Guidance

Transporting goods between Great Britain and the EU: guidance for hauliers and commercial drivers

Guidance for haulage companies and commercial drivers moving goods between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the European Union.

Introduction

This guidance is for hauliers and commercial drivers who move goods 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

Separate guidance on moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will follow soon.

Stay up-to-date

Some of the rules are still being agreed between the UK and the EU. This guidance will be updated with the latest information as soon as it is available.

Visit an advice site at a motorway services or truckstop for in-person advice.

COVID-19 testing

You must test negative for coronavirus (COVID-19) before you cross the border into certain countries.

If you arrive in England from abroad you need to take a COVID-19 test if you are staying for more than 2 days.

Find out more about COVID-19 testing for hauliers.

Free COVID testing is available for drivers and crew of HGVs, LGVs and vans at most haulier advice sites.

Drivers: documents, licences and permits

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence

All UK 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.

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.

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, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

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

  • 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 countries 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 EU countries. If in any doubt, operators should check with the embassy 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, EEA and Swiss nationals can enter the UK with a passport or national identity card.

From 1 October 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will need a passport to travel to the UK.

This will not apply to EU, EEA and Swiss nationals whose rights are protected by the withdrawal agreements, including those covered by the EU Settlement Scheme and frontier workers. They will still be able to use national identity cards for travel until 31 December 2025 at least.

UK hauliers: 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 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 will be subject to these cabotage and cross-trade rules when operating in the EU.

Movements that will 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.

Hauliers with a Community Licence should have received a replacement ‘UK Licence for the Community’. A copy of the new 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. UK drivers are required to carry a Green Card as proof of insurance cover when driving in the EU (including Ireland), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and Andorra.

UK drivers and operators should ensure that they have Green Cards for all vehicles and trailers that may be operated in the EU. Contact motor insurance providers 6 weeks before travel to get a Green Card for vehicles and trailers.

Drivers will need to carry extra Green Cards if they:

  • are towing a trailer (one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer)
  • have 2 insurance policies covering the journey (one card for each policy)
  • have multi-vehicle or fleet insurance (one for each vehicle on the policy)

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 sticker

Drivers do not need a GB sticker if their number plate includes the GB identifier on its own or with the Union flag.

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

Drivers must display a GB sticker clearly on the rear of vehicles and trailers if their number plate has any of the following:

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

When driving in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, drivers must display a GB sticker no matter what is on their number plate.

Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence

Transport managers working for UK operators

Transport managers holding a UK Transport Manager CPC working for UK operators do not need to take any additional action regarding qualifications. The UK CPC is valid for transport managers working for UK operators.

Transport managers working for EU operators

A UK Transport Manager CPC is not recognised by EU operators.

EU hauliers: 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 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 copy of a 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 are recognised 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 driver has all the necessary customs information and documents and other paperwork.

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

  • on road pre-departure inspections - checks to demonstrate border readiness
  • at ports or train terminals
  • at customs posts

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.

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

Inland border facilities

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

IBFs act as a Government Office of Departure (for outbound journeys) and as Government Office of Destination (for inbound journeys). Hauliers can start and end journeys at IBFs when moving goods in and out of the UK.

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)

Hauliers may need to go to an IBF if they have:

  • entered the UK or plan to exit the UK via Dover, Eurotunnel or Holyhead and need:
    • to start or end a CTC movement
    • CITES checks
    • an ATA carnet or TIR carnet stamped
  • been directed there because they are not border ready
  • been directed there for a document or physical inspection of their load

IBF locations and functions

Map of inland border facilities.

IBF site Location Functions
1
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.
2
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
3
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
4
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
5
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
6
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
7
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
Manston Airport Manston Airport
The Cargo Centre
Spitfire Way
Ramsgate
Kent
CT12 5FF
Use when Port of Dover traffic management processes are in place
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

Inbound refers to goods moving into the UK. Outbound refers to goods a moving out of the UK.

Information and advice sites

At haulier advice sites, HGV drivers can:

  • take a COVID-19 test
  • 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

The haulier advice sites are at motorway service stations and truck stops.

