HMRC calls on exporters to subscribe to Customs Declaration Service

Wed 8 Nov 2023
Posted by: Danielle Keen
Trade News

HMRC logo on Whitehall building

The government has called on all exporters to subscribe to the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS), which will be mandatory for export declarations from 31 March next year.

In an email sent to all non-subscribed export declarants, HMRC outlines the information and steps needed to subscribe to the service.

The legacy service currently in use, Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF), will be fully retired on 30 March 2024. The system has already become defunct for importers who made the CDS migration last year.

Subscription process

In order to subscribe, declarants must make sure they have the following information:

  • their existing Government Gateway user ID and password
  • the business’ Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI number)
  • their Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • their national insurance number, if a sole trader
  • the business address in HMRC records
  • the date the business was started

If declarants do not have any of the above information, this will either need to be found or applied for, in the case of an EORI number.

Next steps

HMRC has encouraged traders to continue using CHIEF while it ensures the new system accommodates all export routes and export declaration types.

In the meantime, it recommends businesses contact their software providers as soon as possible to find out whether the software they’re currently using is compatible with CDS for making export declarations and whether it will allow them to begin practicing via’s Trader Dress Rehearsal Service.

The service enables traders to prepare for the migration by simulating the online CDS environment, allowing users to submit export declarations in a variety of scenarios.

Additional resources

HMRC has a number of guides and contact points to access further support on migrating to and using CDS.

This includes a collection page, collating all information relevant to CDS, and a video tutorial on how to subscribe.

Questions can be submitted to HMRC via digital and analogue channels found here.