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Relyon's Guide to UK Border Control

Relyon's Guide to UK Border Control

Many of our Dover port parking customers enquire about UK Border Control regulations and rules that may affect them when crossing the English Channel. Thus, in this post we discuss well-known and some not-so-well-known UK Border Control regulations you need to be aware of when you choose to travel to France by ferry.

Passport requirements

When you arrive in France, your passport will be checked. Likewise, your passport will also be checked when you return to the UK. Your passport states your nationality, identity and your right to travel or return to a country. If you live outside of the European Community, you may also require a visa to travel between Dover and Calais.

The UK Border Authority now conducts passport checks for people leaving as well as entering the United Kingdom.

Types of Entry and Exit Points

Most UK ports and airports have in force three entry and exit points. The point of entry/exit you must choose depends on your chosen destination and the nature of goods you carry. If you travel within the EU with no banned or 'restricted good', you must enter/exit via the 'blue' channel. If you travel or return to a destination outside the EU, you must choose the green channel. The third 'red' channel is reserved for passengers who i) have goods or cash to declare or ii) have commercial goods.

Duty-free goods

You are allowed to return goods to the UK from France on the condition these goods are for your own use. 'Own use' means your own personal use or gifting the goods to another. Since France is an EU country, you are allowed to bring an unlimited amount of most goods back into the UK. This includes alcohol and tobacco products. However, if you are found to be carrying more than 800 cigarettes, 1kg of tobacco or over 110 litres of beer/90 litres of wine/10 litres of spirits, you are highly likely going to be questioned by the UK Border Forces.

These 'questions' typically revolve around the below issues:

  • The type and quantity of goods you have bought
  • Why you bought them
  • How you paid for them
  • Whether all your goods are openly displayed or concealed
  • How often you travel
  • How much you normally smoke or drink
  • Any other relevant circumstances

Banned or restricted goods

Below a list of banned or restricted goods policed by the UK Border Force. You are not allowed to bring in 'banned' goods into the UK regardless of whether you have travelled from inside or outside of the EU.

A list of banned or restricted goods is as follows:

  • Illegal drugs
  • Offensive weapons, e.g. flick knives
  • Self-defense sprays, e.g. pepper spray and CS gas
  • Endangered animal and plant species
  • Rough diamonds
  • Indecent and obscene materials
  • Personal imports of meat and dairy products from most non-EU countries


You may transport an unlimited amount of food from France. This includes dairy, meat and other animal products. Similar to alcohol, all food must be for your own personal use. This includes personal consumption or gifting food to another. Alternative rules apply to food intended for resale back in the UK, the details of which fall outside the remit of this post.

Pets and other animals

You can bring a dog, cat or ferret into the UK without harsh quarantine requirements on the proviso you meet the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) rules.

Useful Links

Below we list useful/further resources for further study and guidance: