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UK Customs Declaration Service: Move from CHIEF to CDS with AEB

Author: Exports News
Aug 31, 2023
2 min read
Aug 31, 2023
2 min read
UK, Trade in UK

The UK customs declaration service CDS is replacing CHIEF. Get an overview of timelines and key differences, and meet requirements with AEB’s customs software.

CDS replaces CHIEF: Timeline for Imports and Exports

The UK customs authority HMRC is closing its Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system which has been in operation for almost 30 years now. It is being replaced by the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) as the new UK’s single customs platform. All businesses managing UK customs declarations will need to declare goods using the Customs Declaration Service. CDS has been running since 2018 and HMRC is managing the system replacement in phases:


As of September 30, 2022, import declarations are no longer managed in CHIEF and have moved to the new CDS system. 

HMRC had offered a time-limited option for traders to ask for permission to continue using CHIEF for imports from October 1, 2022, onwards, however, this option is no longer available as of December 15, 2022. 


On March 30, 2024, the CHIEF system for exports will formally close and businesses will need to use CDS for their export declarations. This timeline includes a new phased approach that was announced by HMRC on August 23, 2023 as follows: 

  1. Phase: Selected high-volume declarants will move to CDS for exports by November 30, 2023. HMRC will inform applicable traders accordingly. 
  2. Phase: All other businesses will move to CDS for exports by March 30, 2024 – with migrations expected to start in the beginning of the year.

The original deadline for the export migration from CHIEF to CDS was March 31, 2023. This was then extended to November 30, 2023, and has now moved to the new phased approach as outlined above. 

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