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HMRC internal manual

Export Procedures

HM Revenue & Customs
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Introduction: glossary


Acceptance Acceptance of a declaration occurs when a valid declaration is processed by CHIEF and the goods are available for inspection. For consignments exported under LCP it is the date and time when goods will be available at the LCP location.
AEO Authorised Economic Operator this is the EC’s response to the need for secure international supply chains and the introduction of Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in the USA. The aim is to ensure that business are compliant and efficient in their customs controls. There are 3 types of AEO certificates which operators can apply for.
Agent A person appointed to represent another in their dealings with Customs. Legally representation may be either direct or indirect.
Arrival Message When declarations have been pre-lodged and the goods subsequently arrive at the frontier, a message must be sent to CHIEF to update the entry. This ‘Arrival message’ tells CHIEF that the goods are now at the port/airport and are available for inspection. The ‘arrival message’ formally places the pre-lodged declaration under Customs control and the legal acceptance date and time of the entry is established and validation performed on the declaration details.
Appeals A system for dealing with disputes between Revenue and Customs and traders as well is members of the public.
Authorised operator A trader authorised by us to operate one or all of export simplified procedures (SDP and LCP) and/or a DEP. It also includes an exporter or third party allowed to make full export declarations to CHIEF.
ATA Carnet ATA stands for ‘Admission Temporaire - Temporary admission’. The carnets are multi sheet documents issued by Chamber of Commerce, with backing of an international guarantee chain, to facilitate the temporary export and re import of all kinds of goods.
A.TR documents Certificates used to show that goods are entitled to preferential rates of duty in Turkey.


Bureau A third party providing service to NES authorised traders to act as their direct representative for the submission of pre shipment and supplementary declarations. Authorised traders and authorised indirect representatives can use a bureau.


CAP Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union.
CHIEF Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight. A computer entry processing system.
CIE Customs Input Entry.
CMR Convention Merchandise Routiers.
CPC Customs Procedure Code. A code entered in box 37 of the C88 or its electronic equivalent which identifies the regime to which goods are being entered and from which they have been removed (if applicable).
Clear/clearance The clearance of a declaration occurs when customs have accepted and formally released the goods for export.
Common Transit Used to describe community Transit movements to, from or via EFTA countries.
Community Transit A system of controlling the movement of certain goods across the territory of the Community and that of other signatories to the Transit Convention.
Computerised Inventory System A computerised system that provides a range of functions including the arrival and departure of consignments within premises or a designated area. See also CSP.
CCS UK A computerised cargo processing system (CSP).
CNS A computerised cargo processing system (CSP).
Community Systems Provider (CSP) Are companies who provide systems that facilitate the movement of goods under which traders can input data from their own computer terminals to CHIEF via a Trade System Operator.
Continental Shelf The UK continental shelf is comprised of legally designated areas beyond UK territorial waters. It is outside the Customs territory of the UK and is therefore treated as a non EC country.
Control Officer The Revenue and Customs office responsible for controlling a NES trader operating a simplified procedure and/or a DEP procedure.
Customs HM Revenue and Customs.
Customs Supervised Exports National authorisation scheme being introduced 1 May 2016 that allows goods to be declared at the traders premises. This requires prior authorisation. Where a two part declaration is also required, trader has to also apply for SDP.
Customs Warehouse See warehouse types.


Declarant Means the person lodging the declaration.  The person legally responsible for the accuracy of the information given in the declaration, the authenticity of the documents which relate to it, and, compliance with all the obligations relating to the entry of the goods under the procedure concerned.
Declaration A declaration made in the appropriate form to customs indicating the intention of the declaration to declare goods to the export procedure.
Departure Message Where the vessel/aircraft/vehicle directly leaves the UK (and the EU) a ‘Goods Departed’ message must be sent to CHIEF to confirm that the goods actually departed. The departure message should advise the date/time, freight location and transport details. UCR, mode of transport and flag code, are also necessary.
Designated Export Place (DEP) A national UK customs approved trader premises inland, where goods may be declared to CHIEF using any export procedure, but not LCP.
DESTIN8 A computerised cargo processing system (CSP).
DGN Dangerous Goods Note.
DHB Clearway A computerised cargo processing system (CSP).
DHL A computerised cargo processing system (CSP).
Direct Export Refers to goods exported directly from the UK to a non EU country.
Direct representation A third party makes a Customs declaration in a trader’s name on the trader’s behalf. See also Indirect representation.
Drawback goods Goods subject to a claim for the drawback for duty paid.
DTI Direct Trader Input. An arrangement under which traders can input data from their own computer terminals to CHIEF via a Trade System Operator.
Dutiable or restricted For export purposes, dutiable or restricted goods include:
  • goods subject to CAP licensing
  • transit and transhipment goods
  • goods subject to export licensing
  • any other goods for which Customs specifically require a pre shipment declaration (for example OPR goods, OPT goods)
  • goods from Customs and/or Excise warehouses
  • goods chargeable with any duty not paid
  • goods subject to IPR.


