Guidance

Making a full import declaration

Find out what you need to do when making a full declaration to bring or receive goods into the UK.

You should check if you need to declare goods you bring into or take out of the UK before you make a full import declaration.

Before you submit

An entry summary declaration will normally have been lodged for your goods while they were travelling to the UK or, in some cases, before the goods were loaded.

You or your representative must present your goods to customs immediately on their arrival into the UK.

When to submit

Before 1 January 2022

If you’re using roll on roll off ports or other listed locations you’ll need to make a full import declaration before your goods arrive. You’ll need to arrive the declaration on the system manually by 11:59pm on the day after the day on which the goods arrived.

For goods arriving at other locations:

  • your full declaration must be made within 90 days of your goods being presented to customs
  • you may be able to make a declaration up to 30 days before the arrival of your goods, but it will only be formally accepted when they have actually arrived and been presented

From 1 January 2022

You’ll need to make a full import declaration before your goods board:

If the goods are arriving from Northern Ireland or Ireland, you will need to arrive your full import declaration on the system manually by 11:59pm on the day after the day on which the goods arrived.

You (or someone who deals with customs for you) may be able to delay sending HMRC the full information by up to 175 days after import for goods you bring into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) from Northern Ireland (if declarations are required) or Ireland.

For goods arriving at other locations:

  • your full declaration must be made within 90 days of your goods being presented to customs
  • you may be able to make a declaration up to 30 days before the arrival of your goods, but it will only be formally accepted when they have actually arrived and been presented

How to submit

Your declaration will need to include:

  • customs procedure code
  • commodity code
  • your declaration unique consignment reference which is the main reference number that links declarations in the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system or the Customs Declaration Service

You also need to provide information like:

  • Declaration Unique Consignment Reference (DUCR)
  • departure point and destination
  • consignee and consignor
  • type, amount and packaging of your goods
  • transport methods and costs
  • currencies and valuation methods
  • certificates and licences

Find out the boxes you need to complete on your declaration in:

From 1 January 2022

If your goods move through a port using GVMS, you’ll need to enter ‘RRS01’ in:

  • box 44 for CHIEF
  • Data Element 2/2 for the Customs Declaration Service

If you do not, GVMS will not be able to validate it on the submitted Goods Movement Reference (GMR).

After you’ve submitted

When your declaration is accepted, we will tell you how much you owe.

You will need to pay duty before your goods can be released.

If you’re using a duty deferment account, payment for Customs Duty and import VAT will be taken from your account on the 15th day of the following month.

The accounting period for Excise duties runs from 15th of a month to the 14th of the next month. You must pay either:

  • on the 29th of the latter month (or 28 February in non-leap years)
  • on the working day before that if the 29th (or 28 February in non-leap years) is not a working day

Find out more information about if you underpay import or export duties and who is responsible for the debt.

If you have overpaid customs duty you can apply for a refund. Find out more information about Refunds and waivers on customs debt by HMRC.

We may ask you to send supporting documents for a customs check to clear your goods. Find out more information about Clearing goods entering, leaving or transiting the UK.

Published 5 November 2019
Last updated 23 December 2021 + show all updates
  1. From 1 January 2022, if your goods move through a port using the goods vehicle movement service, you'll need to enter 'RRS01' in box 44 for CHIEF or Data Element 2/2 for the Customs Declaration Service.

  2. From 1 January changes to locations where you need to make a full declaration before your goods board.

  3. Information about when excise duties need to be paid has been added to the 'after you've submitted' section.

  4. This page has been updated because the Brexit transition period has ended.

  5. This page has been updated with information for 1 January 2021.

  6. First published.