Customs declarations for goods brought into the EU

Most declarations should be submitted electronically using third party software that connects to the CHIEF system.

In a no-deal Brexit, you’ll need to follow these rules if you import from anywhere outside the UK. You can make it easier to bring goods from the EU by registering to use transitional simplified procedures.

If your business is bringing goods into the EU you’ll need to submit a customs declaration.

Completing a customs declaration is complicated and you’ll need software. So you may want to get someone to deal with customs for you.

How to submit

Most declarations are submitted electronically through Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. If you’re going to do this yourself, rather than appoint an agent, you’ll need to:

There are different rules for:

In a no-deal Brexit, businesses carrying merchandise in baggage or small vehicles with a value less than £900 will follow different rules.

When to submit

You must normally submit a full declaration at the time the goods enter the EU, unless you’re putting them into temporary storage.

But it’s a different process if you’re:

Boxes you need to complete

For all declarations it’s important to have the right:

There are different boxes to complete depending on the type of declaration you’re submitting.

Find out the boxes you need to complete on your declaration.

Published 11 January 2019
  1. Step 1 Make sure your business has an EORI number that starts with GB

    You’ll need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number starting with GB to continue importing goods.

    1. Get an EORI number
  2. Step 2 Decide who will make the import declarations

  3. Step 3 Apply to make importing easier

    You can apply to use 'transitional simplified procedures' to reduce the amount of information you need to give at the border.

    1. Register for transitional simplified procedures
    2. Decide what other customs procedures you could use

    You may also be able to use the Common Transit Convention (CTC) to simplify how your goods pass through customs and when you pay customs duties.

    1. Find out if you can use CTC
  4. and Set up a duty deferment account if you import regularly

    Set up a duty deferment account if you want to be able to make one payment of customs duties a month instead of paying for individual shipments.

    You must set one up if you plan to use transitional simplified procedures.

    1. Set up a duty deferment account
  5. Step 4 Check the rate of tax and duty you’ll need to pay

    You’ll need to pay customs duties and VAT on all imports.

    1. Find out the rate of customs on imports after Brexit
    2. Check when you'll need to account for and pay VAT

    You’ll also need to pay excise duties if you’re importing alcohol, tobacco or biofuels.

    1. Find out the rate of excise duty on imports
  6. Step 5 Check what you need to do for the type of goods you import

    Depending on what you're importing, there might be other things you'll need to do to get your business ready.

    For example, you might need to change the labelling on your goods, apply for licences, or find an approved UK border inspection post where your goods can enter the UK.

    1. Check what you need to do for the type of goods you import
  7. Step 6 Get help and support