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GVMS: Top tips and latest guides

(S,P) The UK's pre-lodgement customs declarations system allows businesses to get prior approval to move goods into and out of the country. Find out how it works.

GVMS is Great Britain's Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS). Using it will allow carriers to generate a Goods Movement Reference (GMR).

11 February 2022

2nd Guide published

GVMS Border Guide - 2nd Edition
Download PDF • 273KB

Latest information 6 January 2022

HMRC have been made aware of some common user errors occurring when customers are creating Goods Movement References (GMRs) into GVMS.

If you’re moving goods through border locations that use GVMS, make sure that you:

1. Get a GMR for all movements, including empties.

2. Do not use the trailer references when entering your Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) into the GMR for an accompanied movement, as this means the carrier will be unable to validate your GMR. The VRN must match the vehicle presenting the GMR.

3. Do not add EU export Movement Reference Numbers (MRN) numbers into the GMR.

4. Ensure that you are entering the correct type of declaration reference which is relevant for your movement. For exports via CHIEF or CDS this is the DUCR, for imports via CDS this is the MRN and for imports via CHIEF this is the ERN. For full details around which declaration types should be entered in a GMR refer to Get a goods movement reference on GOV.UK.

5. Declarants - Use the dual location code for all exports declarations from GB to EU - when moving through the border locations of Dover and Eurotunnel.

6. Declarants - Ensure that RRS01 is included on your import or export declaration if your goods are being moved via a GVMS border location, otherwise the GMR will be invalid and your goods will be delayed.

If you do not do this, you will be unable to board the vessel.

HMRC continues to undertake a wide variety of engagement activity with stakeholders to ensure they understand the new obligations and processes which will be in place.

Register for GVMS and find out how to move goods through ports that use the service.


The pre-lodgement model GVMS has officially entered into operation on 1 January 2021. but it is gradually rolled out across port in Great Britain. From 1 January 2021, it started operation only in GB-NI (Northern Ireland) trade and for transit movements. Since 1 January 2022, it will be used for movements between the EU and GB.

GVMS is used for what movements?

Since 1 January 2021, hauliers need to get a GMR to move goods from:

  1. the EU to Great Britain (for transit movements only)

  2. Great Britain to Northern Ireland

Businesses may also need a GMR to move goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain (for example for transit movements).

From 1 January 2022, this will be extended to the EU movements,

To be more specific,

  • goods from the EU to Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) – until the end of 2021, a GMR was only required if businesses were moving goods under the Common Transit Convention using a Transit Accompanying Document. From 2022, a GMR will be required for movements from the EU to GB.

  • goods from Great Britain to the EU – a goods movement reference will also be required.

  • goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland – a goods movement reference is required for all movements into Northern Ireland ports using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service

  • goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain – a goods movement reference is only required in the following circumstances:

  • Common Transit Convention movements

  • TIR and ATA Carnet movements

  • from the Republic of Ireland to Great Britain through a Northern Ireland port

  • movements from Northern Ireland to Great Britain under a customs special procedure or on a list of goods where specific international processes apply.

The process at the Port

Carriers (such as ferries and transport companies carrying the trucks, transporting a vehicle for a haulier) will require hauliers to give them the reference generated by a GMR when they arrive to use the crossings on these routes. This applies even to empty vehicles making a crossing.

Each GMR contains details for a single crossing and can be used only once.

The top 4 purposes of the GVMS

The Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS):

  1. Links declaration references together. This means the person moving goods only needs to present one reference at the frontier to prove that their goods have pre-lodged declarations.

  2. Links the movement of goods to declarations, meaning they can be automatically arrived and departed in HMRC systems in near-real-time.

  3. Notifies customers whether their inbound goods have been successfully cleared in HMRC systems by the time they arrive in the UK.

  4. At border locations using the GVMS to control goods, pre-lodged declaration references will need to be linked together within a single Goods Movement Reference (GMR).

What the TRADER needs to do

If you’re a trader sending goods, you must:

  1. Check if the port where the goods are arriving is using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service because you need to pre-lodge declarations.

  2. Before the goods arrive at the departure port you must give the haulier your movement reference numbers from any safety and security declarations, import or export declaration, TIR and ATA Carnet numbers.

  3. Alternatively, you must give your EORI number if you’re approved to make an entry in your own records.

  4. If your goods are travelling under the Common Transit Convention, you must give the haulier all relevant Transit Accompanying Documents, as well as the movement reference numbers for any safety and security declarations.

  5. A single vehicle may be carrying more than one transit movement. You must give the haulier a Transit Accompanying Document for each movement and a movement reference number for each safety and security declaration.

What a HAULIER needs to do

If your business has been hired by someone to move goods, you must:

  1. Check if the ports where the goods are moving from and to are using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

  2. Register for the Goods Vehicle Movement Service if you’re a haulier.

  3. Get a goods movement reference.

You must follow instructions about whether you need to get your goods checked by customs on arrival or if you’re able to continue your journey. If a check is required, you will receive a message advising this, and you will need to report to Border Force.

What a CARRIER needs to do

If you’re transporting a vehicle for a haulier, you must:

  • Check if the port where the goods are arriving is using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

  • Get access to the carrier application platform interface (API).

  • Check if a goods movement reference is valid.

Webinar on GVMS (EU GB)

Webinar on GVMS (GB NI)

The border in the English Channel and the Irish Sea now requires additional "paperwork" to be filed in various computer systems to set timeframes to enable effective customs controls. Trading with Great Britain and Northern Ireland will become a "festival of data exchanges" (positive spin). in 2020, HMRC recorded a very informative and useful webinar on GVMS which we have the pleasure to share with you today.

GVMS: Empty loads and loads with Multiple import or export declarations

From 1 January 2022, hauliers must continue to create a goods movement reference (GMR) for empty loads or loads with multiple import or export declarations.


GVMS: EU Customer Journey

GVMS Customer Journey 1
Download PDF • 290KB

GVMS: NI Customer Journey

GVMS Customer Journey NI
Download PDF • 215KB

HMRC presentation

EU-GB GVMS Detailed Presentation HMRC provided by Customs Manager Ltd
Download PDF • 849KB

Leaflet for 2022

Download PDF • 217KB


GMVS Flyer Deutsch
Download PDF • 123KB


GMVS Flyer French
Download PDF • 125KB


GMVS Flyer Spanish
Download PDF • 124KB

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