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Important Changes to Customs Declarations

Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will be replacing the existing Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system (CHIEF).

Who does the change affect?

All importers and exporters who participate in customs declarations in the UK

The current system will be withdrawn in the following phases:

1. On 30th September 2022 - the ability to make import declarations will end

2. On 31st March 2023 – the ability to make export declarations will end

How will you be affected?

Bowker customers who import or export goods will be migrated to CDS. In principle CDS will function is in the same way as CHIEF, although there will be significant changes:

CDS will be accessed by Trader on GOV.UK via a Government Gateway account.

CDS will offer multiple services in one place. Traders can view historical import and export data, gain access to tariffs, apply for authorisations and check duty deferment statements.


When processing customs declarations, we’ll be asking for different data sets. All Customs Procedure Codes will change, and some commodity codes will require additional information.

  • Customs Comprehensive Guarantee number is required on all declarations when a deferment account is being used.
  • CCG will also be required for Special Authorisation and Procedures, e.g. CFSP, inward processing relief. Special Authorizations and Procedures will also have a CDS specific authorization number.

HMRC have created various online documents to provide details of the changes and provide assistance they include:

If you’ve registered for Postponed VAT Accounting (PVA) you have already registered for CDS.

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