Published on Sep 15, 2022
Goods Movement Reference (GMR)
In this post-Brexit, post-Covid world, travelling around Europe with filming equipment is a challenge upon itself. Before our worlds changed due to political reasoning and pandemic ongoings, travelling into Europe for work was tricky, but also a regular and fairly straightforward process. I would regularly be booked for shoots in France or Germany and would pick them up without a second thought. Now in this post Brexit landscape, the additional challenge of ensuring your paperwork is in order, can seem overwhelming.
In this brief blog post, I just want to point out my findings from regular travel into Europe for film shoots and try to demystify the post-Brexit travel process into Europe. For starters, I need to point out that I am no expert in the field of HMRC, traveling or post-Brexit negotiations. I'm merely a cameraman, with camera, who will travel...
So for starters... what is a carnet and why should I care? Well the ATA Carnet is basically a passport for goods. It's an international customs document which permits the temporary export and import of nonperishable goods, tax-free and duty free for up to one year. Essentially it's a binding document which states that the goods you are carrying, will not be sold in the countries you are visiting. Carnets have been around for years, and anyone filming or photographing professionally internationally outside of Europe will have come across one at some point. The difference is however, that anyone from the UK now wishing to travel with equipment into the EU, may now require one. If you don't have the correct paperwork in order when travelling with equipment, your equipment may be seized and tax levies placed on your equipment.
The process of obtaining an ATA Carnet is relatively straightforward although will require an hour or two of your time. To do so, for each item of equipment you plan to travel with, you need:
- Serial number
- Country of manufacture
- Weight (estimated)
You will also need to know, what countries you will be traveling to, the names and passport details of the people who will be travelling with the carnet and the length of time you will require the carnet for. ATA Carnets can last for up to one year and it maybe better value for money to get one that will cover you and your equipment for 6-12months rather than the few days your shoot might last.
You must then order an ATA Carnet through the relative channels. In the past, I've used Dynamic Dox but I know London Chamber of Commerce come highly recommended with a discount for GTC members.
From previous experience, it's taken 3-4 days for the paperwork to be delivered, however these can be turned around quicker if required (I believe!). Costs for an ATA Carnet vary, but previously I've paid between £750-1000 depending on length and value.
An alternative method of traveling without an ATA Carnet is by using a Duplicate List. I've personally not travelled with one previously, I've always used am ATA Carnet, however I've met crews the regularly use them with no issues. This can be done at home and does not require purchasing an ATA Carnet. However, it's worth bearing in mind, that if you do have any issues when traveling, you do not have a third party for support and it is up to you to ensure everything is correct.
To use a Duplicate List you will need:
- a description of the goods
- how many there are
- serial numbers, if the goods have them
- value of the goods
At customs, you’ll need to provide:
- 2 copies of the list
- a completed form C&E 1246 (form C&E 1246)
For more information on Duplicate Lists, visit https://www.gov.uk/taking-goods-out-uk-temporarily/duplicate-list
Now, with all your equipment packed up, tickets booked and documents in hand, you will need to ensure your paperwork is processed correctly as you travel. You will need to have your documents stamped at each port of exit/entry. If flying, you will need to do this before you check any equipment in. Usually you can find the Customs Office in the airport terminal. If the office is not open at that time, find the red phone (they are often well hidden...) and speak to a Customs Officer. They will either send someone to process your document or issue you with a reference number which will enable you to check your equipment in. A Customs Officer has the right to ask to see your equipment and the serial numbers and if they do so, you must follow instructions.
When it comes to stamping your documentation, you must list out what items are traveling with you and whether any items listed are not traveling. This ensures that there is a paper trail as to the movement of your equipment and you've not sold an item of equipment in the location you're traveling to without paying the correct customs fees. An officer will then stamp the document as you leave the UK. You must then get the paperwork stamped in the country you're traveling to as you land (usually by taking the red corridor into customs as you exit baggage reclaim). On exit from your destination, you must again get the paperwork stamped and again as you land in the UK.
If travelling by tunnel/ferry, you may well need to do some research before hand to find the nearest Customs Office to the terminal and have it stamped before you arrive.
Goods Movement Reference
If travelling by ferry/channel tunnel, you will also require a GMR (Goods Movement Reference). This is a reference number which is only valid per way... so if traveling overseas and returning, you will need two GMRs. These can be purchased for £45 per GMR from Dynamic Dox.
So in conclusion, that's an overview of how to get your equipment out and back into the country for filming in Europe. It's worth also bearing in mind that the correct visas may also need to applied for, however I think for up to 90 days, you should be ok... although it's worth checking the Gov Website before travel.