Dover - Calais

However you transact with us today, the objective is to get the necessary documentation and information onto our system, which will then be passed on to the correct authorities for you.

A full step by step walkthrough of this process is below.

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. Through our digital solutions partner, CNS, we can offer a new low-cost and easy to use solution to help you obtain the necessary ENS/ICS declarations and avoid any risk of fines. Click here to create and submit the declarations.

    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 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.

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. The image below from French customs shows which documents will need to be scanned in order to be able to enter France.


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

Day of Travel Process

The Port of Calais has created a user-friendly diagram to follow. You can download it here.

Port of Calais leaflet

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

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 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.

On board our vessel

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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