A transit document is required for the transport of goods under customs control (e.g. from a customs warehouse).
For goods that have been released (e.g. goods that you have produced yourself in the EU or goods from China for which an import declaration has already been made in the EU), a transit document is not a must but can be useful. An example from the current Swiss circulation illustrates this:
A transit document means your export document is immediately ‘deregistered’ and you receive conformation that the goods have left the EU. You will need this proof if the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration comes to check whether you have correctly calculated 0% VAT on your goods. In such a case, an export document will not suffice; you have to prove that the goods have actually left the EU. Without a transit document, the export document will only be deregistered at the external EU border. However, this is a process that generally runs smoothly.
With a transit document, the carrier can cross the border with Switzerland without having to submit an import declaration there. The carrier can continue to their final destination and submit their import declaration there, preventing waiting times at the border. If there is no transit document, the goods must be declared at the border.
In most cases, the carrier draws up the transit document. This is especially done in the case of general cargo where export consignments from several exporters are being transported, as they then only need to draw up one transit document for the entire lorry. The carrier charges the costs to you, either separately or as part of the total price.
But you can also choose to draw up your own transit documents (if you also make the export declaration yourself) or have SGS Maco do this for you. Thanks to our smart software, we can simply process export documents into transit documents, and save you money.
Whether or not transit documents are required in the UK for free goods depends on whether the UK will allow the carrier to drive to its final destination or a domestic location with a transit document in the UK without making an import declaration in the port. If the UK only allows import declarations in ports, part of the benefit of transit will be lost.