New importers can no longer register to CHIEF and must now use CDS instead

Tue 5 Jul 2022
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News


New importers must now use the government’s new system for submitting customs declarations, HMRC has announced.

As of today (5 July), businesses submitting import declarations for the first time will no longer be able to register to the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system (CHIEF) and must instead sign up to its replacement, the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

Carol Bristow, the director general for borders and trade at HMRC, said that it is “straight forward” for importers to register to CDS and that the new system will “become the UK’s single customs platform allowing for all businesses to submit their customs documents digitally and safely”.

Looming deadline

Importers that have registered to CHIEF before today will be able to continue submitting declarations using the service until it stops receiving import entries on 30 September 2022.

From this date onwards, all import declarations must be submitted on CDS.

HMRC's free CHIEF training service will remain open for only one more week, closing on 10am on 12 July.


HMRC has written multiple letters to businesses warning them of the 30 September deadline.

It is also giving businesses advanced notice of the point at which CHIEF and the National Export System (NES) will stop receiving export declarations, which is 31 March 2023.

Exporters will also need to use CDS from next spring.


Rob Booth, an IOE&IT Academy trade and customs consultant, recently told the IOE&IT Daily Update that traders need to take a “new approach to completing declarations and identifying data requirements on CDS”.

He advised traders to register to CDS via the Government Gateway and to work closely with their intermediaries ahead of the September deadline to ensure updated customs clearance instructions have been prepared.

He also advised traders and intermediaries to make use of the Trader Dress Rehearsal Service that HMRC has prepared to allow firms to get used to the new CDS system.

First step

HMRC is describing the move to CDS as a “first step” in its development of a UK Single Trade Window portal.

This new system will allow businesses to input all the data required by government for a goods movement in one go via a single single-on, rather than completing multiple entries to different government departments.

Border strategy

The Single Trade Window forms part of the government’s 2025 Border Strategy and could play an important role in the government’s plans to digitalise remaining import controls on EU goods entering Britain by the end of 2023.

However, on a recent IOE&IT webinar about digitalisation, only 13% of the delegates said they had an understanding of what a Single Trade Window was.