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CDS migration to complete in 2023 as HMRC gives deadlines for CHIEF closures

The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) has managed customs clearances in the UK since 1994, but is now being phased out for a more future friendly system. CHIEF’s replacement, the Customs Declaration Service (CDS), became active in 2018 and has been running alongside CHIEF on a phased rollout. 

Following successful testing and implementation of CDS, HMRC have now given the green light to close CHIEF and proceed with the migration of all customs services to CDS.

What are the deadlines for CHIEF declarations?

Whilst HMRC are encouraging customs brokers to move their declarations over to CDS as soon as possible, the following deadlines have been imposed on CHIEF:

On 30th September 2022, CHIEF will stop accepting import declarations.

On 31st March 2023, CHIEF will close for export declarations and be shut down permanently.

The move of customs clearance traffic from CHIEF to CDS will be dependent on customs clearance SaaS providers, instead of individual customs brokers. As customs declaration SaaS providers upgrade their systems and test links to the CDS system, their customers will all migrate at once, causing a phased move to the Customs Declaration Service. 

What will change on CDS?


The process for declaring goods to customs will be different on the Customs Declaration Service, and more details will be provided on each clearance, but the information and documents required from you will be the same. For example, “declaration categories” will be used in place of the current CPC codes on CHIEF, but will serve the same function.

With a higher amount of average boxes required to be completed on declarations made using CDS – approximately 50% more – it is expected that customs clearance fees will be raised in accordance with the increased processing required. 

The additional data gathered on your declarations will be useful to you, though, as the Customs Declaration Service has lots of additional features available to traders, such as reports, data tools, and other helpful resources. This will be viewable by you on a dashboard so that you have an overview of your shipments. 

What do you need to do?


UK Customs Solutions are already liaising with our customs SaaS providers so that we can begin to use the Customs Declaration Service by the winter months, and will continue to use both CHIEF and CDS as we move towards the first CHIEF closure deadline in September 2022.

If you would like to know more about how CDS will impact your customs clearances, please contact us for more information.

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