How road transport companies and their drivers must secure their vehicles to stop people using them to enter the UK illegally and to avoid being fined.
In the UK, a vehicle driver, owner or hirer can be fined up to £2000 for every ‘clandestine entrant’, a person who hides in or on a vehicle to avoid UK border control, who tries to enter the UK.
Road transport companies and their drivers must secure vehicles coming into the UK to stop ‘clandestine entrants’. A clandestine entrant is a person who hides in or on a vehicle to avoid going through UK border control.
If you don’t secure your vehicle, and you’re found carrying clandestine entrants into the UK, you’ll get a fine (also known as a ‘civil penalty’).
You face a fine of up to £2,000 for each clandestine entrant you carry. The vehicle’s driver, owner or hirer can be fined.
The law applies to all arrivals into the UK, including from European sea ports and on the Eurotunnel Shuttle.
Secure your vehicle
You and your driver can be fined if don’t have an effective system to secure your vehicle, or if it isn’t used properly.
For your company, an effective system includes:
- written instructions for drivers on how to use the system
- robust security devices to effectively secure the vehicle, load and load space
- training for drivers on how to use the system and security devices
- giving vehicle security checklists to drivers
- checking that drivers are following the instructions
You should read the code of practice on preventing clandestine entrants.
For your drivers, an effective system includes:
- security devices (eg a padlock, seals and tilt cord) to secure vehicles after loading
- checking the security devices and vehicle thoroughly after each stop and before entering the UK
- recording checks on a vehicle security checklist
Your drivers should read the guide on ‘How to avoid a penalty: 10 steps to an effective system for drivers’.
If someone hides in your vehicle
Your drivers should contact the police if they suspect that someone is hiding in a vehicle.
Before departing for the UK
Your drivers must not go through UK border control, or board transport to the UK, if they suspect there’s someone hiding in the vehicle they’re driving.
They should contact the police in the country they’re in or speak to border control at the port where they plan to board. They can also contact Border Force at the port where they plan to arrive.
After arriving in the UK
Drivers shouldn’t approach anyone hiding in a vehicle. They should stay in the cab of the vehicle and contact the local police.
The police will take the driver’s details and your company’s details, and tell Border Force about the clandestine entrants.
You and your driver may get letters from the clandestine entrant civil penalty team, which is part of Border Force, asking for information about the security system in place on that day.
At UK border control
Your driver may be interviewed about the security system they’re using if clandestine entrants are found in your vehicle at UK border control, at a port in the UK or anywhere in Europe.
They can refuse to be interviewed and leave at any stage, but it’s in their interest to give as much information as they can. Your company and the vehicle’s owner or hirer may also be asked for information.
Your information will be used to help decide who will be fined, and by how much. For examples of how this is decided, read the ‘Level of penalty: code of practice’.
If you get a fine
You’ll get a form (‘Form IS11’) showing the amount of the fine. You must pay it within 60 days of the form’s issue date.
Object to a fine
You have the right to object to a fine. You must do this within 28 days. Your ‘Form IS11’ explains how to object.
You can also read the guidance on objections and appeals.
Appeal against a fine
You have the right to appeal against a fine to a country court. You must do this within 28 days of:
- the issue date on your ‘Form IS11’ if you didn’t object to the fine
- the date your objection is decided if you objected to the fine
Use ‘Form N161’ to appeal. It includes guidance notes.
How to pay your fine
You can read the guidance notes on how to pay your fine.
If your vehicle is detained
Your vehicle may be detained because of:
- unpaid fines
- concern that you won’t pay a fine on time
Your vehicle will only be released when all outstanding fines have been paid, plus the costs of the detention.
How you can reduce fines
You can join an accreditation scheme to help reduce your fines.
To qualify, you must have an effective security system for your vehicles. You must also make sure the system is used properly. This includes training and checking drivers.
Companies in the scheme must continue to meet all the requirements to avoid being fined.
Individual drivers can’t join the scheme. They can still be fined if their employer is in the scheme.
You can apply for the accreditation scheme using the application form.
Contact the clandestine entrant civil penalty team (CECPT)
You can contact the CECPT to get information about fines and the accreditation scheme for companies.
Telephone: 00 44 (0)1303 299 298
Fax: 00 44 (0)1303 299 291