HMRC announces ‘new phased approach’ for export declarations on CDS

HMRC announces ‘new phased approach’ for export declarations on CDS

23.8.2023 | Customs

HMRC announces ‘new phased approach’ for export declarations on CDS

The Government has today (23 August) announced a new timeline for when businesses need to be completing export declarations using the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). 

CDS is replacing the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system, and exporters had been due to have moved over to using it by 31 October 2023.

However, HMRC has said that it is now adopting a “new phased approach” with “selected high-volume declarants” being asked to move to CDS for exports by 30 November 2023, with all other businesses being required to use it by 30 March 2024.

Businesses have been required to complete import declarations on CDS since autumn 2022.


HMRC said it came to the decision to change the timelines for migration “after listening to feedback from the industry.”

Sarah Hartley, director of border change delivery at HMRC, said:

“Having worked closely with our industry partners, we’re introducing a phased approach for moving export declarations to CDS.

“Those businesses who have the IT functionality in place are still able to move across to CDS by Thursday, 30 November 2023, ahead of the majority who will now migrate at the beginning of 2024.

“Full guidance, resources and support will be available for all declarants to ensure the transition across to CDS is as smooth as possible for every business.”

HMRC also said the new timeline will allow for “better support” to be provided for exporters migrating to CDS.

Businesses that are able to move to CDS before the first deadline, 30 November, will be contacted by HMRC or their software developer in September.


Kevin Shakespeare, the director of strategic projects and international development at the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), said the extension was “welcome and expected”, but added that businesses will continue to need support with the migration.

“The new phased approach from HMRC will be welcomed by many exporters. IOE&IT is keen to ensure that all businesses get the support they need with the migration – particularly lower-volume declarants who are unsure about their readiness for using CDS.

“IOE&IT is delivering webinars, training and consultancy over the next few months to help all businesses get ready for CDS. We’re here for the whole community – whether that’s high-volume declarants preparing for 30 November or lower-volume businesses preparing for the end of March next year”.

Issues to be worked through

Anna Doherty, a senior trade and customs specialist at IOE&IT, also welcomed the news, saying it gave HMRC and its delivery partners time to work through some of the technological issues posed by the migration.

“The new timeline gives government and businesses breathing space to properly prepare for the CDS migration as issues remain with the new system – including functionalities around creating declarations for inventory-linked locations.

“Exporters which use services of multiple agents for their customs declarations may also find themselves in a position where they have a mix of CHIEF and CDS entries, similarly as we experienced with the roll out of CDS for imports.”

Next steps

HMRC’s Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC) has also written to the industry, following today’s announcement, advising traders that they need to take the following steps to ensure they’re ready for the CDS migration:

Source: Institute of Export and International Trade

HMRC announces ‘new phased approach’ for export declarations on CDS

HMRC Statement on IT issues with CDS

1.11.2022 | Customs


The Department is experiencing issues with Customs Declaration Service following an update connected to another system relating to Tariff changes overnight. 

The following contingency processes are now in place at GB ports to ensure businesses can keep goods and freight moving while they return to full service.  These measures will be in place until further notice. 

  • Hauliers using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service should create a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) and select ‘Declaration by Conduct’  
  • Traders / Declarants are to amend, arrive or re-submit declarations when CDS issues have been resolved 

If you are moving  Controlled Goods, HMRC has advised that consideration should be given to delaying your journey as controlled goods must remain at the port or attend an Inland Border Facility for inspection.  

HMRC understands the concerns of traders and takes system resilience very seriously. The Department will continue to work closely with the trade to minimise disruption and apologise for any inconvenience caused. 

This issue is not related to the CHIEF extension closure on 31st Oct. 

Full details of HMRC’s systems are available on its service availability page, which is regularly updated. HMRC encourages customers to refer to this page before embarking on any journey. 

Source: BIFA

HMRC announces ‘new phased approach’ for export declarations on CDS

CDS Migration – continued access to CHIEF

21.9.2022 | Customs

CDS Migration – continued access to CHIEF

HMRC confirms there will be an online application form to request permission to continue using CHIEF Imports for a short time while you register for CDS.


What happens on the 30th of September 2022?
Those who have made the switch to CDS Imports will continue to Import into the UK using the new customs declaration service.

If you are not set up to use CDS for Imports, you will have to use the online application form to request permission for an extension to continue to use CHIEF Imports.

You need to apply using an online form; further details are available on Gov.UK.

PLEASE NOTE: You will only be compliant to use CHIEF for Imports beyond the 30th of September if you have permission granted by HMRC.

This extension application is open to traders who have genuine reasons for not having completed the migration to CDS in time i.e.: training for CDS booked in October, Software provider not ready etc….

For those traders who are not committed to the migration and no evidence can be produced to prove they have begun the migration process, permission to use CHIEF in the interim will not be granted, and they will ultimately lose their CHIEF Badge.

The online application is open to current CHIEF Badge holders only.

If you are a new import business, you should be registered or in the process of registering for CDS.

Any applications made with an extension date beyond the 31st of October will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by HMRC, and additional information will be required.

Message from HMRC – Not going to move in time for 1 October 2022?

