Guidance

Using CHIEF for declaring goods into or out of Northern Ireland

Find out when you will still be able to use CHIEF for declaring goods into or out of Northern Ireland.

In due course, all declarations in to and out of Northern Ireland will need to be made using the Customs Declaration Service. Using the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system for Northern Ireland declarations will be reviewed by HMRC and you will be told when to stop using it.

CHIEF can still be used for declaring goods entering Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU.

You can do this for:

  • import declarations for movements of goods directly into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU
  • export declarations for movements of goods directly from Northern Ireland to outside the UK and EU

You can also do this for import declarations for movements of goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU through Great Britain (England Scotland and Wales) (transshipment) if the goods are:

  • not customs cleared in Great Britain
  • moved by transit from Great Britain to Northern Ireland

You will not be able to use CHIEF for declaring goods into or out of Northern Ireland for declaring:

  • movements of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland (other than transshipment)
  • indirect EU exports (movements of goods from Northern Ireland to a country outside the UK and EU via an EU member state)

If you import into a special procedure on CHIEF for movements of goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU, you will not be able to re-export directly into Great Britain using CHIEF. More guidance about this will be published as soon as possible.

You should discuss the use of CHIEF with your customs agent before making declarations.

Traders in Northern Ireland will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number with an XI prefix:

CHIEF will not be compatible with XI prefixes and traders will need to use their GB prefixed EORI on CHIEF.

Published 24 December 2020
Last updated 14 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Information added about when HMRC will tell users they must stop using CHIEF.

  2. EORI number guidance has been added for Northern Ireland traders using CHIEF.

  3. First published.