Register for the National Export System to make an export declaration

Find out what you need to register for the National Export System (NES) to make an export declaration.

You must use the National Export System to make export declarations to customs.

You can use the system to send declarations through:

  • web
  • email
  • XML
  • Community Systems Providers

Before you start

You must have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

You must also have a CHIEF badge role (if you’re using a freight forwarder you do not need to apply).

If you get Authorised Economic Operator Customs Simplifications status this may speed up the process of applying for the National Export System.

Registering for web declarations

To make your declaration through the web you need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one the first time you register.

Registering for email declarations

You can make your declaration by sending an email with the relevant information. If you choose this method you’ll need:

  • a CHIEF-compatible software package (EDIFACT)
  • an SMTP (standard) email connection

Email cannot be used for common agricultural policy declarations.

Registering for XML declarations

You’ll need:

  • a CHIEF-compatible software package (EDIFACT), including an XML wrapper
  • an HTTPS internet connection (this is a more secure connection than HTTP)
  • a Government Gateway user ID and password – if you do not have a user ID, you can create one the first time you register

Community Systems Providers

Community Systems Providers run the major inventory-controlled ports around the UK. You can access the export system indirectly through a Community Systems Provider using your own software or software provided by an independent software company.

Freight forwarders buy annual badges to their systems and charge exporters a fee for entering goods for export on their behalf. Customs do not charge for use of their systems and any charges are set by the freight forwarders direct.

Published 2 August 2012
Last updated 18 February 2019 + show all updates
  1. The HMRC telephone number to use to get help or advice has been updated.

  2. Link to National Export System contact page added.

  3. The business hours of the Custom Input Entries facility at the National Clearance Hub has been updated.

  4. The section 'How to access NES'. has been updated with the different routes into CHIEF and information about how to apply for a CHIEF badge.

  5. Updates made to reflect changes resulting from the introduction of the Union Customs Code.

  6. Telephone and fax numbers removed for the CHIEF Operations Team as now an email only helpdesk

  7. Fixing references to specialist guides

  8. External links to BIFA and Destin8 removed from additional information

  9. First published.

  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. You are currently viewing: 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