Attending an inland border facility


Last updated: 3 August 2021

This guidance will help you to understand how to prepare to visit an inland border facility (IBF) and the process to follow when you arrive.

Before you go to an inland border facility

  1. Check what services are offered at each of our inland border facilities, not all inland border facilities carry out the same functions.
  2. Check how busy an IBF is before leaving for your journey.
  3. Book in to attend an IBF. Booking in will mean we should be able to deal with you more quickly.

Traders using an Authorised Consignor or Consignee (ACC) do not need to attend an inland border facility. ACCs can start and end transit movement of goods at their own premises.

You only need to attend an inland border facility if you’re travelling through the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel or Holyhead and you’re moving:

  • goods under the Common Transit Convention and are not using the services of an Authorised Consignor/Consignee (ACC) to start or end your Transit movements
  • goods into the country under the Common Transit Convention and have been instructed to report to a site for those goods to be checked
  • goods, excluding live animals, using an ATA Carnet
  • goods, excluding live animals, covered by CITES (Convention for International Trade on Endangered Species)

When you do not need to come to an inland border facility
You do not need to come to an inland border facility if you:

  • have a vehicle that is empty
  • are travelling in and out of the UK via other ports
  • are using the services of an Authorised Consignor/Consignee (ACC)
  • are using other (non-Common Transit Convention) import or export procedures to move your goods in or out of the UK
  • are transporting live animals, except Defra prioritised goods

Get ‘border ready’

Get ready before you reach Kent
You must be ‘border ready’ before you reach Kent ports or you’ll be turned back and could be fined.

If you’re crossing the Channel through the Eurotunnel or the Port of Dover, you must check a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) is ready to cross the border

Important: You are strongly encouraged to get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test before you reach Kent. If you have a negative test, your passage to the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel will be quicker.

For outbound movements leaving the UK through the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel
If you need to use an inland border facility and are coming to Kent from elsewhere, you should get ready before arriving in Kent. Do not wait until you’ve reached the port in Kent or you will be turned back.

To get ready you should either:

  • attend an inland border facility at Birmingham or Warrington to carry out certain customs procedures before you reach Kent
  • attend an inland border facility at North Weald or Ebbsfleet to carry out limited customs procedures

Get ready before you travel to Holyhead. If your journey allows, you can also make use of the services at Warrington or Birmingham inland border facilities before you arrive at Holyhead.

Check for more information on getting ready for Welsh ports on the website.

Documents you’ll need to bring

You’ll need all relevant paperwork in relation to your movement.

CTC movements
To start a movement, you’ll need to get the Local Reference Number (LRN) from your agent or freight forwarder for every consignment, and provide the LRN(s) at the Office of Departure to get a Transit Accompanying Document (TAD)

To end a movement at an Office of Destination, you’ll need to present the TAD and provide the Movement Reference Number (MRN) for every consignment.

ATA Carnet movements
For both inbound and outbound movements, you’ll need to present the ATA Carnet documents for each consignment.

CITES movements
For both inbound and outbound movements, you’ll need to present a CITES permit for each consignment.

Defra prioritisation (seafood and day-old chicks) – Ebbsfleet only
You will only need to attend Ebbsfleet inland border facility once Prioritisation of Goods has been activated. For outbound only you will need to have all requisite export documentation necessary for your consignment. Once the prioritised load is verified, you’ll be issued a permit and vehicle identification sticker so you can proceed to the port, for departure into the EU.

Locations of inland border facilities

You can find a list of inland border facility locations on the GOV.UK website.

Stop 24 and Dover Western Docks
There is some limited government-provided Office of Destination capacity at the offices of Dover Western Docks and Stop 24 for those who need to use an inland border facility.

Transit movements entering the UK at the Port of Dover should complete Office of Destination at Dover Western Docks.

Transit movements entering the UK using the Eurotunnel should complete Office of Destination at Stop 24.

This is in addition to existing commercial operations already provided at these sites.

Tell HMRC that you’re going to be attending an inland border facility

You should tell HMRC in advance that you’re attending an inland border facility if the goods you’re moving:

  • are going to an office of departure or office of destination (starting or ending a transit movement)
  • are covered by an ATA Carnet
  • need a CITES permit

Regardless of why you attend the site, if your goods have been flagged as ‘held’ for a compliance check, you must let front office staff know about this upon your arrival.

You can also check if there are any delays at an inland border facility.

What to expect when visiting an inland border facility

There will be local signage in place to help direct you to the site along the strategic main roads.

Upon arrival at the site, you’ll be greeted by a traffic management marshal.

There will be automatic number plate recognition cameras at the entry and exit points of the site. This monitors vehicles entering and exiting the site to manage traffic and security.

A quick visual inspection of the vehicle will be done by security marshals at the entry check point. For example, they’ll check that there are no leaks and that the vehicle is not prohibited as a result of these checks.

Following this, you’ll be directed to a vacant parking bay. Once you’ve parked your vehicle, you’ll be asked to switch your engine off by the traffic marshal and to keep it off whilst you’re parked. There should be no idling of engines.

If your goods have been flagged as ‘held’ for a compliance check, you must tell front office staff this when you arrive.

You’ll then take your documents to the front office and be directed to wait in your vehicle while the paperwork is processed. Once this is complete, you’ll receive either an approval and exit receipt to move off site, or a non approval where you will follow a separate process.

You’ll then be able to exit the site and re-join the strategic main road.

If your vehicle is excluded
It’s possible that vehicles may arrive at the site which are classed as ‘excluded’ from the requirement to park on the site. This is based on things like load content, vehicle size and the presence of hazardous goods. If there are any issues, your vehicle will be moved to the marshal inspection bays for further examination by a senior security marshal.

Vehicles are excluded if they contain:

  • livestock and other live loads (exemptions to this apply on sites that process CITES movements)
  • any vehicle transporting abnormal loads, which are:
    • a weight of more than 44,000kg
    • an axle load of more than 10,000kg for a single non-driving axle and 11,500kg for a single driving axle
    • a width of more than 2.9m
    • a rigid length of more than 18.65m
  • the following hazardous goods:
    • class 1 substances and articles (explosives) and class 4.1 substances (polymerizing substances)
    • category I or II nuclear material
    • high consequence dangerous goods
    • class 6.1 substances (insecticides)
  • vehicles subject to Special Types General Order (STGO) 2003

Duration of the checks
We estimate that you will need between 1 to 2 hours at the facility to go through customs clearance. Make sure you leave sufficient time when planning your journey.

The sites are staffed and operated 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Once you’ve completed the paperwork process, you can return to your vehicle and you should leave immediately.

Facilities available on sites
All sites will provide water, toilets, and handwashing facilities. Additional facilities are offered on a site-by-site basis as outlined in each site-specific section. Cookers and fires are not permitted on-site.

Coronavirus secure measures
The inland border facilities comply with current coronavirus (COVID-19) government guidance.