Export Accompanying Document (EAD) Paper document containing information on the export consignment being exported outside of the Union. The EAD has a bar code called a Master reference number (MRN) which is electronically notified to the Export Control System.
Export Control System (ECS) Used for generating, receiving and responding consignment details with regard to indirect exports. The system mirrors the electronic transit based message exchange used under NCTS.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) The method of exchanging messages between computer systems over an electronic communications network nationally and internationally.
Email Email (electronic mail) is the electronic transmission of mail between users. For NES it can be used for submitting declarations to CHIEF (via EDCS) and returning responses.
EDIFACT An EDIFACT message is the basic unit for communicating information electronically. For example, a Supplementary Declaration is submitted as a CUSDEC EDIFACT message.
EIDR Entry in Declarants Records. New Union Simplification that allows traders to declare customs declarations in their own records. An authorisation is required for this simplification.
EFTA European Free Trade Association.
Enhanced Transit Shed Facility (ETSF) Approved premises outside of a port or airport where goods having the status of goods in temporary storage may be stored under Customs supervision.
EORI Economic Operators Registration and Identification Number. This means an identification number unique in the customs territory of the union assigned by a customs authority to an economic operator or to another person in order to register him for customs purposes.  An EORI  number is provided to the customs authorities on pre arrival and pre departure information on all goods entering and leaving the customs territory of the community and for the import, export and transit of third country goods.
EORI Number This is similar to the old TURN number which is recognised throughout the EU. It consists of a nine digit VAT registration number (without spaces) plus a suffix of three zeros and prefixed with a country code eg GB123456789000.
Export The movement of goods to a destination outside the European Community (customs and/or fiscal) territory.
Exporter Customs definition of exporter:

(a) the person established in the customs territory of the Union who, at the time when the declaration is accepted, holds the contract with the consignee in the third country and has the power for determining that the goods are to be brought to a destination outside the customs territory of the Union

(b) the private individual carrying the goods to be exported where these goods are contained in the private individual’s personal baggage

(c) in other cases, the person established in the customs territory of the Union who has the power for determining that the goods are to be brought to a destination outside the customs territory of the Union.    
  Export Preference Goods exported under cover of an EUR1, EUR-MED, Invoice Declaration or Suppliers Declaration on which the exporter declares that the goods meet the origin requirements for duty preference in the importing country.


Facilitation Ensuring that the operation of Customs control of exports does not place unnecessary burdens on the activities of UK exporters.
Free circulation Goods imported into the Community are in free circulation in the Community if all import formalities have been completed with and all duties, levies or equivalent charges have been paid and not refunded. Goods originating in the Community are also in free circulation.
Free Zones Enclosed areas into which non community goods may be moved and remain without payment of customs duties, agricultural levies and VAT charges at importation.


ICD An ICD is an approved (inland) location where goods can be declared to Customs and be brought under Customs control using normal and SDP (but not LCP) procedures.
Indirect export Refers to goods declared in the UK leaving the European Union via another Member State.
Indirect Representation A third party makes a Customs declaration in their own name, but on behalf of a trader. See also Direct representation.
Interchange In the context of EDIFACT an interchange is a batch of EDIFACT messages sent in sequence in the same transmission. An interchange is bound by the EDIFACT service segments UNB/UNZ. EDCS currently supports more than one interchange can be in the same or different body parts as specified for the application which is to process the interchange. This does not apply to the CSP path.
IPR Inward Processing Relief the use of products from outside the EC as parts or materials during the manufacture of goods within the EC which are intended for exportation.


Loader The owner of the ship or aircraft or persons appointed by them. Approved by HMRC to submit arrival and departure messages.


