CHIEF to CDS - what you need to know

Are you aware of the CHIEF switch off dates, and do you know how to prepare for your migration'


Coming changes in Customs entry processing, will affect both Import and Export declarations - here's our checklist to help the move from CHIEF to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS)


Where we are currently with customs declarations

The current principal system when processing UK customs declarations is via the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system otherwise known by it’s more familiar acronym of CHIEF.

For some time the Government along with HMRC have been developing a more advanced platform for the processing of customs entries with a view to having one of the worlds most efficient customs system by 2025, this newer system is known as the Customs Declaration Service abbreviated to CDS.


Import declarations from the 30th September 2022

CDS is already operational and will replace CHIEF (now 25 years old) in two phases, the first of these will affect Import declarations following the 30th September 2022 from which point all new import customs entries will be completed through the CDS.


Export declarations from the 31st March 2023

The second phase will apply to export customs declarations & this is set to go live through CDS after 31st March 2023.


What will Change'

Most Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders, including Spatial Global, should already be active within the CDS & preparing personnel for the system changeover which whilst may firstly appear somewhat familiar to an experienced customs operator, does require more detail during entry completion than through CHIEF.

It’s expected that all Customs Procedure Codes (CPC’s) will change and some additional information may be required when entering certain commodity items & codes during the entry process.

Customs Agents, Brokers, Freight Forwarders, Importers and Exporters whom require customs declarations must register for CDS. We've included useful links & checklist below.

C79 post entry statements will no longer be sent by customs through post & will instead be accessible via download within the financial dashboard section in the CDS from - where you may also view your current deferment balance should you have one.


What you need to do


1:  Access your Government Gateway account

Most businesses  have a Government Gateway account to access their tax account. If you don't have a Government Gateway account, you'll need to create one.  You can register for a Government Gateway user ID via the GOV.UK ‘Get access to the Customs Declaration Service’ page.


2: Apply for an Economic Operator Registration and Id number

Register for an EORI number that starts with GB if you don’t have one already. (most businesses importing or exporting  goods into and out of the UK already have one). If you already have an EORI number and it does not start with GB, you must apply for a GB EORI number. It free and takes about 10 minutes to apply, you'll receive your EORI number in about a week from registering.


3: Register for the Customs Declaration Service

Register to access the CDS

When you log into your Government Gateway account, you'll need to provide:

  • Your EORI number that starts with GB.
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).
  • The address for your business that we hold on our customs records.
  • National Insurance number.
  • The date you started your business.
  • Your email address.


4: Financial Dashboard - Manage your account authorities

Once register for CDS you will have access to your company Financial dashboard, where you can review your accounts and authorise your broker to use your deferment account

To do so, just click on Manage your account authorities and follow the instructions:



You will be able to access the Secure File Upload Service if you need to send HMRC supporting documents, such as licences or certificates of origin.


  • If you have a Deferment account with customs for payment of Duties and Taxes, you will also need to set up a new direct debit mandate for CDS as the HMRC bank account number differs to that used for CHIEF. Set up a Direct Debit for a duty deferment account on the Customs Declaration Service - GOV.UK (


  • Give authority to your Agent, Broker or Freight Forwarder to use your deferment account on declarations, Spatial EORI for nomination when completing the form is GB115102867000. If you use multiple Agents for customs processing, you’ll need to authorise each. Your customs financial accounts - View your customs financial accounts - GOV.UK (


Further detail, toolkits and trader specific information describing the system changes can be accessed via the following link.


If you need help or just some advice, we'll be happy to take your call or enquiry



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