they are exporting them to.

Check the export rules and check that the route goes through an appropriate BCP in the country of entry for exports of:

A phytosanitary certificate (PC) must accompany consignments of plants and plant products. A trader applies for a PC from the relevant plant health authority:

  • Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in England and Wales
  • Scottish Government in Scotland
  • Forestry Commission in England, Wales and Scotland for wood, wood products and bark

The driver needs to confirm with the trader or haulage company that the EU-based import agent has told the relevant BCP about the arrival of the consignment at least 24 hours before intended arrival.

The driver must carry a physical copy of each EHC or PC for their consignment. The consignments may be checked upon arrival at the EU BCP. The driver should always check before arriving at the first EU port of arrival if a physical document is required. Failure to do so has consequences, i.e. those being without the check at the first EU port of arrival the driver may be told to return to that first port of EU arrival before the load can be delivered and offloaded at destination.

Moving marine-caught fish for human consumption into the EU

In addition to an EHC, exporters of wild-caught marine fish for human consumption will need to provide additional documentation.

Exporters of most wild-caught marine fish for human consumption caught and landed by GB vessels will need to obtain a UK catch certificate for each consignment to the EU.

Exporters of most wild-caught marine fish for human consumption caught and landed by third countries need to supply a copy of the third country catch certificate for each consignment to the EU.

Exporters may also need other documentation such as:

  • processing statements: if third country fish has been processed in the UK – this can be applied for through the Fish Export Service
  • storage documents: if the imported fish has remained in the UK for a period of time and has not undergone any operations other than loading or unloading – this can also be applied for through the Fish Export Service

Exporters will send a copy of the documents to their EU importer. The importer in the EU needs to submit these to the EU competent authority in advance of the import. Please check with the importing member state the required notice period. This is generally at least 4 hours in advance.

Moving live animals into the EU

To transport live animals into the EU, transporters need to apply to an EU member state, where they have representation, for:

  • an EU transporter authorisation
  • a certificate of competence
  • a vehicle approval certificate

The EU does not recognise UK-issued versions of these documents.

Transporters are not permitted to hold transporter authorisation or vehicle approval in more than one EU member state.

For further information contact APHA.

Journey logs

To transport live animals from, or through, England, Scotland or Wales into the EU transporters need to apply for 2 journey logs.

  • one approved by the EU member state which is the first point of entry into the EU
  • one approved by APHA

Moving endangered or protected animal or plant species, and their parts or by-products under CITES

Endangered or protected animal or plant species, and their parts or by-products, under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) can only pass through designated ports.

Check the latest information on these ports and CITES permit and notification requirements.

Certain products may fall under both the categories of products of animal origin and CITES items and must therefore comply with the 2 sets of requirements.

Section 5: Moving goods from the EU to GB (importing to GB)

Customs requirements

To satisfy customs requirements, there are several ways to move goods across the border (pre-lodgement, temporary storage, CTC, ATA, TIR).

The exporter/importer (and/or their agents) will choose which one to use. This section provides details about the implications of each possible procedure for hauliers.

5a. Pre-lodgement/temporary storage

5b. Common Transit Convention (CTC) movements from the EU to GB

5c. ATA Carnets movements from the EU to GB

5d. TIR Convention movements from the EU to GB

5e. Additional requirements for moving specific goods into GB

5f. Moving goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland

Section 5a: Moving goods from the EU to GB – Pre-lodgement/temporary storage

Before leaving the EU

When collecting the goods, the haulier must be given all the relevant customs information or documents and other paperwork. The haulier must confirm:

  • that the exporter has completed the EU export procedures
  • with the importer the type of import declaration they are making and secure the right evidence to demonstrate a declaration has been made

Until 31 December 2021

Until 31 December 2021, there are different customs requirements for controlled goods and non-controlled goods. The evidence needed will depend on what type of declaration the importer is able or chooses to make, including whether the goods are controlled or not.

