Before you go to collect the goods, you must prepare the required documents ready for export.
There are 4 ways in which goods can move across the border:
- General Process
- 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 of the export models a Safety and Security (S&S) exit declaration will be required.
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.
Preparing for export from GB: customs documents and procedures that hauliers need to know 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. 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.
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 will 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 will 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.
ATA carnets are international customs documents used for the temporary export or import of goods.
If the trader arranges for the goods to move under the ATA Convention
Then 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.
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.
If the trader arranges for the goods to move under the TIR Convention.
Then 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. 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 TIR system allows UK customs officials to pack and seal goods before they are transported outside the EU. This means that the load will not need to be opened and inspected by customs officials at border crossings.
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
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:
- The electronic administrative document (eAD)
- Commercial documents clearly showing the administrative reference code (ARC) for the eAD
- A paper W8 form for excise products called the Excise movements: internal accompanying document – products subject to Excise Duty (W8)
- A copy of the customs declaration
Traders moving animals, animal products, fish or fishery products from the GB to the EU will need to apply in advance for an Export Health Certificate (EHC).
The trader will need to make sure the EHC is signed by an authorised person after the consignment has been inspected.
The trader must check that the route the driver takes will allow for the consignment to be checked at at the first EU/EEA country reached, at the correct Designated Border Control Post (BCP). >
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/EEA 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.
To transport live animals into the EU, in addition to the EHC, transporters will 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.
Transporters can apply for a second certificate of competence from the relevant EU member state.
For further information please contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
To transport live animals from, or through, England, Scotland or Wales into the EU transporters will 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
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.
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. Up-to-date information on these designated ports and CITES permit and notification requirements are on GOV.UK.
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.
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
- Specific procedural details on a member state by member state basis are listed later in the guidance for:
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.
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, collect the goods and provide your vehicle (and trailer) registration number to the exporter. Your haulage company will then tell you how to proceed.