You need to prepare the required documents when collecting goods to be exported from the European Union (EU) and into the United Kingdom (UK).
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.
- Pre-lodgement/temporary storage
- Common Transit Convention (CTC) movements
- ATA Carnets movements
- TIR Convention movements
- Additional requirements for moving specific goods into the EU .
- Moving goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland
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.
Pre-lodgement – moving goods into GB (pre-notification)
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
Currently Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) applies to the following routes:
- goods from the EU to Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) – only if you’re moving goods under the Common Transit Convention using a Transit Accompanying Document
- goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland – a goods movement reference is required for all movements into Northern Ireland ports using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service
- goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain – a goods movement reference is only required in the following circumstances: Common Transit Convention movements TIR and ATA Carnet movements movements from the Republic of Ireland to Great Britain through a Northern Ireland port
- movements from Northern Ireland to Great Britain under a customs special procedure or on a list of goods where specific international processes apply
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 Customs Declaration Service).
- Link all these references together, alongside any Safety and Security declaration references (required from July 2022), into one Goods Movement Reference (GMR) for each vehicle movement.
This can be done in two ways:
- A direct link from the haulier’s own system into the Goods Vehicle Movement Service; 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 one 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.
NB: Ensure you have made a declaration into S&S GB if you need to
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 an EU office of departure – Custom Office List – 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.
Link to – Apply for an ATA Carnet
If the trader arranges for the goods to move under the ATA Convention, the driver must obtain the ATA carnet document from the trader.
Link to –TIR Handbook | UNECE
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. To get a certificate for a vehicle using an approved design for TIR border crossings.
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 – Customs Office List (or the office of departure of a 3rd country outside the EU).
Controlled goods – Goods are controlled if they are subject to special health, licensing or environmental controls and as such must be placed under customs control at the border. e.g. SPS goods, excise goods, chemicals, military goods, weapons.
Customs declarations 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.
More detailed information will be provided in updates to the Border Operating Model.
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.
The driver must check which type of declaration the importer is making and carry the appropriate evidence.
Excise goods are those goods liable to excise duty, and include alcohol, tobacco, and some energy products (e.g. biofuels & hydrocarbon oils)
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 electronic administrative document (eAD) or commercial documents that clearly state the Administrative Reference Code (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.
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 March 2022 for live animals
- until July 2022 for high priority plants and plant products
Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods include products of animal origin (POAO), composite products, food and feed not of animal origin, and plants and plant products.
There will be further changes to EU to GB movements in January 2022:
- products of animal origin (for example, meat, honey, milk or egg products) and animal by-products will need pre-notification
- all regulated plants and plant products will need pre-notification and phytosanitary certificates
- full import controls and checks will be in place on all products
- any physical checks on high priority plants or plant products will continue to be conducted at points of destination until January 2022.
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.
From July 2022:
- 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 the relevant health documentation, for example, EHC and phytosanitary certificates
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 www.gov.uk/brexit-hauliers
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 July 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 guidance for:
- Belgium. Haulier Handbook – Information for Belgium S&S declarations
- France. Haulier Handbook – Information for France S&S declarations
- Ireland. Haulier Handbook – Information for Ireland S&S declarations
- The Netherlands. Haulier Handbook – Information for the Netherlands S&S declarations
- Spain. Haulier Handbook – Information for Spain S&S declarations
For accompanied RoRo freight, the haulier (as the carrier and as the active means of transport) is responsible for submitting the Entry Summary declaration ENS – also known as the safety & 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 (FO) (as the carrier and as the active means of transport) is responsible for submitting the ENS at the first port of entry.
The data required for an ENS declaration includes:
- 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. For GB S+S, this needs to be a “GB” or “XI” EORI number.
For EU ENS declarations, this needs to be a valid EU Member State EORI number.
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 (Short Sea voyages – at least 2 hr before arrival) (Road traffic – at least 1 hr before arrival)
The third party must also make sure that the information given by the carrier is accurate. Further information on the GB ENS process is available on GOV.UK here.
In GB, the carrier will need to have access to / sign up for the S&S GB service to lodge ENS declarations.
This process can also be completed by a 3rd party with their knowledge and consent.
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. Visit – Secure your vehicle to help stop illegal immigration
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:
- written instructions for drivers on how to use the system, please see link for guidance for hauliers on preventing clandestine entrants
- robust security devices to effectively secure the vehicle, load and load space
- evidence of training for drivers on how to use the system and security devices
- providing vehicle security checklists to drivers. See vehicle security checklist: road transport companies and drivers
- monitoring that drivers are complying with the Civil penalty code of practice: prevention of clandestine entrants
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.
Once you’ve completed these requirements and you have the correct documents, you are ready to leave with the goods.