Skip to content

Changes to the UK's customs systems

There are some important changes coming to the UK’s customs systems and we have outlined below further guidance for businesses to prepare for that change.

There is also some information about:

  • what to do if your customs declaration hasn’t been 'arrived'
  • using the correct country code in the Customs Declaration Service
  • having a say on the future of customs.

Moving to a single customs platform
The UK is moving to a single customs platform. Over the past few years, the government have been working with businesses on the Customs Declaration Service, a replacement for Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) which is now nearly 30 years old.

To help businesses and agents prepare for the change, HMRC has published some key steps traders can follow.

The CHIEF system will close in two phases:

  • Phase one: After 30 September 2022: the ability to make import declarations will end.
  • Phase two: After 31 March 2023: the ability to make export declarations will end.

The Customs Declaration Service will serve as the UK's single customs platform, with all businesses needing to declare all imported and exported goods through the Customs Declaration Service after 31 March 2023.

What do I do if your customs declaration hasn’t been 'arrived'?
When you make a declaration (either yourself as the trader or a customs agent), you must make sure that the declaration is updated to an 'arrived' status once the goods have arrived in the UK.

In most cases, goods will be 'arrived' in CHIEF or the Customs Declaration Service via the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) or the port inventory system (Northern Ireland). It is very important that you add the Entry Reference Numbers (ERNs) for all the goods in the movement. If a declaration reference is not in GVMS then GVMS cannot 'arrive' the declaration in CHIEF or the Customs Declaration Service.

Sometimes when the goods reach the GB border location, they still aren’t 'arrived' in CHIEF or the Customs Declaration Service. It’s important to check the status of your customs declaration is correct and, if not, to notify HMRC of the goods’ arrival. To do this you’ll need to sign in to CHIEF or the Customs Declaration Service and send the 'arrival' message confirming the goods are in the UK.

If a Good Movements Reference (GMR) shows the status 'inspection required', the trader, their agent, or the intermediary who created the customs declaration will need to:

  • arrive the declaration using the command code ANGA
  • amend the appropriate data field(s) where an amendment is needed (CHIEF will call up the AIME screen)
  • make sure the RRS01 code is not removed
  • validate and commit (this will amend, accept and arrive the declaration).

Using the correct country code in the Customs Declaration Service
When using the Customs Declaration Service, please remember that you should not use the EU country code when you declare the country of origin or the country of dispatch. Find the correct country code for the Member State to use.

Have your say on the future of customs
HMRC and HM Treasury are seeking your feedback on how the customs system is working and any improvements you’d like to see. You can share your feedback here (consultation closes Monday 2 May).

Where you can get help with importing and exporting
You can access a range of webinars and YouTube videos on importing and exporting with the EU that you can watch by going to our help and support for UK transition page.

If you export to the EU, the Government Export Support Service is a service giving you access to online support or you can contact them on 0300‌‌‌ ‌‌303‌‌‌ 8955.

Your login details have been used by another user or machine. Login details can only be used once at any one time so you have therefore automatically been logged out. Please contact your sites administrator if you believe this other user or machine has unauthorised access.