What is CDS?

The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) is the computer system being introduced by HMRC to replace the existing Customs Handling Import Export Freight (CHIEF).

HMRC is closing the CHIEF system on 31 March 2023. The CDS is replacing it as the UK’s single customs platform. All businesses involved in the importing and exporting of goods will be required to declare the goods to HMRC via CDS, either on behalf of their own business or by way of a customs agent.

When will CDS be introduced?

HMRC will gradually reduce CHIEF services, with functionality switched-off in 2 phases.


  • Friday 30 September 2022, you will not be able to make import declarations using CHIEF
  • Friday 31 March 2023, you will not be able to make export declarations using CHIEF and the National Export System (NES)

How will this impact my business?

There will be an onus on businesses to provide clear information to their customs agent or freight forwarder, to allow them to complete the declarations, thereby adhering to the CDS criteria.

What steps can I take to prepare for CDS?

You can ask someone to complete declarations for you, using an intermediary or enabled software provider to submit your declarations from 1 January 2021.

We will be running a training event on the new CDS system on 20 June 2022 at 10am. Tickets are now live and and you can book your place here. Please note these places are limited and we expect them to go very quickly.

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