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As of 1 January, the United Kingdom has officially been a third-party country with regard to the European Union. The transitional period for its exit from the EU ended on 31 December, as a result of the process known as Brexit. As such, for customs purposes, English, Scotland and Wales receive the same treatment as any other country that does not belong to the EU. This obviously has important repercussions for commercial trade and in particular for goods mobility by road.

Brexit affects companies that:

  • Sell or provide service to organisations in the United Kingdom.
  • Purchase goods or receive services coming from the United Kingdom.
  • Transport goods through the United Kingdom.
  • Use materials and goods of the United Kingdom to trade under preferential regimes with EU partner countries.

The tax and customs implications include, among others:

  • Presenting customs declarations upon importing or exporting goods to or from the United Kingdom, and through British territory.
  • Providing data concerning safety and security, in addition to the customs declaration.
  • Applying and presenting special import and export certificates for specific goods, and compliance with additional paperwork in the case of products subject to special taxes.
  • Compliance with regulations and procedures concerning the different VAT rates applicable in the territorial framework of the European Union and North Ireland.

Below we provide details on the most important aspects that professional drivers and transport companies who have to operate in the United Kingdom need to keep in mind.

What do I have to keep in mind if I’m a driver?

Drivers from the EU can work for operators from the United Kingdom with a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) issued by a member state of the EU. To ensure that they can continue doing so in the long term, it is recommended to obtain a driver CPC from the United Kingdom.

Do I need a passport to enter the United Kingdom?

Until 1 October 2021, EU citizens can enter Britain with a passport or national identity document, as it has been until now. Starting from that date, a passport will be required.

Is there a travel limitation?

Operators from the EU can make unlimited trips to, from and through the United Kingdoms, and up to two movements of cross-trade or cabotage transport in British territory, as long as it is after a laden trip from the EU and within a period of seven days from the unloading in the United Kingdom.

What additional documentation is required?

Operators from the EU must have a license for their establishment from their own country and carry a copy of the community license at all times. The confirmation of the motor insurance for the vehicle and trailer is required. The Green Card as well as other motor insurance documents are valid.

What documentation is required for the goods being transported?

For operators:

The operator is responsible for the customs declaration and providing the correct documents to the transport company and the driver, which can be done through a third party (transport agent, logistics company or customs agent).

For transport companies:

The company must provide the driver with the information and all the required documentation, and ensure that the transport professional knows the required documents at all times, including the highway inspections prior to the exit (controls before the border), port or ferry terminals, and customs posts.

For drivers:

Drivers are required to have the information and documentation provided by the company throughout the voyage, and know all the necessary processes. This includes all the information and required documentation to comply with the requisites of the EU member states, as each movement of goods between the parties is both an export operation for the community authorities as well as an import operation for the British authorities.

What are the Inland Border Facilities?

The IBF are points set up by the British government to review documentation away from the port locations. They act as offices for both outbound as well as inbound journeys. They check: the Common Transit Convention (CTC), the ATA carnet, the TIR code, the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

In which cases do I have to go to an IBF?

Transport professionals must go to an IBF if:

  • They have entered or plan to leave the United Kingdom via Dover, the Eurotunnel or Holyhead, and they need to start or end a CTC movement, a CITES checks, an ATA carnet document or a stamped TIR carnet.
  • They have been directed to go there to unblock the movement at the border.
  • They have been directed to go there for a physical or documentary inspection of their load.

Are there information sites in Britain?

Yes, there are advice sites located in service stations on motorways and truck stops, where heavy vehicle drivers can;

  • Take a COVID-19 test which is required to cross in France.
  • Learn about the regulations and required documents to transport goods from the United Kingdom.
  • Complete a free border readiness to ensure that you have the necessary documentation to enter the EU.
  • Receive help using the inspection service for heavy vehicles to check if the vehicle is prepared to cross the border.

What is the safety and security declaration?

The four forms in which goods can be moved across borders —pre-notification, CTC, ATA or TIR— require a safety and security declaration, which may be the exit summary declaration (EXS) or the entry summary declaration (ENS).

The transport professional must send an ENS to the customs authority of the country so that the load will enter in the import control system. The safety and security declarations must be presented for imports and exports of Great Britain. However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, ENS are waived until 30 June 2021. EXS are waived until 31 March for containers and unladen vehicles that move by virtue of a transport contract to the EU, and for goods movements in RoRo vehicles required to provide an exit summary declaration.