The Customs Support website for the UK is currently under construction.
Visit for more information on the customs services that CSG offer throughout Europe.

What the customs clearance routes mean

When importing your goods into the UK, a customs broker will declare your shipment to customs on arrival at the UK border. Customs entries do not all process the same way, though, and your shipment will be allocated one of the customs clearance routes, depending on the commodity, number of imports you have brought in, or as part of a random check. 

The following are the main customs clearance routes, listed from most common to least:

Customs clearance route “H”

A route “H” declaration simply means that your customs clearance is pending, and will go live once the UCN is arrived (or a manual arrival is processed when there is no inventory link).


Route “H” is the most common of the customs clearance routes because most declarations are pre-lodged before arrival. 

Customs clearance route “6”

Customs clearance route “6” is a standard clearance, where your goods will clear within 10 minutes (subject to your import duty and Vat being paid, and release of other customs holds).


Customs clearance route “1”

Route 1 customs clearances require that all paperwork for your entry is sent to the National Clearance Hub, where HMRC will check the declaration before processing the clearance.


Customs declarations are randomly selected to go route 1 for normal imports; however, your goods may be pulled for more regular documentation checks for the following reasons:

– Your commodity requires additional surveillance.

– You are a new importer, or are importing into a new area of the UK for the first time. 

– You have previously been audited by HMRC and were issued guidance on changing your processes. 

Of the customs clearance routes that require additional checks, route 1 is the most common.


Customs clearance route “3”

Customs clearance route 3 is a combination of route 6 and route 1. Your customs clearance will be processed like a route 6, but HMRC require you to send your documents to the National Clearance Hub for checking as well.


Failure to send your documents to the NCH could result in HMRC changing your customs clearance routes from 3 to 1 in the future, so it is important to forward documents accordingly.


Customs clearance route “0”

Route 0 means that your customs clearance is awaiting further action from another government agency, such as DEFRA. This is because the commodity requires an additional declaration, which will be associated to the Declarant Unique Consignment Reference (DUCR) of the entry.


If a clearance goes route 0 and the supplementary declaration has been made, check the values for weight of pieces match across both entries.


Customs clearance route “2”

Route 2 clearances need a paperwork check, the same as a route 1, but will also require your goods to be presented for physical examination by a customs officer. 

Are there any other customs clearance routes?

Declarations can also go route “F”, where there is a query on a quantity entered (such as a weight compared to the value of a commodity) or route “E”, where there is stored data connected to the declaration. These both require amendment or data confirmation, and will change to a different clearance route on amendment.


If you need customs services, or would like to know anything else about customs clearance routes, please get in touch with one of our experts. 

Read more articles!