Controlled goods

Customs declarations in HMRC systems are required for all goods on the controlled goods list. For pre-lodged movements, the haulier must have the appropriate reference number from the import declaration (CHIEF entry number or the MRN) when moving controlled goods. For pre-lodged temporary storage declarations being transported via an inventory linked port, the trailer operator will need the Inventory Consignment Reference (ICR).

The exporter’s MRN or an EORI cannot be used as evidence that an import declaration has been made for these goods.

See updates to the Border Operating Model for more information.

Non-controlled goods

For non-controlled goods, the importer can either make a customs declaration at the point of import or make a declaration in their own commercial records, and then follow this with a supplementary declaration which must be submitted to HMRC within 175 days of the point of import. The haulier must have either the reference number from the customs import declaration (CHIEF entry number or CDS MRN) or the trader’s EORI number if the importer has made a declaration in their commercial records.

Find out about delaying declarations for EU goods brought into GB.

The driver must check which type of declaration the importer is making and carry the appropriate evidence.

From 1 January 2022

From 1 January 2022, import controls and checks will be in place and border locations will need processes to control imported goods. Locations will use either an inventory system (where hauliers will need to follow commercial instructions) or the GVMS.

The new procedures will be outlined in the imports section of the Border Operating Model including detail on Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) and Entry in Declarant’s Records (EIDR) regimes.

List of ports using GVMS.

If hauliers are moving goods through a location using the GVMS and the pre-lodgement model, they will be required to:

  • ask the importer to provide, for each consignment carried, a unique reference number that proves that a declaration has either been pre-lodged or is not needed – this can be an MRN (for goods declared into CHIEF or CDS)
  • link all these references together, alongside any safety and security declaration references, into 1 Goods Movement Reference (GMR) for each vehicle movement – this can be done in 2 ways:
    • a direct link from the haulier’s own system into the GVMS; or
    • an online portal available in the haulier’s Government Gateway account (if the ferry operator is submitting the ENS, the haulier will need to check how to consolidate this into 1 GMR)
  • for each vehicle movement, update the GMR with the correct VRN – this can be updated to cater for any changes but must be correct when the GMR is presented to the carrier at the point of departure
  • instruct drivers not to proceed to the border before all the necessary references are added into a GMR to make it complete, or if any declaration reference has not been accepted onto the GMR, as they will not be allowed to board
  • instruct drivers to present the GMR to the carrier on arrival at the point of departure to demonstrate they have the necessary evidence to legally move goods – this can be presented through paperwork, mobile phone, tablet etc
  • instruct drivers to check whether their vehicle is cleared or not cleared before disembarking and to follow instructions on where to go if checks are required

Note: Ensure you have made a declaration into S&S GB if you need to, see section 3.

At the EU border

The driver must have, for each consignment, evidence of a customs declaration from the declarant (in the EU and the UK). This will take the form of:

  1. The reference number from the customs import declaration which may be referred to as UK ICR for an inventory linked location or GMR for a pre-lodged declaration at a non-inventory linked location.
  2. The EU export declaration MRN.

Some of these processes can be done digitally.

At the UK border

UK authorities do not routinely stop vehicles on their way into the UK to check that they have the correct import customs documents.

However, on arrival, UK Border Force officers may stop vehicles to carry out certain checks. When they do, they will take the vehicle off-line and ask the driver to present the references (for example CHIEF entry number, MRN and/or EORI) for each consignment, along with other documentation or information as required.

Where goods are moved without sufficient evidence that a declaration has been made, the haulier may be liable to a penalty.

Section 5b: Moving goods from the EU to GBCTC movements

Before leaving the EU

If the exporter arranges for the goods to move under the CTC the GMR must be created and the haulier must be given either:

  1. A TAD from the exporter/agent, and be told by the exporter/agent that the transit movement has been started and the TAD has been activated and that they can proceed to the place of exit from the EU member state.
  2. a LRN or a TAD that hasn’t been activated, must be presented to the EU member state authorities at a nominated EU Office of Departure – the goods will then be released and a TAD will be given to the driver.

