Bring goods into or through the UK using common and Union transit

Guide

Last updated 29 December 2020

What you need to do when using common or Union transit to bring goods into or through the UK.

Before you start moving your goods

You need to:

If your goods are going by road to, or through, a country that is not covered by common and Union transit you may be able to use Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) to move your goods. You can use TIR to send goods by road to or through countries covered by the TIR convention.

Before your goods arrive in the UK

Your exporter needs to complete transit declaration and should have provided the haulier with the information and documentation they need to reach the UK.

When your goods arrive in the UK

If you bring goods into the UK under common or Union transit from a different customs territory the goods must be presented, with all accompanying documents, to a UK office of transit on entry into the UK.

If the goods cross the border into the UK from an EU country you do not need to go to an office of transit in the UK.

If your transit movement is continuing after the UK

When the goods leave the UK, if the next country they enter is in a different customs territory, you must present the goods and transit accompanying document to the office of transit at the border crossing point of the country listed on the transit declaration.

If you are moving goods using TIR then you must present your Carnet to customs offices on both entry and exit of each customs areas. This means that your TIR carnet must be stamped by customs officials on both sides of the border.

If the goods leave the UK but continue their journey within the EU customs territory, you do not need to go to an office of transit.

Import and Export Declarations

You do not need to complete import declarations on any goods that enter the UK under transit but do not end the transit movement in the UK.

You do not need to complete export declarations on any goods that enter the UK, and then leave the UK while still under the same transit movement.

Other processes on entry and exit from the UK

Some border processes must be completed before you can enter or leave the UK, from another customs territory, irrespective of whether goods are moving under transit.

To make sure the transit journey of your goods through the UK is not delayed or stopped, you must make sure:

  • you are familiar with the border entry and exit requirements for your goods
  • your haulier has the appropriate documentation

If your transit movement is ending in the UK

You can end a transit movement in the UK by presenting your goods with all accompanying documentation to:

  • an authorised consignee (your own or an agent’s premises) – you should consider applying for authorised consignee status if you regularly bring goods into the UK using transit
  • a UK office of destination

If you presented the goods at an office of transit when you entered the UK you must still go to an office of destination or authorised consignee in order to end your transit movement.

The location of the authorised consignee or office of destination you must take your goods to is selected when the movement is started. The location code will be listed on the transit accompanying document (TAD).

The office of destination or authorised consignee will check the goods and end the transit movement on the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS).

Once the transit movement has been ended on NCTS by the office of destination or the authorised consignee, the office of departure will release the guarantee for the movement.

Releasing the goods

For union-goods, you will be able to release the goods into free circulations once they are released from transit.

For non-union goods, you will either need to either:

Ending a transit movement without releasing the goods

You may be able to move non-union goods into the UK under common or Union transit without completing an import declaration by entering them into one of the following customs’ procedures:

An import declaration will be required if you want to enter non-union goods into free circulation.

Get more information

The transit manual and transit manual supplement have more information on Union and common transit.

More information on TIR can also be found in the TIR Handbook.

From 1 January 2021

For movements coming into or ending in Great Britain

When your goods arrive in Great Britain

You must go to an office of transit when your goods arrive into Great Britain from:

  • an EU country
  • Northern Ireland
  • any other TIR or common transit country

The office of transit procedures in Great Britain can be undertaken either:

  • digitally using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service
  • by manually scanning the TAD on arrival.

You will need to comply with the office of transit procedures used by the port where you arrive.

If you need to go to an office of transit in Great Britain for common or union transit, you need to check if the port where they are arriving uses goods vehicle movement service to complete office of transit procedures.

If the office of transit is using the goods vehicle movement service then make sure your haulier has registered and gets a goods movement reference number.

You will not be able to use the goods vehicle movement service for TIR movements, instead you will need to have your Carnet stamped by customs officials at the border.

If your transit movement is continuing after Great Britain

When your goods leave Great Britain, if they are continuing their journey under transit then you must present the goods and transit accompanying document to the office of transit on entry into the next customs area or Northern Ireland. This includes if your goods are moving to

  • Northern Ireland,
  • the EU or any other TIR or common transit country

If you need to go to an office of transit in Northern Ireland, check if the port where they are arriving uses goods vehicle movement service to complete office of transit procedures.

If the goods vehicle movement service is used make sure your haulier has registered and gets a goods movement reference number.

You will not be able to use the goods vehicle movement service for TIR movements, instead you will need to have your Carnet stamped by customs officials at the border.

If your transit movement is ending in Great Britain

You can end a transit movement in Great Britain by presenting your goods with all accompanying documentation to:

If you are ending your transit movement at an office of destination, then you might be asked to go to an inland government site to end your transit movement or to complete other customs processes.

Details of the site locations and the when you will should use them will be provided shortly.

Releasing the goods

Union goods arriving into Great Britain from the EU will no longer be released into free circulation. As these goods are not UK duty paid they will need to be held under duty suspense until an import declaration is made and UK duties are paid on them.

Duty paid goods arriving in Great Britain under transit from Northern Ireland will be treated as UK duty paid goods.

For movements coming into or ending in Northern Ireland

When your goods arrive in Northern Ireland

You will not need to go to an office of transit if your goods arrive directly into Northern Ireland from somewhere in the EU.

You must go to an office of transit when your goods arrive into Northern Ireland from:

  • Great Britain
  • any TIR or common transit country outside the EU

The office of transit procedures in Northern Ireland can be undertaken either:

  • digitally using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service
  • by manually scanning the TAD on arrival

You will need to comply with the office of transit procedures used by the port where you arrive.

If you need to go to an office of transit in Northern Ireland, check if the port where they are arriving uses goods vehicle movement service to complete office of transit procedures.

If the goods vehicle movement service is used make sure your haulier has registered and gets a goods movement reference number.

You will not be able to use the goods vehicle movement service for TIR movements, instead you will need to have your Carnet stamped by customs officials at the border.

If your transit movement is continuing after Northern Ireland

When your goods leave Northern Ireland, if the next place they enter is:

  • Great Britain
  • a TIR or common transit country outside the EU

You must present the goods and transit accompanying document to an office of transit on entry into the customs area or Great Britain.

You will not need to go to an office of transit if your goods move directly from Northern Ireland to a country in the EU.

If you need to go to an office of transit in Great Britain, check if the port where they are arriving uses goods vehicle movement service to complete office of transit procedures.

If the goods vehicle movement service is used make sure your haulier has registered and gets a goods movement reference number.

You will not be able to use the goods vehicle movement service for TIR movements, instead you will need to have your Carnet stamped by customs officials at the border.

If your transit movement is ending in Northern Ireland

You can end a transit movement in Northern Ireland by:

  • presenting your goods with all accompanying documentation to an authorised consignee (at your own or an agent’s premises - you should consider applying for authorised consignor status if you regularly use transit to bring goods into Northern Ireland)
  • presenting goods at an office of destination

Find out more about the office of destination process in Northern Ireland.

Releasing the goods

Union goods arriving into Northern Ireland from the EU will be released into free circulation as EU duty paid goods.

Duty paid goods arriving in Northern Ireland under transit from Great Britain will need to submit import declarations, but no further duties will be payable unless the goods are identified as being at risk.

If you are moving goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and need to submit an import declaration, you should see if the Trader Support Service can help you with this.