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Preparing for Customs Declaration Service (CDS)

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

After Brexit, there have been many changes taking place in the UK customs space. However, the change process does not only cover the regulation of trade processes with the EU and other countries after leaving the EU. The UK is introducing several new practices to make customs processes more efficient and faster. UK customs authority HMRC is shutting down the Customs Handling of Imports and Exports Freight (CHIEF) system, which has continued to this day. The UK's single customs platform is being replaced by the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

What Does a Customs Declaration Do?

In order to carry out the customs clearance of the goods that will enter or leave Great Britain within the scope of your foreign trade activities, you must notify the customs administration about these goods and the foreign trade transaction you have made. This declaration is called a "customs declaration."

About the Customs Declaration Service (CDS)

The Customs Declaration Service supports filing import and export declarations when transporting goods to and from the UK. In order for a customs declaration to be opened, a good must be sold or purchased abroad and subject to customs procedures.

The UK customs system is in the process of restructuring. All UK customs declaration parties will need to declare their goods with this new system (Customs Declaration Service – CDS).

Companies that want to export and import should work with a customs broker in order to process declarations without problems. The customs broker is authorised to process UK customs declarations on behalf of the companies it represents. You must authorise them to use your deferment account.

CDS will replace the current system called CHIEF. This process will be implemented in two stages with import declarations replaced on the 30th September 2022 and concludes with export declarations switching on the 31st of March, 2023.

CDS and UK Foreign Trade

The UK continues to negotiate a free trade agreement after the Brexit process. The government aims to secure trade by signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with countries that account for 80% of UK trade by the end of 2022. At this stage, thanks to CDS, the UK customs system will become more accessible, robust and better prepared to respond to increased trade volumes.

CDS Transition Process for Organisations Using Customs Brokers

If you are using an agent to file customs declarations on your behalf, that is, if you are working with a customs broker, you need to find out if they still use CHIEF. Ensure your customs broker or service provider can move your declarations to the Customs Declaration Service before CHIEF closes. Go to "" and review the 'Customs Declaration Service communication package.' Companies not authorised to use CDS will not be able to receive services from customs consultants after CHIEF closes.

CDS Transition Process for Self-Declared Organisations

The transition from the CHIEF process to CDS is more critical for companies that carry out customs clearance in-house. The personnel tasked with making customs declarations should take time to prepare to the transition to CDS. They should familiarise themselves with the new rules and find a CDS compliant software solution.

The Advantages of the Customs Declaration Service

Users will need to adjust to the new environment and associated requirements, as with any system change. The new customs declaration service is similar to the old import and export freight system in terms of how users file a declaration.

  • By allowing you to submit customs documents digitally and safely using the Secure File Upload service, the Customs Declaration Service helps your business save time, clear goods quickly, and manage finances.

  • Access to all of your financial information through a single financial dashboard where you can view account statements, make, and manage standing authority.

  • Providing real-time notifications and alerts for all customs declarations and movements

  • Giving you the ability to manage your business finances by opening a duty deferment account and making payments by card or bank transfer, allowing your goods to clear without delay.

How Can I Prepare to Use the Customs Declaration Service?

The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will become mandatory for import transactions at the beginning of October 2022. It will begin to serve as the UK's "single customs platform" from the 31st of March 2022.

This means that the Customs Administration of Import and Export Transportation (CHIEF) system will become will become obsolete, and companies not authorised to user CDS will not able to export and import. National Export System (NES) will expire on the 31st March 2022.

Schedule for CHIEF System Replacement:

The decommissioning of the CHIEF system will take place in two phases.

  • September 30, 2022, for import declarations

  • For export declarations, March 31, 2023

What You Should Do to Use CDS

Contract with a customs broker, customs agent, freight forwarder, express package operator, or software provider to process your company's export and import operations and fill in customs declarations. With the authorisation you give to these companies, they will be able to prepare CDS on your behalf. Have your employees responsible for export and import operations receive CDS training in your company.

  • If you plan to create customs declarations on your own and not with a customs broker, get the necessary software to do so. It's better to search for info required to prepare a CDS and whether your company meets these requirements. Refer to for more information.

  • In order for your company to access CDS, you must complete the following information and documents:

  • Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).

  • National Insurance (NI) number.

  • You need a company address and your company's registration date.

CDS registration in not a long procedure, but delays may occur depending on the number of companies waiting on the last day for registration. If HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) needs to perform additional checks, then a delay in accessing the service is inevitable. For this reason, acting immediately on the CDS registration process is useful.

Trader Dress Rehearsal

We advise CDS declarants to send test declarations to the Trader Dress Rehearsal service once they have purchased declaration filing software. TDR, in short, is a free virtual CDS platform designed to prepare you for making live declarations to CDS. With this service, you get the chance to try out by completing several virtual customs declarations.

Who Can Use The Trader Dress Rehearsal Service:

Who Can Use The Trader Dress Rehearsal Service:

  • Traders and Declarant

  • Customs Brokers

  • Community System Providers

  • Fast Parcel service providers and Express Operators.

The Trader Dress Rehearsal Service Benefits

By using the TDR service, you create example CDS declarations needed to prepare for an actual export or import transaction. With this service, it allows you to perform the operations listed below during the migration to CDS.

· You can make import and export declarations using real-time data in collaboration with supply chain partners..

· You can create realistic business scenarios in a simulated environment supported by the Customs Declaration Service.

· There will be no financial payments, and your licenses or quotas will not be affected.

How to Register Customs Declaration Service

All companies have to register their business for CDS through their Government Gateway Portal. After completing the registration process, you need to finalise to appoint a customs broker or a service provider as a user and allow them to handle your customs transactions.

Making the registration takes less than 30 minutes, even if you carefully check each step. CDS approval takes place within 24 hours. When you register with CDS with your "government gateway user ID", you are authorised to do the following::

  • Creating import and export declarations using software and uploading them to the system.

  • Receiving your deferred import VAT returns or obtaining your import VAT certificates to complete your VAT refund.

  • To be able to pay Customs Duty and VAT fees.

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