P&O FERRIES

Dover - Calais

1 January 2022 Changes to Process


  1. A GMR is required for all vehicles, including empties - For a step-by-step guide on using GVMS to create GMR’s go here.
  2. The French MRN(s) or Envelope Logistique reference number and the GMR ID will be required in order to check-in.

These changes have been incorporated into the guide below.

For more information on how to complete your customs declarations for ‘standard goods’ (Non- Transit) when you ship under GVMS, please visit gov.uk.

Initial Steps


  1. Register for an EORI number
  2. If you are moving goods into or out of the UK, you will need a UK EORI number – if you do not already have one, you can apply here. If your business is also responsible for completing the import declaration when the goods are imported into the EU, you will also need an EU EORI number which you can obtain from the customs authority in the EU country where you submit your first customs declaration. You only need to register once for each.

  3. Responsibility for the import and export declarations
  4. Determine whether you will submit import and/or export declarations to each customs authority yourself or whether you will use a forwarder or customs agent for this. You must decide with your supply-chain partners as to who is responsible for the relevant declaration documentation.

  5. Make your booking with P&O Ferries
  6. Make your booking in the same way you always have, whether this is via: EDI, an online credit account, an authorised auto list, the new Pay ‘n Go web and app or whether you just turn up at the port. Depending on the type of goods you are carrying, you may need to submit additional information about your booking, consignment and goods.

  7. Pre-lodge declarations
  8. Pre-lodge an export declaration with HMRC and an import declaration with French Customs, as well as the necessary entry summary declaration (ENS) in the French Import Control System (ICS). It is compulsory for all hauliers carrying goods from the Dover to Calais to complete the ENS/ICS declarations or risk a 300-3000 EURO fine from the French Authorities.

    • Creating GMRs
    • All customers should submit appropriate declarations and populate their GMR with the resulting reference numbers. More information can be found here.

      You can use BEEMS Pre-lodgement to obtain your GMR. It is a purpose-built online product, which you will find on our parent company, DP World’s, CARGOES Community platform. The easy to use tool connects direct to the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) and offers users real-time status updates and notifications on your GMR.

      Alternatively you can use the UK government’s free (GVMS) system to create a GMR.

    • Creating Safety & Security Declarations
    • DP World CARGOES Community also offers a Safety and Security Declarations product, an easy to use solution you can use to obtain the necessary ENS/ICS declarations and avoid any risk of fines.

    • Exit Summary Declarations (EXS)
    • Please note that as of 1 October 2021, the temporary waiver on Exit Summary Declarations (EXS) ended, meaning that an EXS will be mandatory for ALL UK Exports that do not already require a full Customs Declaration as set out above. On our Dover-Calais route, this includes:

      • Goods in roll on roll off (RoRo) vehicles
      • Empty units (vehicles, lift units, trailers), empty returns packaging, stillage’s and pallets etc including those moved under a transport contract
      • Movements under Transit formalities (that do not require a full Customs Declaration)

      However, Safety & Security Declaration (EXS) is NOT required for Empty accompanied (Self Drive) RoRo shipments (this includes; empty, empty returns packaging, stillage’s and pallets etc).

      For clarity - the carrier is the operator of the active means of transport. For accompanied RoRo , the carrier is the haulier, this means that if a haulier is moving their own empty accompanied vehicle onto a RoRo ferry, then this would not be moving it under a transport contract. Therefore, NO Export Safety & Security Declaration (EXS) is required for shipment.

      There are two options for submitting your EXS declaration:

      OPTION 1: Through DP World CARGOES Community’s Customs Declarations product 

      OPTION 2: SUBMITTING AN EXPORT FULL DECLARATION IN CHIEF

      You will need to submit an ‘arrived’ Exit Summary Declaration which removes the requirement to submit a separate arrival message in CHIEF. To do this, you will need to submit an Export Full Declaration in CHIEF using the new Customs Procedure Code (CPS) - 10 00 056.

      Once your exit summary declaration is accepted, a movement reference number (MRN) will be issued. The declarant will be notified by CHIEF whether permission to progress has been given or whether further checks are required.

