GVMS? GMR? Details and tips for traders on UK customs requirements
Customs systems

GVMS? GMR? Details and tips for traders on UK customs requirements

Full customs controls are in effect for EU trade across UK borders since January 1, 2022. GVMS and GMR play a vital role. Ensure compliance and avoid delays.

What is the GVMS and where is it used?

The goods vehicle movement service (GVMS) is an IT platform of the UK government for moving goods into or out of Northern Ireland and Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales). UK border locations have the option to control the movement of goods using either an inventory system or the GVMS. Involved ports can also manage a mixed-mode approach where both the temporary storage model (inventory-linked) and pre-lodgement model (GVMS) are operating within one border location.

You can find the official list of UK ports using GVMS here

What is a GMR and why do you need it?

Since January 1, 2022, it is mandatory to use GVMS as part of the customs clearance process for goods that move through a port in the UK that uses this service (either exclusively or in the mixed-model approach). Ports using GVMS require pre-lodged customs declaration references to be linked together within a single goods movement reference (GMR). The GMR consolidates multiple declaration reference numbers into a single goods movement reference with the aim to accelerate the customs clearance of goods.

It is important to note that you will not be able to move goods without a GMR through UK border locations that use the goods vehicle movement service – and you may face delays at the port.

You can find official guidance on how to get a GMR here.

Common errors and tips for GVMS and GMR compliance

UK customs requirements were launched in a phased approach since the UK officially left the EU in January 2021. It’s not been an easy transition for companies moving goods to and from the EU across UK borders. Full customs controls apply since January 1, 2022, and businesses still struggle to efficiently manage their import, export, and transit declarations.

Some companies particularly struggle to master the new GVMS and GMR requirements that now form an integral part of the UK customs process. The UK government has released various guidance documents and useful tips based on common user errors thus far to support traders, carriers, and hauliers. The following points may help you to ensure compliance and avoid delays: 

  • Get a GMR for all movements, including empties.
  • Do not use 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.
  • Do not add EU export movement reference numbers (MRN) numbers into the GMR.
  • Ensure that you are entering the correct type of declaration reference that 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, please refer to the UK government website
  • Declarants: Use the dual location code for all export declarations from GB to EU when moving through the border locations of Dover and Eurotunnel.
  • 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.

Traders, hauliers, carriers, and postal operators can find more information on how to work with the GVMS including a list of journeys that may require a GMR on this dedicated UK government page

UK customs system: From CHIEF to CDS

Preparations for the UK government system change from CHIEF to CDS have been underway for some time. Final deadlines have been released for 2022 and 2023. Learn more about the details of the change, what you need to do, and what your options are.