Making an import declaration in your records

Find out how to declare imported goods to customs by entering them in your own records.

If you can use simplified procedures, you can declare your goods by entering them in your own records and sending other details to customs.

You can declare your goods in your records unless your goods are:

  • hydrocarbon oils
  • controlled goods imported at the frontier
  • imported under ATA Carnet procedures
  • imported under authorisation by declaration
  • personal effects
  • imported under transfer of residence relief

Find out about other declarations you can make.

How to submit

You enter details of your goods into your records and need to include:

  • the commodity code
  • the customs procedure 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
  • purchase and, if available, the sales invoice numbers
  • the date and time of entry in records - creating the tax point, which is used for working out VAT payments later
  • any temporary admission, Free Zone, warehousing or temporary storage stock account references
  • the Free Zone or warehouse approval number
  • a written description of the goods - so they are easy to identify
  • customs value
  • quantity of goods - for example, number of packages and items, net mass
  • details of licensing requirements and licence numbers
  • details of any supporting documents, including the serial numbers, where appropriate, needed before the goods can be released
  • details of the person you’re representing if you are making a declaration on behalf of someone else

The next step depends whether your goods are delivered to inventory-linked premises or premises that are not inventory-linked.

Inventory-linked premises are linked to customs by computer.

Premises that are not inventory-linked are not linked to customs by computer.

Inventory-linked premises

When you enter your goods in your records, you will also need to complete a C21 declaration form. This will allow the goods to be cleared from the port where they entered.

You must submit the form to CHIEF.

The information you provide in the form is similar to the entry made into your own records.

Controlled and restricted goods

You must enter restricted goods on your declaration as controlled. You will need to present your licence or certificate to release your goods.

You must also treat the following goods as controlled when using simplified declarations:

  • Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) goods
  • excise goods
  • unmanufactured tobacco, not stemmed or stripped
  • unmanufactured tobacco, partly or wholly stemmed or stripped
  • tobacco refuse

Find out which customs procedure codes you must use on your customs declaration.

After you’ve made an entry in your records

You’ll need to complete a supplementary declaration to CHIEF.

You must submit your supplementary declaration no later than fourth working day following the month in which the date the goods were entered in your records.

If you have completed a C21 declaration, you must use the date that customs accept your declaration instead of the date your goods were entered in your records.

From 1 January 2021

If you’re bringing goods that are not controlled into Great Britain from the EU, you may be able to:

  • declare your goods by entering them in your records without getting authorisation in advance
  • make a supplementary declarations up to 6 months later

Find out more about declaring goods in your records without authorisation.

Published 5 November 2019
Last updated 10 July 2020 + show all updates
  1. If you’re importing standard goods into Great Britain from the EU between 1 January and 30 June 2021, you can use ‘entry in the declarant’s records’ without getting authorisation in advance and make a supplementary declaration 6 months later.

  2. First published.