Customs Declaration Service

This page brings together information about the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

About CDS

The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) is being replaced by CDS, a modern and flexible system that can handle anticipated future import and export growth.

CDS is being phased in gradually and has started with a small group of businesses who make certain types of Supplementary Declarations. The number of businesses making declarations to CDS will grow over the coming months, with remaining importers able to use CDS from early 2019.

The export function of CDS will be delivered in March 2019.

For updates on CDS, register for the HMRC Business Help and Education email service.

The CDS updates will be under the education topic ‘trading with other countries’.

What is changing

If you import or export outside of the European Union (EU), there will be differences in the information you need to provide with your declarations. This is due to changes to the UK Trade Tariff required by the Union Customs Code (UCC).

You will need to refer to the CDS version of the import Trade Tariff to make declarations. The exports tariff will be available later in the year. If you use an agent for customs declarations you may need to provide them with more information as a result of changes to the tariff.

CDS will benefit businesses by providing the capacity to include more items per declaration, potentially reducing the number of declarations you need to make. And for the first time you’ll be able to access information about your imports and exports using a Government Gateway user ID and password.

There will also be changes to Duty Deferment and Flexible Accounting System accounts, and the process for getting an EORI number. Further information about these changes will be available later this year.

More information will be added to this page as the programme develops.



Published 7 March 2014
Last updated 21 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Update adding revised guidance and refreshed text to the collection.
  2. Addition of news story 'Launch of the Customs Declaration Service begins' to the collection
  3. You can now register for HMRC Business Help and Education emails about CDS from page.
  4. First published.