Kent traffic management

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

Congestion may still occur if HGV drivers reach the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel without the correct documentation. 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.

There will be traffic management between junctions 8 and 9 of the M20. HGVs crossing the Channel via Dover or Eurotunnel must use the coastbound carriageway. Depending on the level of congestion, HGVs may be held between junctions 8 and 9 until congestion at the ports ease.

Other traffic will use a two-way contraflow on the opposite carriageway. HGVs that are not travelling internationally or are carrying fish/shellfish or day-old chicks and are displaying a valid prioritisation permit can use the contraflow. HGV drivers may be fined £300 if they use the contraflow when they should not.

When there is active traffic management, depending again on the level of congestion, HGV drivers may be asked to follow road signs to Manston Airport (if heading to Dover) or to Sevington. Prioritisation permits for fish/shellfish or day-old chicks will be issued at Ebbsfleet.

If travelling through Kent in early 2021, 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 hitting drivers’ hours limits. If required, there is a pre-agreed plan to relax drivers’ hours to assist with congestion.

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

Kent County Council has introduced a HGV parking ban in Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe, Maidstone, Swale and Thanet until 1 July 2021. This is to address anti-social parking in residential areas. The ban will not apply to drivers taking their short 45 minute breaks in safe locations. The County Council will not target HGVs that are parked up on industrial estates or in lay-bys, and not causing an obstruction or nuisance for enforcement action.

Map of traffic management sites in Kent.

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. There are also plans for local traffic disruption at ports outside of Kent.

Portsmouth Port traffic management

A traffic management plan called Operation Transmission is in place to manage freight away from the entrance to Portsmouth International Port. To prevent delays and avoid cancellations to travel plans, follow the signage directing hauliers to the nearest triage point. At the triage points, documents can be checked in advance and entry to the port granted. Triage points are open 24/7. Hauliers should only travel to the port if they have a valid Brittany Ferries booking and the correct paperwork.

Portsmouth Port Operation Transmission sign.

Humber ports traffic management

Highways authorities have a localised traffic management scheme on the A160. This will only be implemented if there is out-of-the-ordinary and disruptive queuing traffic at Killingholme or Immingham ports. The routes will be well signposted. Further information is available from the Humber Local Resilience Forum. Hauliers travelling from the Humber ports must have the correct paperwork and make sure that ferry sailings are booked in advance.

Reusable packaging

Reusable packaging is packaging that is designed to be reused multiple times to protect sensitive items or equipment from damage during transportation. It is not intended for resale and for imports eligible for a relief on customs duties. These items include plastic or metal cages, crates or frames.

To claim import relief the packaging must have been previously exported or used to import goods.

To import and export reusable packaging an electronic customs declaration can be made. Or, where there is an available facilitation, a declaration by conduct or an oral declaration can be made to the temporary admission or free circulation procedures.

Safety and security

There are 4 ways in which goods can move across the border:

  • Pre-notification
  • Common Transit Convention (CTC)
  • Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission (ATA)
  • Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR)

The trader will choose which of the 4 ways to use. Their choice will depend on what is most appropriate for the characteristics of the consignment.

For all these ways, a safety and security declaration is required.

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

A carrier is generally required to submit an EXS to the customs authority of the country from which the consignment is being exported. For consignments exported from the UK the EXS data is normally merged with the export declaration (which is a customs declaration). If it is a separate declaration (e.g. for an empty truck), it is entered into the export control system (ECS) of that country.

A carrier is required to submit an ENS to the customs authority of the country that the consignment is entering into the import control system (ICS) of that country.

Check with your carrier (ferry/shipping line) as, on some routes into the Netherlands and Belgium, the ferry operator performs the ENS procedures on behalf of the haulier. Safety and security data must be provided at the time of the booking.

Safety and security declarations are due on imports to, and exports from GB. However, to allow for the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, safety and security import declarations on goods from the EU to GB are waived up to 31 December 2021. Northern Ireland remains aligned with EU regulations under the NI Protocol.

