Customs Declaration Service (CDS) FAQs

The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) is a new system introduced by the UK Government to support customs declarations for imports and exports.

This piece of content will answer the common questions asked by people regarding CDS:

What is a CDS system?

The customs declaration system (CDS) is the UK Government’s electronic system for handling the customs declaration procedures for all imports and exports. HMRC has introduced this system to replace the outdated CHIEF in various stages.

Visit these pages to learn more about the CDS system:

When should you do a custom declaration?

You should do a customs declaration in the following cases:

  • When sending goods outside the UK from Wales, England or Scotland.
  • When sending goods to any non-EU location from Northern Ireland.
  • When sending goods to EU locations from Northern Ireland.

When did CHIEF change to CDS?

CHIEF was changed to CDS by HMRC on 30 September 2022, shifting all the customs declarations to this electronic platform.

Why is CHIEF being replaced with CDS?

HMRC is replacing CHIEF with CDS because of its complexity and inefficiency in complying with updated European Union customs regulations and requirements, particularly the Union Customs Code. CDS is more flexible and is capable of scaling with the growth of global trade, making it preferable to CHIEF.

Can you do customs declarations online?

Yes, you can do customs declarations online with the help of iCustoms’ specialised AI-driven Customs Declaration Software.

What is the deadline for exporters to migrate from CHIEF to CDS?

Exporters have until June 4, 2024, to migrate from CHIEF to CDS. Once this date passes, HMRC will no longer accept export declarations using CHIEF.

Do all importers need to register for CDS?

Yes, all the importers need to register for CDS, even if you aren’t doing customs declarations yourself.

What needs to be declared at UK customs?

You must declare the following goods at UK customs:

  • Having value more than £873
  • Weigh more than 1000 kg
  • Excise goods
  • Goods require licence
  • Restricted goods

What documents do I need when importing to the UK?

The following documents are required when importing goods to the UK:

  • Bill of lading
  • EORI number
  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing list
  • Bill of entry

You may also need the following ones:

  • Certificate of origin
  • CE certificate
  • Certificate for port health
  • Test certificate
  • MSDS (Material safety data sheet)
  • Import or export licenses

What are the new UK duty-free limits?

As per the Government of the UK, you can bring goods worth up to £390 without paying duty or tax. Nonetheless, a passenger’s allowance for goods is limited to £270 when they travel for pleasure by private aircraft or boat.

Do I need CDS software if my customs clearance is done by a broker?

You’ll not need Customs Declaration Software (CDS) when using a third party, such as a customs broker or agent, to submit a declaration.

iCustoms provides CDS for customs brokers to automate the procedure.

Is CDS based on the UCC rules?

The Customs Declaration Software (CDS) is based on the Union Customs Code (UCC) rules, which are interpreted and implemented by the United Kingdom’s laws. The customs clearance request and CDS declaration instructions explain how to fill out a customs declaration following the UCC rules.

How do CHIEF and CDS Procedure Codes differ?

Customs Procedure Codes (CPCs) in CHIEF have a 7-digit code for a product, while CDS Procedure Codes consist of two parts; the first part has a 4-digit code, and the second has up to 99 3-digit code for a single item.

How can I validate my data before submitting a customs declaration?

Customs compliance software performs basic data validation; it checks inconsistencies, missing fields, and invalid formats.

How can I stay updated on technical changes to CDS?

HMRC provides regular updates to its online resources and guidance. You can subscribe to email alerts for updates on the CDS:

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About iCustoms

iCustoms is an all-in-one solution helping businesses automate customs processes more efficiently. With AI-powered and machine-learning capabilities, iCustoms is designed to streamline your all customs procedures in a few minutes, cut additional costs and save time.



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