What hauliers need to know about GVMS and the ‘pre-lodgement’ model for EU imports into Britain


DTS consortium partner the IOE&IT explains the importance of ‘pre-lodgement’ and completing the export and import paperwork before you check in to the port of departure



Although the UK left the EU single market and customs union at the end of 2020, full customs controls for EU imports into Great Britain have been introduced in phases. But from 1 January 2022 import declarations must be completed before EU goods arrive in Great Britain.

This ends an easement that has been in place throughout 2021 which allowed importers to delay completing their declaration requirements for 175 days (or roughly six months) after the goods arrived in Britain.


The government will also begin to implement its ‘pre-lodgement’ model at some ports. This means you will need to use the online Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) to ‘pre-lodge’ required declarations with HMRC before they board a ship heading to Britain.


Read on to understand the declarations you’ll need to complete, the pre-lodgement model, where it’s being adopted and the role of GVMS.


What declarations do businesses need to complete

for EU imports?

  • From 1 January 2022, businesses must complete import declarations before their goods arrive in Britain or are released from temporary storage upon arrival

  • From 1 July 2022, safety and security declarations are required for all imports

It should also be noted that each EU member state has its own declaration requirements for goods exiting the EU for Britain, and GB importers should liaise with their EU suppliers to determine what these are. Aside from customs declarations (which are required for all goods), the importer may be required to get additional licences and certificates, depending on the product being imported. Review gov.uk guidance for more information.


What is the pre-lodgement model?

Port operators have been given a choice of two approaches to deploy to allow importers to comply with new customs requirements:


1) The pre-lodgement model – Importers complete all declarations before the goods leave the EU, and customs clearance takes place while the goods are in transit (on the ship). This model enables companies to move their goods quickly and suits perishable or high-priority items like food and medicines.


2) Temporary storage model – Businesses provide the safety and security information required in both the EU and UK before their goods board the ferry, but customs formalities (i.e. completing an import declaration and receiving clearance from customs) occurs while goods are temporarily stored after arriving in a GB port.


Which ports are adopting the pre-lodgement model?

The pre-lodgement model will be adopted at Britain’s ‘roll on, roll off’ ports – i.e. those that facilitate a seamless onward journey into Britain once hauliers enter the country at the border, without any requirement for temporary storage at the port. For EU-to-GB imports, these ports

will be:


· Cairnyan · Dover

· Eurotunnel · Fishguard

· Harwich* · Heysham

· Holyhead · Hull*

· Immingham* · Killingholme*

· Liverpool · Newhaven

· Pembroke* · Plymouth*

· Poole* · Port of Tyne*

· Purfleet* · Tilbury*


At Felixstowe, Teesport and Portsmouth ports, you will only be able to use the temporary storage model on 1 January 2022.


Some ports will offer both models, or a ‘mixed model’ (indicated with an asterisk above). The government plans for all British ports to eventually adopt the pre-lodgement model. The government also plans to roll out this approach for other modes of transport. For more information, review the government’s Border Operating Model paper.

What is GVMS?


Hauliers transporting goods using the pre-lodgement model will need to use GVMS to pre-lodge the required declarations before leaving the EU. They will need to have generated a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) using GVMS in advance of boarding the ferry.


GVMS is also needed for goods arriving in Great Britain under the Transit procedure.


What is a Goods Movement Reference (GMR)?


A GMR indicates to a ferry operator carrying your goods to Britain that all the declarations required for the goods to enter the country have been completed.


This includes import declarations from 1 January 2022 and safety and security declarations from 1 July 2022.


Using this GMR, Border Force will clear the goods for entry into Britain while they are being transported overseas – so it is imperative that you register on GVMS and generate a GMR to carry EU goods into Britain and do so before heading to the EU port of exit.


Ferry operators will not allow you to board any ship travelling to Britain without a GMR.


To find out more about the steps you need to take to ensure you have a GMR before travelling to Britain, and the information businesses need to provide for this, please contact us or read more on Trading Basics.

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