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New Customs Declaration Service Explained

From 31st March 2023, all businesses will need to declare goods through the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). The CDS has been in use for Northern Ireland and Rest of the World declarations since 2018, however, it is soon to be a requirement for all import and export declarations.

What is the new Customs Declarations Service?

The New Customs Declarations Service is a new electronic system which supports making import and export declarations when moving goods in and out of the UK. The CDS has been developed to accommodate all the changes to EU legislation following the introduction of the Union Customs Code.

How does it replace old processes

Prior to the CDS, the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) had been in use for importing and exporting goods for 30 years, from the 30th September 2022, CDS has replaced imports and from 31st March 2023.

The main difference between CHIEF and CDS are;

  • Customs Legislation: CDS now follows Union Custom Codes (UCC) and Data Integration and Harmonisation rules
  • Declaration completion requirements: CDS has new declaration completion requirements which cover declaring imports and exports as well as inventory imports and exports. The previous CHIEF declarations will be rejected as they are no longer recognised by the system.
  • Data Entry: The new data entry system moves away from paper records. There are 91 data elements with specific use and entries are restricted to a specific format to increase accuracy with an option to upload any supporting documents online.
  • Procedure codes: In the new system the codes are split into two parts, a single 4-digit Procedure Code and 3-digit Additional Procedure Codes for a single goods item. CDS codes will remain the same for standard and/or supplementary declaration types.
  • Error Codes: The existing error codes will be replaced with 200 error codes which explain the exact error so it can be resolved easily.
  • Finance: The methods of paying are much more flexible than the previous CHIEF process including the addition of immediate payment and new cash accounts. You can also access all of your customs financial information on the CDS system.
  • Access: Access to the CDS is available through a subscription to the CDS online.

How to prepare for the new Customs Declarations Service

To prepare for the new Customs Declaration Service, you’ll need to follow these two simple steps.

  1. Apply for an Economic Registration and Identification number which can be done online via the government website.
  2. Subscribe to the CDS online through the government website, you should be able to get access within either 2 hours or 5 working days if more checks need to be made.

When you make the change to CDS, you’ll be able to add any relevant team members onto your account, it’s important to make sure anyone using CDS is fully trained and understands your business data elements. You can use Free Dress Rehearsal software from the government to practice before entering your data into the system permanently. It’s also important to make sure that all the details such as business address and contact details are correct and match the government records and familiarise yourself with the new financial processes.  

How can Lesters Logistics help?

Here at Lesters Logistics, we provide our customers with a wide range of logistics services across a number of locations across the UK and we’re also experts in European logistics. To find out more contact our helpful team today.