If you are unable to use CDS for your import declarations or use a customs agent, we are allowing CHIEF badge holders to seek permission for a short extension to use CHIEF beyond 30 September, based on a clear business reason.

 Those that successfully apply for an extension will be provided with help and support to move to the Customs Declaration Service as soon as possible.

If you continue to use CHIEF from 1 October 2022 without permission, HMRC reserves the right to remove your access.

HMRC announces ‘new phased approach’ for export declarations on CDS

Two months to go – make sure you are CDS ready

3.8.2022 | Customs

Two months to go - make sure you are ready for CDS

From 30 September 2022, traders will no longer be able to file import declarations using CHIEF, with export declarations following in March 2023.

BIFA has been highlighting the transition from CHIEF to CDS for some time. The BIFA Customs Policy Group representing the Membership has been providing insights to HMRC regarding how the new system works in practice, issues are being identified, and remedies implemented.

HMRC have re-iterated to Members and wider trade on many occasions that CHIEF will be closed to new Import Customs Declarations as of the 30th September 2022. This means that from the 1st of October 2022, ALL import declarations will have to be submitted via the new Customs Declaration Service. In order for the new service to work efficiently, all parties connected with providing information and submitting customs declarations need to be fully prepared for the change.

This link highlights the importance of this change and outlines the steps that importers have to take to set up their CDS account.

The amount of data required to complete a CDS declaration is greater than the equivalent in CHIEF.  BIFA has prepared a document detailing the additional data which needs to be collected and included in a CDS declaration.

The Association has also created a microsite which includes much vital information on the subject. There is additional information on transitioning to CDS here.

Having spoken to Members who have preparing to move from CHIEF to CDS, software providers and CSPs, it is clear that the transition to CDS is hard at every stage. There is more data to collect, including valuation information, CPCs are now in two parts and authorisations. The reality is that without this information, customs entries will be delayed and freight movements disrupted.

There is further information and assistance provided on the government website, including a CDS toolkit, import and export guides, and checklists. HMRC are increasing their communications with the importer community, the Department is contacting declarants by phone and email to inform them of the steps they need to take to transition from CHIEF to CDS.

Source: BIFA

UK Customs Solutions has completed its rebrand into Customs Support

UK Customs Solutions has completed its rebrand into Customs Support

5.7.2022 | Customs

UK Customs Solutions has completed its rebrand into Customs Support

New identity launched and aligns Felixstowe’s office with European colleagues. 

Nine months after the Customs Support Group (CSG) acquired UK Customs Solutions, the company has embraced its new branding and benefits from a corporate ID that now aligns with its colleagues across Europe.

Gary Harrold, managing director of Customs Support here in the UK attended the milestone celebrations at the Felixstowe head office on 20th June and said:

“Everyone across our offices has been working really hard during this acquisition period. We’ve been changing our systems, upgrading our services, auditing from top to bottom, and staying ahead of Brexit, all while keeping our commitment to our customers to be their customs partner and provide excellent service.

Although we have been working with the rest of the Customs Support network for some time, the launch of the new branding is a fantastic celebration of what our people have achieved, and it’s great to see them enjoying the day.”

Marketing Manager for the UK and Ireland Bee Newboult, who joined shortly after the acquisition, also attended the celebrations in Felixstowe.

As the lead for the UK rebrand project, Bee worked with all the offices across the UK, suppliers, and Customs Support headquarters in the Netherlands to prepare everyone for the official rebrand date. She says: “Across the company, I’ve seen everyone pull together to achieve so much, in such a short space of time, during this transition period.

“Even though it has been exceptionally busy, the team have been amazing in working together to get everything done. I am excited to see what we can do now that we can focus on our future developments.”

Customs Support is the leading independent and neutral provider of customs clearance services across Europe, with over 1000 declarants serving over 10,000 businesses every year.

Headquartered in the Netherlands, Customs Support also has offices in Belgium, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Poland, and Italy.

In the UK, CSG boasts a network of eight strategically placed offices and over 250 customs specialists, ready to provide customers with end-to-end customs clearance services.

Change to safety and security declarations announced

Change to safety and security declarations announced

21.6.2022 | Customs

Change to safety and security declarations announced

Government announces raft of customs easements to support industry and improve flow at UK borders.

Traders, hauliers and carriers are set to benefit from four Safety & Security (S&S) facilitations, which will come into force from 1st July 2022 for EU and the rest of world trade.

The facilitations are as follows:

  • Making S&S Movement Reference Numbers (MRNs) optional in the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS), for both imports and exports
  • Removal of S&S requirements on outbound inter-port transhipments (when moved under transit and a single transport contract)
  • Removal of S&S requirements on Merchandise in Baggage, for both imports and exports
  • As part of the package of easements, empty units exported under a transport contract will no longer be required to complete S&S declarations

Removing the need for S&S declarations (also known as Exit Summary or EXS declarations) will reduce the burden on hauliers and carriers, allowing empty containers, pallets and vehicles to move more quickly and efficiently.

Also from 1st July 2022, carriers can complete inputs into the GVMS without entering any S&S declaration reference numbers. Including the S&S declaration reference number has previously been encouraged, and this remains an option; however, users now can complete the form without it if they choose to.

For the latest guidance please contact BIFA.