Using simplified declarations for exports

Find out about the different simplified declarations for exports and what you need for authorisation to use them.

You can make a simplified declaration before you export your goods from the EU. This is called ‘presenting’ your goods to customs.

The first part of your declaration does not need as much information as a full declaration.

When it’s approved, you can export your goods or move them from your premises.

You’ll still need to give customs more information, but you send it later in a supplementary declaration. This lets customs work out the VAT and duty you’ll need to pay.

You cannot make simplified declarations for goods:

  • covered by the Common Agricultural Policy
  • being exported or removed from a customs warehouse, or under inward processing, outward processing relief or end-use simplified authorisation procedures
  • subject to unpaid duty (exceptions apply)
  • subject to export licensing
  • subject to inward processing (exceptions apply)
  • from customs or excise warehouses (exceptions apply)
  • that customs specifically require a pre-shipment declaration for

Some controlled goods can be exported using simplified procedures, but you’ll need to include extra information in your declaration.

Find out about other declarations you can make.

Types of declarations

You can use 2 types of simplified declaration:

  • simplified declaration procedure
  • entry in the declarant’s records

Simplified declaration procedure

The first part of this declaration is called ‘pre-shipment advice’.

In most cases, you submit this electronically to the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. You do this using the National Export System.

You can make your submission at an EU port or airport, an inland clearance depot or a designated export place. A designated export place is an inland location approved by customs.

When your goods are cleared, you can usually then load and ship them without needing to present any supporting documents.

Supporting documents may be needed for some prohibited or restricted goods.

You’ll still need to give customs more information, but you send it later in a supplementary declaration. This lets customs work out the VAT and duty you’ll need to pay.

Find out how to submit pre-shipment advice.

Entry in the declarant’s records

You clear your goods for export by entering basic information in your own records and sending additional information direct to customs.

You can do this when your goods are on your own premises or in an approved customs warehouse.

This type of submission can only be used for goods that do not need a pre-departure declaration.

These include:

  • goods valued less than £900 and weighing less than 1,000kg
  • electrical energy
  • goods leaving by pipeline
  • goods to be used on or fitted to off-shore installations
  • spare parts for aircraft and vessels
  • provisions for aircraft and vessels

You cannot clear excise goods by entering their details in your records.

You’ll still need to give customs more information, but you send it later in a supplementary declaration. This lets customs work out the VAT and duty you’ll need to pay.

Find out how to make an export declaration in your own records.

What you’ll need

To use simplified declarations for exports, you’ll need:

  • to be registered to use the National Export System
  • to be authorised by HMRC

Who can apply

Authorisation conditions are different for the simplified declaration procedure and entry in the declarant’s records.

Simplified declaration procedure

To become authorised to use the simplified declaration procedure, you need to:

  • have a good customs compliance record, including VAT returns and duty deferments
  • have a regular pattern of customs declarations against your Economic Operator Registration Identification (EORI) number
  • show how you’ll record all declarations for no less than 4 years after their submission date

Entry in the declarant’s records

You have to meet the same conditions that apply for the simplified declaration procedure.

You must also show that:

  • you manage your business in a way that allows customs to make effective compliance checks – for example, how you maintain the audit trail, how your business records are backed up and kept secure and how you identify and handle errors related to the flow of goods and use of customs agents
  • you can carry out declarations procedures to a professional standard
  • the applicant, directors and senior employees are free of any criminal records that would prevent HMRC from granting authorisation
  • you have procedures in place to ensure you do not export prohibited goods or goods subject to a licence

You’ll also need to allow customs to audit your system, providing staff with access to a suitable office, a toilet and car parking, free of charge, if requested. This is for either simplified declaration procedures or entry in your records applications.

How to apply

You need to complete form C&E48 to apply for authorisation to use simplified declarations for exports.

Send your completed form to the NES Simplified Procedure Authorisation Team at the following address:

Authorisations and Returns Team
Customs Leeds
3 Wellington Place

HMRC will visit your premises to check your records and computer systems.

Once you’re authorised, your systems and records will be periodically audited by customs staff.

This is to check that you’re complying with the terms and conditions of your authorisation and to confirm general NES compliance.

Published 5 November 2019
  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. 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. You are currently viewing: 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