Date: 21.06.2022

Get ready for HMRC’s new Customs Declaration Service

The customs handling of import and export freight system (CHIEF) has been in use by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for nearly 30 years and was due to be replaced when the UK left the European Union (EU), but its CDS replacement was not ready to handle the large increase in customs declarations, so the government focused on updating CHIEF, adding functionality to the system.

The decision to create CDS, the new customs declaration service was made before the EU referendum in 2015 and CDS was originally scheduled to to launch in 2019 but as Brexit changed the UK’s trading landscape so dramatically, CHIEF was retained, while CDS was scaled to handle the increase in the volume of declarations resulting from Brexit, which has been estimated at 400 million p.a.

The government now feels confident that CDS can be rolled out completely, so HMRC is moving from paper-based rules on CHIEF, to data processing rules on CDS in two stages:

30th September 2022
Import declarations will no longer be accepted via CHIEF

31st March 2023
Export declarations will no longer be accepted via CHIEF and the National Export System (NES)

Metro clients will be migrated onto the CDS platform and we will maintain the same support currently provided by our export, import and off service brokerage teams, but you must hold a valid GB EORI and be registered to use CDS. 

Customers with their own deferment account will also need to set up a new direct debit mandate, as their CHIEF one will not work. 

Once registered, via their government gateway account, traders will be able to use CDS, get import VAT statements and certificates, view import and export data, check tariffs, apply for authorisations and check their duty deferment statements. 


  1. Apply for (GB) Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI)
  2. Register (Access) for a Government Gateway account
  3. Register for the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) which can take up to five working days
  4. Choose which payment method to use
  5. Grant us authority to use your duty deferment approval number

Gov gateway
Register for CDS
CDS direct debit
Deferment authorisation

Our customs brokerage team have been processing live entries through CDS and our CuDoS automated customs platform has been updated for and integrated with CDS for nationwide declarations, at any point of entry or exit.

If you have not registered for CDS, or are uncertain how it applies to you, we can guide you through the changes and actions required. Contact us now for further information, or to discuss your situation.