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

    You need to follow this process if you're moving goods to a country outside the EU.

    What you need to do is different if you are:

    1. Get exporting advice on
  2. Step 2 Check the rules for exporting your goods

    Check if you need a licence or certificate to export your goods from the UK. You also need to check if there are any restrictions or special rules in the country you want to export to.

    1. Check if you need a UK licence or certificate to export your goods
    2. Check the duties, rules and restrictions for your goods in the destination country

    The rules for trading with some countries outside the EU might change after Brexit.

    1. Check if the UK has negotiated a trade agreement with the country you are exporting to after Brexit
  3. Step 3 Register your business for exporting

    1. Get an EORI number
    2. Check if you should register for VAT

    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
  4. Step 4 Apply for a licence or certificate if you need one

    How soon you need to start the application process and what you need to do depends on the type of goods you’re exporting.

    1. Apply for a licence or certificate if you need one
  5. Step 5 Decide who will make customs declarations and transport the goods

    You can hire someone to deal with customs and transport the goods for you, or you can do it yourself. Most businesses that export goods use a transporter or customs agent.

    1. Find out how to hire someone to deal with customs for you
    2. Find out what you'll need to do if you make the customs declaration yourself
    3. Find out how to transport goods out of the UK by road yourself
  6. Step 6 Classify your goods

    You must find the right commodity code to classify the goods you're exporting.

    Your customs agent or transporter might be able to help you with this.

    1. Find the right commodity code for your goods
  7. Step 7 Prepare the invoice and other documentation for your goods

    The completed invoice and any licences or certificates must travel with the goods.

    When filling in the value of your goods on the invoice, use the price you’re selling them for. List separately any freight or export insurance you included in the price. For free samples, use the market value of the goods.

    You might be able to zero rate the goods for VAT. This means you can charge your customers VAT at 0%.

    1. Check if you can zero rate the goods for VAT
  8. Step 8 Get your goods through customs

    If you've appointed someone to deal with UK customs for you, they'll make the declaration and get your goods through the UK border.

    1. Make an export declaration and get your goods cleared by UK customs

    You may need other documentation to get your goods into the destination country. Ask the person or business buying your goods what information you need to provide.

  9. Step 9 Keep invoices and records

    You must keep records of commercial invoices and any customs paperwork.

    If you exported controlled goods, for example firearms, keep the paperwork that shows who owns the goods.

    If you're VAT registered, record the goods in your VAT accounts and report them on your VAT Return. You'll need to do this even if you zero rated them.

    1. Find out how to record the goods in your VAT accounts
    2. Fill in your VAT Return