This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Import and National Clearance Hub Procedures



This guidance is primarily for use by staff involved in the National Clearance Hub.

This book contains guidance on the handling and processing of import entry documents including electronic messages. Reference is also made to associated frontier operations eg examination of goods and accounting procedures. Where appropriate there are links and cross references to other books of guidance.

The Integrated Tariff of the UK is contained in 3 volumes. Volume 1 contains general information. Volume 2 contains the schedule of duty and trade statistical descriptions codes and rates. Volume 3 contains custom freight procedures which covers completion of entry forms and documents, classification of goods, prohibitions and restrictions, Customs Procedure Codes (CPC), preference and reliefs from duty.

Various Notices are available to the public giving further information.

Scope of this guidance

This book explains entry processing and post clearance procedures for goods imported into the UK from places outside the Union and declarations between customs procedures. It provides guidance on general procedures and replaces all earlier editions of C2-3 (Import and National Clearance Hub Procedures (INCHP).

It has been updated to take into consideration the legal changes brought in by the Union Customs Code (UCC) and any arrangements available in the UK during the transitional period.


All goods imported into the EU at a UK port or airport must be covered by an import declaration submitted/lodged with the National Clearance Hub (NCH) at Salford.  We only require route 1, 2 and 3 entries. Some ROUTE 1 ENTRIES (1S) are sent direct to Trading Standards and not the NCH.

The law

All goods imported into the UK from non member states of the EU must be declared to Customs.

The legal provisions governing import declarations are included in the EU regulations and national laws set out below:

  • EU Regulation 952/2013 (Union Customs Code) – referred to as UCC
  • Delegated Regulation EU 2015/2446 – referred to as DR
  • Customs Controls on Importation of Goods Regualtions 1991, SI 1991/2724 as amended by The Customs and Excise (Single Market etc) Regulations 1992, SI 1992/3095
  • Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) 1979
  • Customs Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1995, SI 1995/1203
  • Civil Penalties Statutory Instrument 2003/3113 The Customs (Contravention of a Relevant Rule) Regulations

The UCC replaced EU Regulation 2913/92 and Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93 (The Code Implementing Provisions) on 1 May 2016. Transitional arrangements are in place until 30 April 2019. Details of transitional arrangements can be found in CAA04000.

This legislation outlines the legal requirements for making customs declarations, taking payment of duties due at the time of importation and making clearance adjustments.

UK legislation is covered in the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) 1979 as amended by Statutory Instrument 1991, No. 2724, Section 37 (Imports) and relates to the control and entry of imported goods and provides the legal basis for offence action.

System objectives

  • to receive and process import entries into the UK
  • collect or relieve import duties
  • produce statistics

Control objectives

To ensure:

  • import entry processing and post clearance policy and procedures are in accordance with EU and UK legislation
  • entries are accurate
  • entry processing is carried out efficiently and economically
  • revenue that traders are legally liable for is identified correctly, notified to the trader and collected promptly; and
  • burdens on business are minimised.

Public counter

There is no public counter at the National Clearance Hub (NCH). However, deliveries and collections by courier are possible between 0800-1800 Monday to Friday and outside these times either by prior arrangement or on a ring-as-you-arrive basis. Face to face access to managers and trade liaison specialists at the NCH is by appointment only.

Import System (ICS) HMRC ICS webpage.


Notices relevant to this guidance are:

Notice 6

MIB Procedures

Notice 117

Authorised Economic Operator

Notice 199

Control of imports

Notice 204

Occasional Importers

Notice 252

Valuation of imported goods for Customs Purposes, VAT and Trade Statistics

Excise and Customs Appeals

List of EU countries

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus in accordance with the provisions of the Act of Accession
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

Special Territories

The Aland Islands (Finland), The Canary Islands (Spain), The Channel Islands (UK), The French Overseas Departments Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinque, Reunion, St Pierre and Miquelon, Mount Athos also known as Agion Poros (Greece) and the Vatican City