Safety and security export declarations on goods exported from GB are also temporarily waived up to 30 September 2021 for 2 categories of movements:

  • empty pallets, containers and vehicles being moved under a transport contract to the EU (or to other countries for which pre-departure declarations were not required before 1 January 2021)
  • and movements of goods in RoRo vehicles where there is a requirement for an exit summary declaration

Safety and security requirements apply to other types of movements from GB to the EU and continue to apply to goods moving from GB to rest of world (RoW).

Moving goods from GB to the EU

Check an HGV is ready to cross the border

The Check an HGV is ready to cross the border service has closed. Staff at haulier advice sites can help drivers check that they have the paperwork needed to cross the border.

Special rules for HGVs leaving the UK via Dover or Eurotunnel

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

Kent County Council will issue Local Haulier Permits (LHP) to hauliers in East Kent that hold a ‘Standard International’ O License.

HGV drivers with a LHP can use local roads, rather than join the Operation Brock system.

Bringing food and drink into EU countries

Drivers travelling to the EU should be aware of additional restrictions to personal imports. If you are carrying prohibited items in your luggage, vehicle or person you need to use, consume, or dispose of them at or before the border.

You cannot bring POAO (products of an animal origin) such as those containing meat or dairy (e.g. a ham and cheese sandwich) into the EU. There are exceptions to this rule for certain quantities of powdered infant milk, infant food, special foods, or special processed pet feed. Find out more on the rules and exemptions in the European Commission guidance on personal imports.

Almost all plants and plant products, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, and seeds, require a phytosanitary certificate to be brought into the EU. The exceptions to this are bananas, coconuts, dates, pineapples, and durians, which can be brought into the EU without a certificate. Find out more in the European Commission guidance on plant biosecurity.

Safety and security exit declarations

Safety and security information is required on exports from GB, unless the goods are covered under the temporary waiver or are going to Northern Ireland.

The requirement for safety and security information on export can usually be done via the customs export declaration, which contains information to meet safety and security requirements. Where an export declaration is not submitted before departure, a standalone EXS may be needed into the ECS of that country.

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 (TSADs) – TSADs cannot be used to meet safety and security requirements in GB

However, until 30 September 2021, there is a temporary waiver for safety and security requirements on exports from GB for 2 categories of movements only.

The temporary waiver applies to the movement of:

  • empty pallets, containers and vehicles being moved under a transport contract to the EU (or to other countries for which pre-departure declarations were not required before 1 January 2021)
  • goods in RoRo vehicles where there is a requirement for an exit summary declaration – this will include, for example, transit movements using RoRo

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

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 CHIEF/Customs Declaration Service (CDS). There is still the option to submit EXS declarations through community system provider (CSP) systems or third-party software providers.

Find out why, when and how to make an exit summary (EXS) declaration.

In addition, relevant safety and security ENS requirements must also be met for the country the goods are being moved to. See the sections about safety and security declarations for France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain later in this handbook.

Pre-notification – moving goods into the EU

The pre-notification procedure applies at locations without customs control systems.

Before leaving GB: customs documents and procedures

When collecting goods to move into the EU, the driver must be given all customs documents necessary to cross into the EU. See the document checklist at the end of this handbook.

The GB exporter must complete the UK export procedures comprising, at minimum, a combined customs and safety and security EXS declaration. The driver needs to be told if the goods need to be presented to a UK customs office. Once this has been done, the exporter is given permission to progress (P2P).

Once the exporter has P2P, having competed any additional documentary checks requested by the National Clearance Hub, the driver can collect and take the goods to the GB port or terminal of departure.

If the exporter is told that the goods must undergo a physical check, the driver can collect the goods and take them to a designated export place (DEP) or to an approved inland location for appropriate checks. Only after P2P is granted following completion of those checks can the driver take the goods to the GB port or terminal of departure.

It is the responsibility of the exporter to inform the haulage company about the P2P situation that applies to a given transport job at a given point in time.

The driver needs to carry evidence that a UK combined customs and safety and security EXS declaration has been made and they are required to carry EU import documentation as well as other documents as detailed elsewhere in this handbook.

Documents for the EU border authorities

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 at the end of this handbook. It is the responsibility of the GB exporter (with their customs agent and/or logistics provider) to ensure this is done.