      You should not move to the border location until P2P is received, or you are asked to do so. Once this has happened, you may proceed to Dover port and the goods may be exported. Failure to advise P&O before port arrival may result in the vehicle being refused entry to the terminal or additional handling charges having to be applied by the port operator.

      If you are transporting an empty unit, then for the French import, this can be declared at check-in, there is no requirement for a formal declaration into French Customs systems to be made. For multiple consignments please create an envelope of declarations, or ‘enveloppe logistique’, here.

  9. Animal or Plant Products
  10. If you are despatching a lorry that contains animal or plant products, you should ensure that the driver has the necessary health certificate(s).


Before arrival at Dover

Exports from the UK to France must receive export clearance in the UK with a GMR and must be pre-declared for importation into France with MRN (Movement Reference Number) barcodes, issued by French customs. Barcodes can be in physical paper form or digital form (via a smart device).

If drivers have multiple MRNs these must be grouped together using the Envelope Logistique service. This means they will then have one master MRN which will speed up the check in process. This service can be found here.

A GMR must be in place prior to arrival at the port.

Drivers must have all the relevant documentation before reaching the port or their goods will not be able to enter the terminal. P&O Ferries will not be able to process emails containing customs information at check-in.

Drivers will also need to have at least six months left on their passports to be able to enter into France. 

For rules on carrying pets, read below:

If a customer is carrying pets (up to 5) then the following health checks must be done on the animals in advance of travelling:

  • For each animal travelling they must have been microchipped and have a valid passport that can be scanned
  • The Pet must have been vaccinated against rabies - the pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated
  • The pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its primary rabies vaccination
  • The must have waited 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before travel
  • If the blood test result is not successful, the pet will need a repeat vaccination and another blood test taken at least 30 days after the repeat vaccination
  • The customer must also take their pet to the vet no more than 10 days before travel to get an AHC. (The AHC needs to be signed by an official vet.)

For rules on carrying horses, read below:

If a customer is carrying horses then the following steps must be taken prior to arrival at the port of Dover:

  • A inspection date and time slot must be arranged with SIVEP in Calais and a reference obtained for the booking, at least 48 hours prior to travel
  • A booking must be made with P&O Ferries so numbers of Horses travelling can be established by P&O Ferries
  • The ferry booking must be made to arrive in plenty of time for travel to the SIVEP location and the timed inspection slot
  • The SIVEP inspection reference must be given to P&O Ferries as soon as known so it can be noted against the booking and checked against documentation upon arrival at Dover

At check-in in Dover

Drivers will be asked a series of questions to establish the contents of the vehicle and supporting documentation. 

Drivers of empty trailers should complete our standard check-in process including border exit checks and move to the loading lanes in preparation to board the vessel.

Drivers of all loaded trailers must present the correct declaration MRNs and the GMR to our check-in staff on arrival (including for transit documentation where applicable).

Drivers should inform check-in staff if their vehicle contains live animals, animal products, fish or plant products.

Please also download the very useful mobile app the Port of Calais have created to help guide you and keep you updated.


On board our vessel

Customers using BEEMS Pre-lodgement can view the status of the GMR through the tool and users will be sent status notifications by (via SMS and Email). This will indicate if Goods require an inspection at arrival.

Customers using GVMS can view the status of the GMR via the gov.uk service.

Vehicles/units without a release note will not be able to leave the terminal.

Drivers should check the TV screens in the Freight Drivers Lounges which will indicate whether each vehicle has been cleared by French authorities to exit the port immediately on arrival (green/VERT) or has been selected for examination (orange).

The on-board display will show ORANGE-DOUANE for customs checks and ORANGE-SIVEP for animal and plant health controls, see below:

Onboard Image

Port of Calais has developed an app called "e-border Calais port", allowing drivers and hauliers to check the customs status of the goods transported, in the lorry or the trailer during the crossing. You can find it here.


Arrival in Calais

Drivers should follow the appropriate signs on disembarkation - take either the orange or green lane depending on their clearance status.

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