Collection

Customs Declaration Service

This page brings together information about the Customs Declaration Service.

About the Customs Declaration Service

The Customs Declaration Service supports the UK’s trade with the:

  • EU
  • rest of the world

It plays an essential role in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) to Northern Ireland movements.

HMRC is closing the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system on 31 March 2023. The Customs Declaration Service is replacing it as the UK’s single customs platform.

All businesses will need to declare goods using the Customs Declaration Service.

HMRC will gradually reduce CHIEF services, with functionality switched-off in 2 phases. From:

  • Friday 30 September 2022, you will not be able to make import declarations using CHIEF
  • Friday 31 March 2023, you will not be able to make export declarations using CHIEF and the National Export System (NES)

Check if you need to use the Customs Declaration Service

You will need to make declarations on the Customs Declaration Service if you move goods to Northern Ireland. There are some limited exceptions when you need to submit an export declaration on the Customs Declaration Service for a movement of goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. You can still use CHIEF for exporting goods sent directly from Northern Ireland to outside the UK and EU.

If you move goods into Northern Ireland, you can use the Trader Support Service (TSS). It’s free to use and quick and easy, simply follow the steps on the TSS site to register. Once registered, you will need to digitally provide the appropriate information on the goods being moved.

If you make your customs declarations on CHIEF and are only using the Customs Declaration Service to get the import VAT statements that you need to complete your VAT Return, you can find out more about how to get your postponed import VAT statement.

How you can get access to Customs Declaration Service

You can ask someone to complete declarations for you, using an intermediary or enabled software provider to submit your declarations from 1 January 2021.

Completing a customs declaration can be complicated and you’ll need compatible software to do it. If you already have the correct software, authorisations and skills in place, you can choose not to outsource to a specialist, instead you can take steps now to access the Customs Declaration Service.

Preparing to use the Customs Declaration Service

Making a declaration

You’ll need to use the UK Trade Tariff to help complete your import or export declaration.

Making a payment

You’ll need to make payments to HMRC to clear your goods, you’ll need to choose which payment method you want to use.

If you work with an intermediary, or manage duty deferment accounts on behalf of others, you’ll need to register to use the Customs Declaration Service.

Customs Declaration Service communication pack

Published 7 March 2014
Last updated 1 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. Information about closing the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system on 31 March 2023 has been updated for Northern Ireland movements.

  2. Information about closing the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system on 31 March 2023 has been added.

  3. This page has been updated with information about the Customs Declaration Service and how to make payments.

  4. Information about how to check if you need to use the Customs Declaration Service has been updated.

  5. First published.