The exporter/agent is responsible for updating the haulage company and driver on the status of the TAD.

At the EU border

If the movement is being made under the CTC, the TAD must be presented by the driver following the procedures in place at each member state.

This may be performed digitally in many cases.

For entry to the UK

Note: For safety and security requirements, see section 3.

For goods moving under the CTC, haulage companies must follow either the paper-based process or the GVMS process to complete the transit movement on entry to GB. Which process applies will depend on the location the goods arrive at. An overview of locations and processes is included within the Border Operating Model.

Exporters/agents must give the haulage company all TAD MRNs which has been activated for each CTC consignment. A valid MRN proves that the driver has the right declaration to move goods under transit. The paper TAD must also always travel with the goods moving via transit.

If entering the UK at a location using the paper-based procedure, the haulier will need to report to the Office of Transit with the goods and paper TAD on arrival in the UK. Customs authorities will complete the Office of Transit process and request any necessary inspections.

If entering the UK at a location using the GVMS, haulage companies must use GVMS to link all the TAD MRNs into 1 GMR for each trailer movement.

Note: A GMR may include non-CTC consignments (e.g. CHIEF entry numbers) for trucks carrying both CTC and non-CTC goods.

The haulage company must ensure the Office of Departure processes, including any control actions, are completed and that the transit movement has started before they enter any detail into the GMR.

If they enter a TAD MRN for a movement that has not been released, GVMS could invalidate the transit declaration for the movement. The trader would need to submit a new transit declaration to restart the transit movement before the goods could be moved to the UK.

They can use GVMS in 2 ways:

  • a direct link from their own system into the GVMS
  • the online service on GOV.UK – a Government Gateway user ID and password are required for this

For each trailer movement using GVMS, haulage companies or drivers update the GMR with the correct VRN for accompanied movements, or TRN or container reference number (CRN) for unaccompanied movements. The VRN/TRN/CRN can be updated to cater for any changes but must be correct when the GMR is presented to the carrier at the point of departure.

Drivers cannot board international ferries or Eurotunnel without a valid GMR. They must not proceed to the border:

  • before all the necessary references are added into a GMR
  • if any transit declaration reference has not been accepted onto the GMR

Drivers need to present the GMR to the carrier on arrival at the point of departure to show that they have the necessary evidence to legally move goods.

Drivers must comply with instructions issued by border authorities to proceed to a specific location for checks once arrived in the UK, if necessary.

Note: The GMR can only be updated using the same access as the one used to create it. You cannot ask another company to update it unless you share your own access to GVMS. This is very different to, for example, the French Envelope system, because any company can access it on the website to update it before the crossing.

After the UK border

If the movement is made under the CTC, the driver must present the TAD at the UK EU Office of Destination or to an authorised consignee, where the transit procedure will be closed. The goods will then be subject to UK import procedures or will need to be entered to another customs facilitation.

The driver must be aware of the location of their Office of Destination declared by the trader. This could be at the port of entry, an IBF or an authorised consignee location. The driver must report to the right location with the goods and the paper TAD to close the movement. Failure to do so may result in delays to the procedure being closed, and difficulty releasing the financial guarantee.

Section 5c: Moving goods from the EU to GBATA Carnets procedure

Before leaving the EU

If the trader arranges for the goods to move under the ATA Convention the driver must obtain the ATA Carnet document from the trader.

At the EU border

The driver must present the ATA Carnet with a letter of authorisation (if applicable) and ensure it is stamped by the EU customs authorities in line with the EU’s procedures.

At the UK border

The driver must follow the port’s local procedures for the presentation of an ATA Carnet.

Section 5d: Moving goods from the EU to GBTIR Convention procedure

Before leaving the EU

In order for the goods to move under the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) Convention, the haulier must hold a TIR authorisation obtained in their country and the vehicle moving the goods must hold an approval certificate of a road vehicle for the transport of goods under customs seal.

