Making an entry summary declaration

If you are moving goods into Great Britain, into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, or into Northern Ireland from outside the EU, you’ll need to make an entry summary declaration.

Your entry summary declaration must be complete and accurate. You can amend your declaration until your goods arrive at the UK border.

Before you submit a declaration

To submit your declaration you must be registered for either the:

You do not need to make an entry summary declaration from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2022 for goods that are imported into Great Britain from the EU or:

  • Andorra
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • Liechtenstein
  • Switzerland
  • Ceuta and Melilla
  • Heligoland
  • San Marino
  • the Vatican City State
  • the municipalities of Livigno Campione d’Italia
  • the Italian national waters of Lake Lugano, which are between the bank and the political frontier of the area between Ponte Tresa and Porto Ceresio

When to submit

Depending on the type of transport or shipping service you have used, there are different time limits for submitting your declaration.

How you’re shipping goods When to submit (minimum timing requirement)
Maritime containerised cargo at least 24 hours before loading at the port of departure
Maritime bulk or break bulk cargo at least 4 hours before arrival
Short straits sea voyages at least 2 hours before arrival
Short-haul flights – less than 4 hours’ duration at least at the time of actual take-off
Long-haul flights at least 4 hours before arrival
Rail and inland waterways at least 2 hours before arrival
Road traffic at least 1 hour before arrival

If you’re using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service

The entry summary declaration will need to be submitted at the earliest of either:

  • the minimum timing requirement
  • before check-in closes

This is to allow for the Movement Reference Number from the entry summary declaration to be recorded in the Goods Movement Reference, which will be validated by the carrier at check in.

More information about the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

Short straits sea voyages

For short straits sea journeys, safety and security import declarations will have to be submitted at least 2 hours pre-arrival for both containerised and non-containerised imports.

Short straits sea journeys into Great Britain refers to journeys from:

  • the English Channel, or the Atlantic coast of Europe from the point where it meets the English Channel to and including the port of Algeciras
  • Norway
  • Ireland
  • the Faroe Islands
  • Iceland
  • ports on the Baltic Sea and the North Sea

Short straits sea journeys into Northern Ireland refers to journeys from:

  • Greenland
  • the Faroe Islands
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • ports on the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea
  • all ports of Morocco

How to submit

To submit your declaration use the:

  • S&S GB service for bringing goods into Great Britain
  • Import Control System Northern Ireland for bringing goods into Northern Ireland

You will need to provide documents and licences for your import.

You will also need information about the:

  • goods description or commodity code
  • consignor and consignee
  • type, amount and packaging of your goods
  • mode of transport at the border
  • onward journey details

After you submit

Once your entry summary declaration is accepted you will be issued with a Movement Reference Number.

You should check if a port has an inventory linked system. If a port is not inventory linked, a Goods Movement Reference must be generated using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

Read more about how to move goods through ports that use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

What happens next

The declaration will then be risk assessed and the results will be used by the UK Border Force to either identify:

  • shipments they wish to prevent being loaded onto the vessel entering Great Britain and Northern Ireland (for deep sea containerised maritime cargo only)
  • imports that they may wish to control on entering Great Britain and Northern Ireland

If you get a ‘Do Not Load’ message, the UK Border Force will tell you what to do.

For goods moving into Northern Ireland, if a vessel or aircraft diverts to a different Office of First Entry, you’ll need to submit a diversion request as soon as you know about the diversion. Once your goods arrive in Northern Ireland, you must submit an arrival notification.

Find out more about the customs declarations you can make when bringing your goods to the UK.

Making an amendment

Your declaration must be accurate and complete when submitted to the best of your knowledge. However, you can make an amendment if something changes, like the amount of goods or the time of the sea crossing, for example.

The time limits for the lodging of the declaration do not start again after the amendment since, legally, it is the initial declaration that sets them. Amendments can only be made up until the point of arrival in the UK.

There is no cancellation message for either S&S GB service or Import Control System. Submitted declarations can be amended but not cancelled.

An amendment contains all the data of the original declaration plus any amendment made and is linked to the first entry. Where goods are no longer to be shipped it is not necessary to inform the S&S GB service or Import Control System Northern Ireland.

Published 10 January 2019
Last updated 14 September 2021 
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