Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF)

The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) System will be closed.

HMRC will close the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system.

The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will be the standardised customs platform.

The services will be withdrawn in two stages:

How to transition to the Customs Declaration Service?

  1. Prerequisites

    If you have not yet registered with the Government Gateway, please do so now via the GOV.UK "Access the Customs Declaration Service" website.

    If you don't already have one, register for an EORI number that starts with GB.

    If you already have an EORI number and it does not start with GB, apply for an EORI number that starts with GB.

  2. Gaining access to CDS

    You will need to log into your Government Gateway account and provide:

    • your EORI number which starts with GB,
    • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR),
    • company address which is listed in the customs register,
    • your national insurance number (NIN),
    • Date of commencement of business operations,
    • e-mail address.
  3. Payment methods

    CDS uses an HMRC bank account separate from CHIEF, and a new CDS Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) is required. This should be done as soon as possible. Do not cancel the CHIEF DDI - this is how the outstanding CHIEF payments are settled. The cash account in the Flexible Accounting System (FAS) will be replaced with a new cash account for the CDS declaration. You will receive a cash account when registering for the CDS.

    Instant payments

    Through Faster Payments, CHAPS, or BACs, you can transfer money from your bank account. Other options include card payments and Personal Guarantee. Next steps.

    The necessary time to transition to CDS depends on the size and complexity of the organization.

    If you have not done so already, contact your software vendor. You should discuss when you will have the software enabling the switch to CDS.

    If you are making declarations on behalf of others, be sure to contact the traders you represent so they know you are preparing to switch to CDS and can continue to rely on your services.

    You should be in contact with your customs brokers, to understand their plans.

    The CDS GOV.UK home page is where you can learn more about CDS and its services, with links to additional information regarding imports, exports, and financial procedures, including:

    • Main distinctions between CHIEF and CDS.
    • Information on how to fill out declarations most effectively.
    • A section that explains how to use the correct commodity codes and associated additional codes.
    • Also included is a "Troubleshooting" page which lists common CDS errors and corresponding error codes with descriptions.