Manifest A list supplied by a shipping company, airline or vehicle operator of goods being exported or imported.
MiB Merchandise in Baggage this is an expression used for commercial or business goods which passengers take with them as accompanied baggage.
MRN Master Reference Number


National Advice Service (NAS) Our advice service that deals with all general telephone enquires from business and the public. This is now the VAT, Excise and Customs Helpline.
NCH National Clearance Hub, Central EPU, currently located in Salford that processes freight declarations for imports and exports.
NES National Export System. UK CHIEF based export system providing the means to make electronic declarations for all the Customs export procedures.
Net Weight The actual weight of goods, without packing materials or any kind of container.
Non Stat ‘Non Stat’ goods are those for which no statistical details are required. In most cases a simplified form of pre shipment documents is all that is needed.


OPR Outward Processing Relief.
OPT Outward Processing Trade. It is concerned with the temporary export of textiles to certain eastern European countries for processing and re import into the EC. Before exporting the goods, the exporter must obtain an OPT authorisation from DBERR. The authorisation constitutes an import licence at re importation.
Overage An excess quantity to that declared to Customs on a pre shipment document.


Paying agent See Submitting Trader.
Penalties Financial penalties applied for breaches of customs rules (see CCP).
Pentant A computerised cargo processing system (CSP).
Post Shipment declaration A full statistical export declaration under either LCP or SDP submitted to CHIEF after goods have been released by customs for export (see Supplementary Declaration).
Presentation of Goods The notification to Customs in the manner laid down of the presence of goods at the Customs office or at any other place designated or approved by Customs.
Pre Shipment Advice (PSA) A simplified export declaration, using one of the available simplified procedures, submitted to Customs prior to the time of shipment. The advice must be made electronically if SDP or CSE are used.
Pre Shipment declaration (entry) A full statistical export declaration lodged with Customs together with goods before the time of shipment. A full declaration may be made electronically using NES or a manual declaration, frequently called Form C88. At a DEP a CHIEF declaration must be submitted.


Removal Goods removed with Customs permission from approved inland or frontier premises under NES.
Representative A person appointed on behalf of another to carry out the acts and formalities required by Customs rules. Representatives may be either Direct or Indirect. A representative must state who they are acting on behalf of, specify the type of representation, and be empowered to act in that capacity.
RES Retail Export Scheme.
RGR Returned Goods Relief.
Ro Ro Roll on/Roll off traffic is the name given to vehicles and trailers moving on or off a ferry on their own wheels.


SDP A simplified procedure requiring a two stage declaration to CHIEF. The first stage is the provision of brief details of the consignment against which Customs clearance is given. The second stage requires the submission of a full supplementary declaration within a specified period.
Ships’ Stores Goods, usually dutiable for use during the voyage including food, drink, spare parts and equipment and items for sale to passengers for landing.
SSN Standard Shipping Note.
Special Territory A territory that is part of the Community for customs purposes, but outside the fiscal territory.
Submitting Trader The person who generates the data to CHIEF (ie pushes the send button to submit the data to CHIEF). This is invariably the declarant though maybe a third party.
Supplementary Declaration Another name used to describe a post shipment declaration. Under NES it is an electronic message sent to CHIEF to declare statistical and control information for all consignments exported under EIDR, CSE and SDP.


TIR Transports International Routiers, a system involving the issue to road hauliers of carnets which allow loaded vehicles to cross national frontiers with minimum customs formalities.
Tariff HM Revenue and Customs Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom. It is in 3 volumes Volume 1 - General information, Volume 2 - Schedule of duty and trade statistical description, codes and rates, Volume 3 - Customs freight procedures.
Third countries Countries that are outside the Customs territory of the Community. See entry under ‘Community countries’ for the list of Member States. Third countries are also known as non Community countries.
Transit See ‘Community Transit’.
Transhipment goods Goods that are off-loaded and subsequently re loaded to another ship/aircraft without leaving the area of the port.


Unique Consignment Reference A reference allocated by the authorised trader to each exporter consignment which can be used by HMRC Revenue and Customs during an audit to trace that consignment in the trader’s records.
Unit load Any load, including groupage, which leaves the approved premises as a single, identifiable unit intended for exportation.


VAT Value Added Tax.


Warehouse types A customs warehouse is a defined location authorised by customs for storing non Community goods that are:
  • chargeable with import duty and/or import VAT
  • or otherwise not in free circulation

Union legislation allows two different types of Customs warehouse which are:

  • Type R – Public Warehouse
  • Type U – Private Warehouse.