The trader who exports the goods from GB must:

  • confirm with the trader who imports the goods into the EU that all necessary formalities and requirements have been met, e.g. submitting an import declaration
  • give full, clear instructions to the haulage company and driver so that they know what to do
  • provide all necessary documentation and information, e.g. the Movement Reference Number (MRN) for the EU import declaration, and hard copies of any licenses or certificates
  • make sure 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
Entry summary declarations

For accompanied freight, the haulier is responsible for submitting the entry summary declaration – also known as the safety and security ENS declaration – into the member state’s ICS at the first point of entry to the EU.

This is of particular importance at GB roll on roll off (RoRo) ports and terminals, especially those which do not have port inventory systems.

The deadline for lodging the ENS declaration for goods moving by road is at least one hour before arrival.

Exit summary declarations

In most member states (especially those with borders with the UK), the EXS declaration is combined with the export declaration.

At the EU border

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

Moving goods through France

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

At check-in at ferry terminals or at the ‘pitstop’ at Eurotunnel, the driver will hand in the MRN. The MRN will be scanned and matched with the Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) or Trailer Registration Number (TRN).

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

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

The driver will be informed en route if:

  • they can proceed
  • they need to declare for customs and/or SPS
  • there are any problems which need to be addressed before they can continue their journey
Safety and security declarations for France

For traffic from the UK, ENS declarations must be submitted into the French ICS before crossing the EU border. Submission can only be made by electronic data interchange (EDI) using certified software (or web portals). Some ferry operators provide ENS submission via their online booking service.

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.

Moving goods through the Netherlands

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.

All customs declaration numbers for UK export and imports that travel through the Netherlands must be pre-registered via Portbase. This is a paid-for service.

Drivers will not be able to access Dutch terminals if they have not pre-registered via Portbase. The driver must present MRNs at UK check-in.

Safety and security declarations for the Netherlands

ENS declarations are submitted via the Portbase system at the time of booking the crossing. The transmission of the data is always completed by the carrier (i.e. the ferry operator) for both accompanied and unaccompanied freight.

Moving goods through Belgium

At Zeebrugge 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 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.

Safety and security declarations for Belgium

ENS declarations should be submitted into the import clearance system via an EDI interface to the Customs Computer 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 Spain

Ports in the South of Spain, such as Algeciras Port Authority, use the port community system Teleport 2.0.

The northern Spanish port of Santander will soon use a similar port community system. Those who register can trace their goods via the online e-service.

The Port of Bilbao uses its own port community system, e-puertobilbao.

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 carrier 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

There is no equivalent ‘envelope’ system for groupage loads, so all consignments must be entered individually. The HGV cannot proceed to GB check-in unless goods have been cleared for export. 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 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 Ireland

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 pre-requisite to receive the PBN without which access to the ferry will be denied.

Verification and release regimes

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 one 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.

After the EU border

Once the goods have passed EU customs they can proceed to their destination.

CTC – moving goods into the EU

Before leaving GB

If the trader arranges for the goods to move under the CTC the driver must be given 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

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

Safety and security requirements apply 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.

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.

ATA Convention – moving goods into the EU

ATA carnets are international customs documents used for the temporary export or import of goods.

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
  • 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

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.

TIR Convention – moving goods into the EU

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

Before leaving GB

If the trader arranges for the goods 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.

The TIR system allows UK customs officials to pack and seal goods before they’re transported outside the EU. 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
  • instruct the driver to 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
  • 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 the safety and security section of this handbook 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.

Additional requirements for moving specific goods into the EU

Moving excise goods out of GB

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 of changed rules and know 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 the 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 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.

Moving marine-caught fish for human consumption into the EU

In addition to an EHC, exporters of wild-caught marine fish for human consumption need to obtain a UK catch certificate for each consignment to the EU.

Exporters will send a copy of the documents to their EU importer but, in some cases, the documents may also be carried by the driver. The haulage company may wish to check that the exporter has obtained a validated UK catch certificate before attempting to export UK caught fish and fishery products to the EU.

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 please contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (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 under CITES

Endangered or protected animal or plant species 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.

