Importer Action Required: New United Kingdom Customs System

Alison Bowman

Director of Customs and Compliance

We have been through several challenges due to Brexit, and the Customs Declaration Service (CDS), the new UK customs system for import and export declarations across UK borders, is the next significant change. 

The current system, Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) has been in existence for nearly 28 years and is used to process declarations and manage the movement of goods to and from the UK. It also uses paper-based rules and outdated software, and with the introduction of Brexit, the system was never designed to cope with the significant increase in volumes of UK import and export declarations. 

The new CDS uses updated software, and single-use data elements allowing improved data accuracy, and is flexible and scalable. CDS is in line with the Union Customs Code (UCC) rules, which aim to standardise and streamline customs procedures. CDS will be introduced in the UK at the end of September 2022, for ALL imports into the UK. 

In order to prepare for the transition to CDS, there are clear mandatory steps to be completed by the Importer of Record BEFORE CDS can be implemented:

  • Register for the Government Gateway user ID here: 
  • Subscribe to the Customs Declaration Service 
  • Obtain additional deferment direct debit for CDS (where applicable) 
  • Authorise BDP to use your deferment and cash accounts through the Gateway here: Your customs financial accounts - View your customs financial accounts - GOV.UK ( 

Importers must also plan for a number of process and data changes required for CDS declarations:

  • HMRC requires a second Direct Debit to process tax liabilities on CDS entries 
  • The Flexible Accounting System (FAS) accounts will be replaced by Cash Accounts 
  • Customs Comprehensive Guarantees details must be stated on all declarations 
  • The Method of Payment details can no longer be amended after entry acceptance  
  • Confirmation of valuation method will be required 
  • Incoterms and delivery locations must be entered on customs entries  
  • Additional haulier Information is needed for pre-lodgement/GVMS shipments 
  • Prohibitions and Restrictions confirmation required per commodity  
  • Review of current master data, referencing the process and data changes listed 

All companies that import goods into the UK MUST complete these steps so BDP can continue to customs clear cargo into the UK. These compulsory actions must be undertaken by the Importer of Record and cannot be completed by BDP.  

Whilst we are aware there may be challenges in setup, please contact, where a member of the UK CDS project team can support you and ensure your readiness for the introduction of CDS. 

Further detail on the Customs Declaration Service can be found on HMRC site and by clicking here.

Key dates for the UK Government’s official move to CDS:

Imports - 30th September 2022 (CHIEF closed for UK imports) 

Exports - 31st March 2023 (CHIEF withdrawn entirely)