Get UK customs clearance when exporting goods outside the EU: step by step

How to make an export declaration and get goods through the UK border.

  1. Step 1 Check if you need to follow this process

    There are other tasks you need to do before you can get goods through customs.

    1. Check the whole process for exporting goods to countries outside the EU

    Most businesses that export goods use a transporter or customs agent to make the declaration and get their goods through UK customs.

  2. Step 2 Set up your business for making customs declarations

    The business exporting the goods and any transporter or customs agent acting on their behalf both need an EORI number.

    1. Get an EORI number

    You'll use the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system to make a declaration. To access CHIEF, you need to register for the National Export System (NES).

    1. Apply for access to NES

    You can apply for simplified declaration procedures and for Authorised Economic Operator status. These are most suitable for businesses that export goods regularly.

    1. Find out about using simplified declaration procedures
    2. Check if Authorised Economic Operator status is right for you
  3. and Register to export plant products or controlled goods

  4. Step 3 Submit the export declaration

  5. Step 4 Get the goods across the UK border

    Arrange for the goods to be taken to the port or location you named in the export declaration. Include the invoice and any licences or certificates for the goods.

    You or your transporter will be asked for the ‘master reference number’ of the export declaration. Staff at the port might check the goods and export documentation before allowing them to cross the UK border.

  6. Step 5 Get the goods released if they're held up at the UK border

    The goods may be held up at customs, for example if:

    • you do not have the right licences for the goods or business
    • they did not pass inspection
    • they've been combined with a shipment that has been held up

    If this happens you will be told why.

    1. Contact the National Clearance Hub to get help