For exceptions from this general rule (e.g. the movement of heavy and bulky goods), check the guidance for TIR.

The haulage company must:

  • give the driver the TIR Carnet
  • ensure that arrangements have been made, either by the trader or haulage company, to declare the movement to the NCTS and have the reference numbers (LRN and/or MRN) needed to present the goods to the EU customs authorities
  • instruct the driver to take and present the goods and the TIR Carnet to the EU customs authorities at an EU Office of Departure (or the Office of Departure of a third country outside the EU)

At the EU border

The driver must present the TIR Carnet and ensure it is stamped by the EU customs authorities in line with the EU’s procedures.

At the UK border

The driver must follow the port’s local procedures for the presentation of the TIR Carnet.

The driver must present the TIR Carnet to the customs office located at the port to open the transit movement for the GB leg. Customs will check the documents, the seal, put a stamp on the relevant page of TIR Carnet and detach it.

The driver will go to the customs Office of Destination or TIR authorised consignee’s premises to ensure that the TIR Carnet is handled. After that the customs seals can be removed and goods unloaded.

It is possible that the border customs office performs both entry and destination TIR procedures.

Once the vehicle has completed its journey, the driver must return the TIR Carnet to their office/manager.

Section 5e: Additional requirements for moving specific goods into GB

Note: The processes outlined in this section are additional processes to be conducted as well as the other processes.

Moving excise goods into the UK

If goods are going to an excise warehouse in the UK, the driver will need to ensure that they hold either a copy of the eAD or commercial documents that clearly state the ARC, before they leave the port. Drivers should obtain these documents from their customer or an intermediary working on their behalf.

However, if the importer has used a simplified customs procedure that allows for the arrival of the goods to be delayed, the creation of the eAD will also be delayed until the goods have arrived. The driver must instead ensure they hold a copy of the pre-lodged customs declaration, which must include details of an excise movement guarantee, before leaving the port.

If goods are still travelling to their delivery address by the end of the next working day following import, the importer (or their agent) should supply the driver at this point with a copy of the eAD or the ARC to formalise the excise movement requirements.

Find out about importing excise goods into the UK.

Moving live animals and high-priority plants and plant products into GB

If the driver is carrying high-priority plants and plant products, live animals or goods covered by CITES the EU exporter or their agent must make sure that they provide the following documents and/or data to accompany the consignments. The driver needs to present these at check-in at the EU border:

  • the original, wet signed, EHCs if one or several are needed
  • any CITES documentation required

Checks on these products will be carried out at the point of destination:

  • until January 2022 for high priority plants and plant products
  • until March 2022 for live animals

Moving SPS goods into GB

There will be further changes to EU to GB movements in October 2021.

From October 2021, products of animal origin (for example, meat, honey, milk or egg products) and animal by-products will need pre-notification and the relevant health documentation, for example, EHCs. Any physical checks on high priority plants or plant products will continue to be conducted at points of destination until January 2022.

From January 2022:

  • full import controls and checks will be in place on all products
  • safety and security ENS declarations will be required for imports from the EU into GB – this will be the same model currently used for rest of world (RoW) trade
  • physical checks of products of animal origin, certain animal by-products, germinal products, and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin will be introduced at designated BCPs – this will be carried out on a risk basis
  • checks of high priority plants and plant products will move from places of destination to designated BCPs
  • all regulated plants and plant products will need pre-notification and phytosanitary certificates

From March 2022:

Live animals from the EU will be subject to new import controls. Checks will continue to be carried out at the point of destination.

In addition to these requirements, CITES-listed goods, live aquatic animals for aquaculture and ornamental purposes and equines will need to meet separate import requirements.

Details of these new procedures will be set out on GOV.UK.

Find out about delaying declarations for EU goods brought into GB.

Check if you need to make an entry summary declaration.

