UK Transition - Frequently Asked Questions


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UK Transition FAQs

Common questions and answers about ferry and Eurotunnel Freight travel between Great Britain and the EU from January 2021.

Port Passes (known as GVMS GMR in GB, PBN in Ireland, SiBrexit in France) are created from Import MRNs. Without import MRNs you will not be able to generate a Port Pass with the relevant authority which will prevent access to the port.

Otherwise known as pre-lodgement or logistics envelope systems, Port Passes have been introduced by the UK and the EU to do two things -

  • Make sure ALL of the customs processes have been completed PRIOR to a vehicle arriving at the port
  • Acts as a trigger to update some of the customs procedures, such as the office of Transit, which lets customs authorities know the goods have left one customs territory and have entered another

We can help you with our NEW Port Pass Generator. Watch the video below or read our guide.


Each, different jurisdiction has a port pass system to contend with -

  • FRANCE - SI Brexit (export example - "Exxxxxx")
  • SPAIN - Teleport II*
  • BELGIUM - RX Seaport
  • NETHERLANDS - Portbase
  • REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - PBN (export example - "xxxxxxxx")

Along with any required Safety & Security ENS Declaration, all the separate export and import / transit MRN numbers are then entered into the GB and EU port pass systems. If the declarations have been submitted correctly, the entry will be accepted and validated.


When accepted, a single reference will be produced. For example, from the GVMS system (GB) and the PBN system (Republic of Ireland). If any of the MRN numbers are invalid, the entry will be rejected and the haulier will need to contact the customer.

These reference numbers are then passed onto the ferry company to complete one last check to make sure the declarations have been completely correctly.

port pass diagram

SSDs are a way of analysing the potential risk of goods that are being imported or exported. Imported goods need an ENS (Entry Summary Declaration). This information will go to the appropriate Import Control System (ICS). Read more

An S&SGB ENS declaration is what is needed from the end of 2023 when entering GB from the EU.

An ENS (Entry Summary Declaration) is used to assess and monitor the risk that goods may carry when they are crossing over into the border of a different customs territory. Making sure that these goods are monitored is crucial and you will not be able to conduct trade without a complete declaration.

Operation Brock is the traffic management scheme to safely direct Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) to both the Channel Tunnel (Folkestone) or the Port of Dover in the event there are severe delays in cross-channel travel.

Since April 2015, new traffic restrictions have been in place to help Dover’s residents go about their business without disruption from traffic using the Port, and to improve air quality in the town. This scheme is known as Dover TAP.

This means:

  • A 40mph speed restriction which applies to all vehicles approaching Dover from the west via the A20. This operates all day, every day.
  • Lorry drivers heading for the Port should remain in the left lane of the A20, from the Roundhill Tunnel all the way to the Port. At peak times, lorries queuing in the left lane will be held by traffic lights at the entry to Dover until space at the Port becomes available. In addition, lay-bys in the area will be closed, as will the coast-bound on-slip at the Courtwood junction on occasion.

You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

If you do not renew your passport, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

You can check whether your passport is valid for the country you’re visiting.

These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.

Take a look at our Customs Glossary for explanations of the common customs acronyms and terms.

You may still need to fill out SSDs (ENS/EXS), port passes and import/export declarations when transporting an empty vehicle from 1st January 2021. Read our guide

The Smart Freight System will compliment Operation Brock and they will work together to help the continual smooth flow of traffic through the system. The Smart Freight System is an automated service for RO-RO traffic, which will allow the driver to declare that they have all of the correct documentation digitally via a web-based portal. The Smart Freight App will allow enforcement officials to check vehicle registration and view the self-declaration form.

Read more

Download our customs process guides for basic and transit customs declarations, and haulier responsibilities including Safety & Security Declarations, port passes (GMR, PBN etc) and Kent Access Permits. Read more

If you are temporarily taking goods out of the UK, then you need to have an ATA Carnet.

Sometimes referred to as a 'passport for goods', an ATA Carnet is an international document that allows the temporary export and import of non-perishable goods for up to one year. This includes things such as tools of the trade, exhibition equipment and commercial samples.

Read more

Yes, the UK Customs Authorities have implented a different EORI number for NI declarations, starting with “XI” rather than “GB”. Read more

As an exporter, you need to make sure shipping and delivery responsibilities are written down and clearly understood. This is important as you only pay duty on the value of the goods and not the transportation, insurance etc. Read more

Yes, our customs partner CustomsLink has created one. Read more

From the 1st January 2021, you may be required to carry an import / export licence or certificate in order to transport particular goods between the UK and the EU. Read more

An IMO (International Maritime Organisation) number is a unique identifier that is given to all ships when they are constructed. When you complete your ENS you need to provide the IMO number of the vessel that you will be travelling upon. It is imperative that the IMO number that is submitted on the ENS matches that of the ship that you will be travelling on. Failure to submit a correct declaration will slow down your journey and prevent you from travelling until all of the documentation is completed correctly.

UPDATE 20/04/2021

"The following services closed on 20 April 2021:

  • Apply for a Kent Access Permit (KAP)
  • Check an HGV is ready to cross the border

You do not need a KAP to enter Kent."

To travel through Kent to the port of Dover and Folkestone terminal, HGV drivers (in vehicles over 7.5 tonnes) will be required to hold a Kent Access Permit (KAP) from January 2021. This permit will only be obtainable by drivers who have provided all of the correct documentation required for freight movement at the port. This permit will only be accessible for 24 hours.

Read more