Moving goods from the EU to GB

Moving goods from Ireland to GB

All goods being moved from Ireland to GB require an export declaration. The Irish exit summary declaration contains the safety and security EXS declaration details.

For goods being exported via RoRo a Pre-Boarding Notification needs to be completed prior to arrival at the port of departure in Ireland using Irish Revenue’s Customs RoRo service.

EU export declarations are the responsibility of the exporter and are submitted using the Automated Entry Processing (AEP) system. The AEP system handles the validation, processing, duty accounting and clearance of customs declarations.

Irish Revenue has information about the Customs electronic systems.

Moving goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland

Drivers moving goods between Ireland and NI face different customs procedures compared to other UK-EU trade.

Pre-notification – moving goods into GB

Before leaving the EU

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

  • that the trader has completed the EU export procedures
  • with the exporter that they’ve met all the UK import requirements

Until 1 July 2021, there will be different customs requirements for controlled goods and non-controlled goods.

Controlled goods

Customs declarations are required for all goods on the controlled goods list. Therefore, the haulier must have the MRN when moving controlled goods.

Non-controlled goods

For non-controlled goods, the importer can make a record in their own commercial records, and then follow this with a supplementary declaration which must be submitted to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) within 6 months of the point of import. Therefore, the haulier must have the trader’s economic operator registration and identification (EORI) number when moving these goods.

Safety and security import declarations

EXS declarations are required for goods leaving the EU. Safety and security ENS declarations are required for imports from the EU into GB. This is the same model used for RoW trade.

For goods being imported to GB, carriers have the legal responsibility to provide the UK customs authority with safety and security pre-arrival information, by way of ENS declarations. For RoRo, a carrier is the ferry operator for unaccompanied goods or the haulier for accompanied goods. The carrier can agree to pass the safety and security requirement onto the trader. However, the carrier retains legal responsibility for safety and security.

The legal requirement is that the safety and security ENS declaration is complete and accurate to the best of the declarant’s knowledge at the time. However, if details change, a safety and security ENS declaration can be amended up to the point of arrival in the UK.

To allow for the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, safety and security import declarations on goods from the EU to GB are waived up to 31 December 2021. Northern Ireland remains aligned with EU regulations under the NI Protocol.

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

Goods must have their safety and security declarations submitted a specific number of hours in advance of arriving at, or departing from, a UK port. This is to ensure there is sufficient time for Border Force to assess the declarations.

For Eurotunnel, safety and security ENS declarations must be submitted at least 1 hour before arrival (this time is dictated by arrival at Coquelles).

For short sea journeys, safety and security ENS declarations must be submitted at least 2 hours before arrival for both containerised and non-containerised imports. Short sea journeys refer to journeys from:

  • the English Channel, or the Atlantic coast of Europe from the point where it meets the English Channel to and including the port of Algeciras
  • Norway
  • Ireland
  • the Faroe Islands
  • Iceland
  • ports on the Baltic Sea and the North Sea

An EORI number is required to make safety and security declarations.

For imports to GB, the submission of the ENS declaration must be made in the UK safety and security system, Safety and Security GB (S&S GB). Declarants need a GB EORI.

For goods moving into Northern Ireland, ENS declarations must be made into the Import Control System Northern Ireland (ICS NI) system. Declarants need an XI EORI or a valid EU EORI.

There is also the option to submit declarations through CSP systems/ third party software providers.

Anti-smuggling nets (ASNs) can be used to meet safety and security requirements.

At the EU border

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

  • an MRN which may be referred to as UK entry number, or
  • the trader’s EORI number if the UK importer is making the declaration in their own records
  • the EU export declaration MRN

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 customs offences, security and anti-smuggling checks. When they do, they will take the HGV off-line and ask the driver to present the MRN and/or EORI for each consignment, along with other documentation or information as required.

CTC – moving goods into GB

Before leaving the EU

If the trader arranges for the goods to move under the CTC the driver must be given either:

  • a 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 the EU member state
  • a 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 EU member state authorities at a nominated EU office of departure – the goods will then be released to 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 to the EU customs authorities in line with the EU’s procedures.

After the UK border

For goods moving under the CTC, haulage companies must follow either the paper-based process or the goods vehicle movement service (GVMS) process to complete the transit movement on entry to GB. Which process applies will depend on the location the goods arrive at.