Section 5f: Moving goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland

Drivers moving goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland face different customs procedures compared to other UK-EU trade. Under the protocol drivers moving goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland have no customs procedures unless the goods are transiting through Northern Ireland.

Annex A: Checklist of documents hauliers need to cross the border

The documents and systems used for each way to move goods by port of departure and country of destination.

Customs route/entry point Documents required for all destinations To France To the Netherlands To Belgium To Spain To RoI
CTC Transit Accompanying Document with Master Reference Number (MRN)
Export declaration (MRN)
Safety and security: UK EXS / EU ENS
NCTS
French system: DELTA-T
NCTS
Netherlands system: Portbase
NCTS
Belgian system: RX SeaPort digital system (for Port of Zeebrugge)
NCTS
Spanish system
NCTS
Customs RoRo service
ATA carnet Haulier: ATA carnet
Driver: ATA carnet
Safety and security: UK EXS / EU ENS
French system: DELTA G Netherlands system: Portbase Belgian system: RX SeaPort digital system Spanish system Customs RoRo service
Pre-notification Export declaration (DUCR)
Safety and security: UK EXS / EU ENS
French system: DELTA G Netherlands system: Portbase Belgian system: RX SeaPort digital system Spanish system Customs RoRo service
TIR TIR carnet and TIR vehicle approval certificate
Export declaration (MRN)
Safety and security: UK EXS / EU ENS
NCTS (upon arrival in EU)
French system: DELTA G
NCTS (upon arrival in EU)
Netherlands system: Portbase
NCTS (upon arrival in EU)
RX SeaPort digital system
NCTS (upon arrival in EU)
Spanish system
NCTS (upon arrival in EU)
Customs RoRo service
Excise Excise Movement and Control System GAMMA EMCS EMCS EMCS EMCS

Annex B: Examples of documents

Examples of customs documents

Common Transit Convention (CTC)

A TAD is required if goods are being moved via the common transit process.

Transit Accompanying Document (TAD ).

ATA Carnet

ATA carnet.

TIR Carnet

TIR carnet.

Examples of certificates for specialist goods

Catch certificate (for fish/seafood products)

Used for products of animal origin, fish and other seafood.

Catch certificate.

Phytosanitary certificate (PC)

Used for:

  • any tree, wood, bark, soil or forest tree seed
  • non-manufactured wood products in the form of packaging cases, boxes, crates, drums or pallets
  • used forestry machinery
Phytosanitary certificate.

Controlled drugs licence

The document will closely resemble the document in this image.

Controlled drug license.

Waste export notification control document

There are different rules depending on what waste you are sending and where you are sending it.

Some waste can be exported under a lower level of control, and only an Annex VII form needs to accompany the waste on transfer.

For other ‘notifiable’ waste exports – you will need consent from the competent authorities in the country of dispatch and the country of destination before moving the waste. You can submit applications through an online system called IWS online.

Read the guidance or email the competent authority of dispatch for more information:

Waste export notification control document.

Chemical export licence

The process for checking whether a licence is required and then applying for a licence is all included in the dual use guide. This includes a paragraph on chemicals with links to requirement from the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and additional permissions required for certain countries.

Further information can be found on the OGEL and Goods Checker Tools.

Exporters of all dual-use controlled items (including controlled chemicals) to EU destinations, need to register on SPIRE for the EU Open General Export Licence export of dual use items to EU member states.

Examples of driver documents

International driving permit

1968 and 1949 international driving permits.

UK License for the Community

UK License for the Community.

ECMT permits

ECMT permits allow hauliers to transport most types of goods (or drive an empty vehicle) through ECMT member countries. Follow the rules about using ECMT permits including HGV drivers carrying the right documents.

Annual and short term ECMT permits.

Certificate of compliance

Certificate of compliance.

Certificate of roadworthiness

Certificate of roadworthiness.

ADR dangerous goods driver card

A card to show to police if drivers are pulled over whilst carrying a recognised dangerous good.

ADR dangerous goods driver card.
Published 23 August 2021