top of page

Customs Declaration System is Coming -Learn About What You Need To Be Ready Tor It.

Submitting CDS declarations

CDS is being introduced gradually and the timing of your move onto this system from the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) will depend on when your software developer or agent is ready, if you use one.

They should already be working with HMRC to update their software applications and, if they have not already, will contact you soon to explain if there’s anything else you need to do.

Import functionality will be available from November 2018 and export functionality will be delivered in March 2019.

To make declarations using CDS you’ll need to:

  • have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number and a Government Gateway user ID and password

  • understand the different information needed for CDS so you’re compliant with the Union Customs Code and the CDS Trade Tariff

  • provide any training or information needed by your staff, for example on the tariff changes and new data requirements

  • understand any financial or process implications the changes may have including to your Direct Debit payments if you use a duty deferment account. HMRC will write to you if you’re affected by this

Importers using third party software

If you use third party software, in addition to the steps outlined for all users, you should:

  • register for CDS via your Government Gateway user ID and password, and authorise your software provider to make declarations on your behalf. You do not need to do this until HMRC or your software provider or agent tells you

  • make sure your provider is working with HMRC to understand the technical requirements for the new system

  • ensure that they are providing you with any software specific updates that may affect your internal processes or policies, or the information you request from customers

Importers using agents

If you use an agent to make declarations, you should familiarise yourself with the changes outlined for all users. Your agent may need additional information from you, which you in turn may need to request from your customers.


If you are an agent, depending on how you make declarations on behalf of your customers, you should refer to one of the scenarios above. If you act on behalf of multiple clients, depending on the software you use, you might need to authorise the software for each client. Your software developer will be able to advise you about this and you should contact them for more information.

Forms C88

If you currently make declarations by sending a C88 form to the National Clearance Hub you will not be able to do this once CHIEF, the current system, is switched off. If you only make small numbers of import declarations you’ll be able to do these via a new online system. This will be limited to 10 per year and can only be used where the goods are being imported through non-inventory linked locations. HMRC will also continue to provide a service to those who cannot access digital services and will publish a replacement to the current C88 form.

National Export System

If you use the National Export System (NES) to make export declarations, you’ll still be able to do this once CDS is introduced. This will look different and factor in any changes required by the Union Customs Code. HMRC have stated that they will publish more information about making export declarations once it is available.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page