Guidance

Making an entry summary declaration

If you are moving goods into Great Britain, into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, or into Northern Ireland from outside the EU, you’ll need to make an entry summary declaration.

Your entry summary declaration must be complete and accurate. You can amend your declaration until your goods arrive at the UK border.

Before you submit a declaration

To submit your declaration, you must be registered for either the:

You do not need to make an entry summary declaration for goods imported from the EU and other territories from which a declaration was not required before 1 January 2021.

There are no new import controls for 2022 for imports to Great Britain from the EU or from other territories where safety and security declarations were not previously required.

The other territories where the entry summary declaration waiver applies to are:

  • Andorra
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • Liechtenstein
  • Switzerland
  • Ceuta and Melilla
  • Heligoland
  • San Marino
  • the Vatican City State
  • the municipalities of Livigno Campione d’Italia
  • the Italian national waters of Lake Lugano, which are between the bank and the political frontier of the area between Ponte Tresa and Porto Ceresio

The government will publish a new target operating model of border controls in Autumn 2022. This will aim for the end of 2023 as the introduction date for the new regime.

When to submit

Depending on the type of transport or shipping service you have used, there are different time limits for submitting your declaration.

How you’re shipping goods When to submit (minimum timing requirement)
Maritime containerised cargo at least 24 hours before loading at the port of departure
Maritime bulk or break bulk cargo at least 4 hours before arrival
Short sea journeys at least 2 hours before arrival
Short-haul flights — less than 4 hours’ duration at least at the time of actual take-off
Long-haul flights at least 4 hours before arrival
Rail and inland waterways at least 2 hours before arrival
Road traffic at least 1 hour before arrival

If you’re using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service

The inclusion of any safety and security declaration reference numbers in the Goods Vehicle Movement Service is an optional step. There will be no impact on any vehicles moving without this.

If you choose to include safety and security declaration reference numbers in the Goods Vehicle Movement Service, the entry summary declaration will need to be submitted at the earliest of either:

  • the minimum timing requirement
  • before check-in closes

This is to allow for the movement reference number from the entry summary declaration to be recorded in the goods movement reference, which will be validated by the carrier at check in.

Find out more about the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

Short sea journeys

For short sea journeys, safety and security import declarations need to be submitted at least 2 hours pre-arrival, for both containerised and non-containerised imports.

Short sea journeys into Great Britain refers to journeys from:

  • the English Channel, or the Atlantic coast of Europe from the point where it meets the English Channel to and including the port of Algeciras
  • Norway
  • Ireland
  • the Faroe Islands
  • Iceland
  • ports on the Baltic Sea and the North Sea

Short sea journeys into Northern Ireland refers to journeys from:

  • Greenland
  • the Faroe Islands
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • ports on the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea
  • all ports of Morocco

How to submit

To submit your declaration, use the:

  • S&S GB service for bringing goods into Great Britain
  • ICS NI for bringing goods into Northern Ireland

You will need to provide documents and licences for your import.

You will also need information about the:

  • goods description or commodity code
  • consignor and consignee
  • type, amount and packaging of your goods
  • mode of transport at the border
  • onward journey details

After you submit

Once your entry summary declaration is accepted, you will be issued with a movement reference number.

If you are moving goods through a port which does not have an inventory linked system, you must generate a goods movement reference using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service. You can choose to submit any safety and security declaration movement reference numbers in the goods movement reference, although this step is optional.

Read more about how to move goods through ports that use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

What happens next

The declaration will be risk assessed and the results will be used by the UK Border Force to identify either:

  • shipments they wish to prevent being loaded onto the vessel entering Great Britain and Northern Ireland (for deep sea containerised maritime cargo only)
  • imports that they may wish to control on entering Great Britain and Northern Ireland

If you get a ‘Do Not Load’ message, the UK Border Force will tell you what to do.

For goods moving into Northern Ireland, if a vessel or aircraft diverts to a different Office of First Entry, you’ll need to submit a diversion request as soon as you know about the diversion. Once your goods arrive in Northern Ireland, you must submit an arrival notification.

Find out more about customs declarations when bringing your goods to the UK.

Making an amendment

Your declaration must be accurate and complete (to the best of your knowledge) when submitted. You can make an amendment if something changes, for example, the amount of goods or the time of the sea crossing.

The time limits for the lodging of the declaration do not start again after the amendment since, legally, it is the initial declaration that sets them. Amendments can only be made up until the point of arrival in the UK.

There is no cancellation message for either the S&S GB service or ICS NI. Submitted declarations can be amended, but not cancelled.

An amendment contains all the data of the original declaration and is linked to the first entry. When goods will no longer be shipped, it is not necessary to inform the S&S GB service or ICS NI.

Published 10 January 2019
Last updated 1 July 2022 + show all updates
  1. The section 'Before you submit a declaration' has been updated with information on when the new import controls regime will be introduced. When using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service, the inclusion of any safety and security declaration reference numbers is an optional step.

  2. Guidance has been updated to explain that you do not need to make an entry summary declaration for goods imported from the EU and other territories from which a declaration was not required before 1 January 2021.

  3. The dates to make an entry summary declaration for goods imported into Great Britain from the EU have been updated.

  4. The date when you will need to start submitting safety and security declarations for imports into Great Britain from some countries has changed from 1 July 2021 to 1 January 2022.

  5. Updated to include information about short straits sea journeys into Northern Ireland.

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

  7. First published.