What to Expect when you Check-In at Dover

Taking your car with you when you travel to Europe offers the freedom to explore your destination at your leisure, but if you are taking your vehicle onto the ferry for the first time you may be wondering what to expect when you check-in at Dover.

There are just a few stages that you must pass through during the check-in process before you are on your way across the Channel, and you can feel rest-assured that it will be a simple and stress-free experience.

Have your passports checked

Check-In at Dover - Passport Control
Have your passports ready when you reach border control.

Once you arrive at the port you will need to join a lane for cars. There are some lanes that are for freight or coaches, but these are clearly marked. Check-in at Dover closes 45 minutes before your departure time, so make sure that you arrive in plenty of time to get through passport control.

The only thing that needs checking at the first booth you reach is your passport. All passengers will need to have their passports ready for inspection, and it is helpful to have these available in the front of the car and open at the photo page.

After this, you can follow the road around to the check-in booths, just make sure that you are in a P&O Ferries lane so that you reach one of our friendly employees.


Check-In at Dover - Check-In Booth
Receive your rear view hanger and tickets at the P&O Ferries booth.

It is at this second set of booths where you will check-in. Here, you will need both your booking reference number and passports, although your booking should be picked up by Automatic Number Plate Recognition if you have provided us with your registration number beforehand. If you have not booked your tickets yet, you can purchase these and will be put onto the next available ferry.

You will be provided with a hanger for your rear view mirror, and this should be hung with the lane information facing outwards. In addition to this, you will be given tickets which display the number of the lane you will need to join, and you should have these with your throughout the duration of your crossing, and for your return journey too.

Boarding the ferry

Check-In at Dover - Boarding
You will be directed to where you should park.

Following check-in, drive to your allocated lane where you can wait until it is time for you to board the ferry. You will find facilities here where you can buy food and drink, and there is a pet exercise area for those travelling with their dog.

You will hear an announcement when your ferry is ready for boarding, so you’ll know when to head back to your car. Simply drive onto the ferry when directed and one of our employees will show you where to park.

Don’t forget to take a look at which deck you are parked on, and remember coloured staircase you are parked closest to, as this will make it easy to find your car when it is time to disembark.

We hope that you find this information about what to expect when you check-in at Dover helpful, and look forward to welcoming you onto one of our Dover to Calais crossings soon.