Transit procedures apply where goods are transported from Ireland to continental Europe through the UK  ‘land bridge’. The United Kingdom has recently acceded to the Common Transit Convention by which it recognises EU transit movements as valid in the United Kingdom. The convention avoids the necessity of making a double set of declarations both to the Irish/EU customs authority to cover the goods while temporarily outside the European Union and to the UK authority, HMRC to cover the goods while in the United Kingdom.

Any breaking of the journey, removal of goods or interference with the transit would have consequences under UK customs legislation as well as breaching the conditions of the EU transit. Goods may not be removed without being declared as an import. Goods may be added without being declared as an export from a UK perspective. Such action would break the EU procedure unless specifically declared to the EU (Irish) as well as the UK Revenue authorities.

Persons who accept the goods knowing they are under a transit procedure may be responsible for the presentation of the customs office of destination. The holder of the procedure retains full responsibility.

Transit Declarations

Transit declarations are entered through the new computerised transit system (NCTS). The system is completely electronic. There are older document based systems which exist in parallel including the TIR convention system which is significantly paper-based and requires greater sealing and approval/ certification of vehicles. This system and the ATA Carner at system are dealt with in other articles on this website.

Returns containing much of the information required for export and import declarations must be made. They are the subject of risk analysis by Revenue. Intervention may be undertaken. The Revenue considers issues in the same way as imports with reference to risks around the collection of duty undervaluation non-declaration as well as in the context of its function as agent and behalf of other departments such as the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Business Enterprise and Innovation and other governmental agencies

The consignor and consignee must be registered and have EORI numbers..

Process Ireland to France I

The following assumes that the consignor and consignee are authorised by Revenue for the purpose of undertaking commencement  and the termination of movements and  controls at their premises. Otherwise an initial presentation to customs / Revenue is required at the outset and on termination, in order to begin and terminate the procedure respectively.

When the return is made to Revenue by an authorise consignor, a message issues as to initial controls issue within 15 minutes. As with import and export declarations Revenue undertake a risk analysis in relation to the goods in the movement.

The MRN (movement reference number) and transit accompanying document will issue. This assumes that there has been no error and information furnished and intervention is not requested. The transit accompanying document is printed and accompanies the goods together with the MRN.

The default position is that the goods must be presented to customs at the office of export. They may be examined and may require to be sealed under customs supervision. Authorised consignors, may be permitted to undertake the process at their premises.

Under the Convention the UK HMRC checks the MRN and transit accompanying document as the office of transit. UK authorities have indicated that they will undertake these checks on the ferry entering the United Kingdom.

Process Ireland to France II

In the case of transit from Ireland to France through with UK landbridge, the checks are proposed to be undertaken before the ferry docks in Holyhead. The truck and container et cetera may move to the office of exit (Dover) unimpeded.

The goods together with the transit accompanying document must be presented to the office of entry in France. They will check the reference number and transit accompanying document. The check is expected to take a relatively short period. The goods must arrive within the time limit provided

The French office may  discharge the transit and notify the office of departure discharging the transit procedure and releasing the guarantee for this particular movement. With an authorised consignee the goods may move more quickly through French customs who do a brief check and register the movement. they may then proceed to the authorised consignee premises and may be discharged at that point.  Notice is given to the revenue authority and the authorised consignee can unload if  no notice of intervention is required within 15 minutes.

The reverse procedure applies in respect of the transit from continental Europe to Ireland. The checks are undertaken by the UK office of transit on entering the United Kingdom e.g. Dover


Persons using the transit procedure must give a financial guarantee. A comprehensive guarantee must be put in place by the trader in favour of Revenue. It may cover numerous declarations and different procedures. The guarantee may be in cash or by way of an undertaking/facility guarantee from a EU based financial institution. Waivers or reductions may be available subject to meeting certain criteria.

Separate from Brexit Revenue are obliged by the EU customs rules to update their guarantee requirements from traders. Assessment of existing guarantees may be required. The new requirements are applicable as from 1 May 2019.


The customs authorities may authorise simplifications.

Simplifications allow the use of electronic transport document for air and maritime transport which will be more generally available, in the future when systems are updated. There is a simplification for transit  declarations with reduced data. Much the same information as is required for an import and export declaration is required.

An authorised consignor may be authorised to carry out the transit operations at its premises rather than the goods at the customs office of departure. An authorised consignee may be authorised to receive the goods as premises for another specified place instead of the customs office of destination.

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