Traders must give the haulage company a TAD MRN for each CTC consignment. The reference number proves that the driver has the right declaration to move goods under transit. The paper TAD must also travel with the goods moving via transit.

Haulage companies must use GVMS to link all the TAD references numbers into one GMR for each trailer movement. They can use GVMS in in two 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, haulage companies or drivers update the GMR with the correct VRN for accompanied movements or TRN for unaccompanied movements. The VRN/TRN can be updated to cater for any changes but must be correct when the GMR is presented to the cross-Channel carrier at the point of departure.

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

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

Drivers need to present the GMR to the cross-Channel 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, if necessary.

ATA Convention – moving goods into GB

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 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.

TIR convention – moving goods into GB

Before leaving the EU

If the trader arranges for the goods to move under the 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.

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

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.

Additional requirements for moving specific goods into GB

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.

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

Requirements from October 2021 for moving goods into GB

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

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

From January 2022:

  • 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 Border Control Posts (BCPs)
  • 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:

  • 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 RoW trade

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

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 how they can 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.

Checklist of customs documents and systems

The customs documents and custom 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: Teleport 2.0
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: Teleport 2.0 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: Teleport 2.0 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: Teleport 2.0
NCTS (upon arrival in EU)
Customs RoRo service
Excise Excise Movement and Control System GAMMA EMCS EMCS EMCS EMCS

Examples of customs documents

Standard French (for the Short Straights) import declaration

The majority of goods will move via this route with an EU import declaration.

This can be presented in a digital format.

Movement Reference Number (MRN) from an EU import declaration.

Common Transit Convention (CTC)

The common transit procedure is used for the movement of goods between the EU and the other countries that have signed up to the Common Transit Convention - or between the common transit countries:

  • Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein
  • Switzerland, Turkey, North Macedonia
  • Serbia and the EU

A Transit Accompanying Document (TAD) is required if goods are being moved via the common transit process.

This can also be presented in a digital format.

Transit Accompanying Document (TAD).

ATA carnet

An ATA carnet is a document used to avoid paying tax on goods brought into a country temporarily for business reasons, including:

  • samples to show at trade fairs or sales meetings
  • publicity materials
  • recorded film and audio
  • equipment you need for work like laptops, cameras or sound equipment
  • goods for educational, scientific or cultural purposes
  • personal effects and sports goods

ATA carnet.

TIR carnet

Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) – or International Road Transport – is only used for the movement of goods by road in secure / approved vehicles or containers, and under cover of a TIR carnet.

These goods may be travelling beyond the reach of the Common Transit Convention (think MRN and a TAD), for example GB to Asia by road.

TIR carnet.

Examples of certificates for specialist goods

Export health certificate, catch certificate

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

Catch certificate.

Phytosanitary certificate

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 license

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 sending it.

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

For other ‘notifiable’ waste exports – this is all done on an online system called IWS Online.

Read Waste import and export guidance from the Environment Agency.

For further information contact: askshipments@environmentagency.gov.uk.

Waste export notification control document.

Chemical export license

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.

Safety and security declarations

Safety and security changes

EU safety and security declarations must be submitted 1 hour before arrival in the EU (if going by Eurotunnel) or 2 hours if going by Dover.

  • it is the haulier’s legal responsibility to have a safety and security declaration when entering France
  • hauliers can submit the safety and security declaration themselves or choose to use a customs intermediary to fill this requirement on their behalf
  • safety and security declarations must be submitted ahead of transit

If turned back from France as a result of not having a safety and security declaration, contact your customs intermediary.

Safety and security requirements for GB

If you’re moving goods outside GB, you may need to make an exit summary declaration (EXS) if the goods are not covered by a full export declaration containing safety and security information. Check export goods from the UK.

If you bring goods into GB, you’ll need to submit safety and security information about the goods. Check import goods into the UK.

Published 8 January 2021
Last updated 13 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. Clarification of visa requirements for UK drivers operating in the EU.

  2. You no longer need a Kent Access Permit (KAP) to enter Kent.

  3. Added translation