Supplementary Declarations for exports

How to submit Supplementary Declarations electronically for goods exported outside the EU: the process for using the National Export System.

Supplementary Declarations for exports

Supplementary Declarations (SDs) are used for exports outside the EU and don’t apply to the movement of goods within the EU. They enable traders to provide full export information to customs on goods destined for outside the EU after shipment.

SDs can’t be used for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) goods. For CAPgoods, you must make a full declaration before shipment.

You need to be authorised to submit SDs or use an authorised agent.

Instead of submitting a full export declaration before export, authorised traders need only provide preliminary information in the form of a Pre-Shipment Advice (PSA). Once clearance or approval has been given, you can export the goods from the UK or move them from your UK premises, depending on the type of authorisation you hold. This is followed up with an electronic SD that needs to be submitted within 14 days of shipment or the date of acceptance of the PSA, whichever is earlier.

This is useful if you’re exporting perishable goods and because of time constraints you don’t usually raise the export invoice until after the goods have left.

If you don’t make a full export declaration to customs before sending goods to third countries from the customs territory of the EU, the consignment’s carrier must submit an electronic Exit Summary Declaration (EXS) to provide the safety and security data which would normally be provided in the full export declaration.

For an introduction to SDs and the National Export System (NES), read the guide on using and submitting Supplementary Declarations.

How export SDs differ from import SDs

For both exports and imports, you submit an electronic SD after the event.

Exports require a PSA prior to export. For details on how to use export SDs, use the Trade Tariff.

Imports require a Simplified Frontier Declaration (SFD) at the time of import to declare the goods at the frontier. For further details on imports see Supplementary Declarations for imports.

SDs for exports and the National Export System

SDs can only be made electronically through the National Export System (NES). If you want to use paper export documentation, you have to make a full pre-shipment declaration before shipment.

Communication options for using the NES

There are a range of options for making SD submissions:

  • as an email attachment through EDCS X.400 or the internet
  • online through a web form
  • using XML messaging
  • through Community Systems Provider (CSP) links from third parties (agents)
  • through submission of a completed paper C88, Copy 2 to the National Clearance Hub (NCH) in Salford

Making export SDs via the NES

To use SDs via the NES, take the following steps:

  1. Allocate a Unique Consignment Reference (UCR), for example, using your own invoice number or other unique reference, for each export consignment so it can be traced and identified through your records.
  2. Make a simplified (electronic) PSA to the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) computer system, either directly (using the web, email or XML messaging), via a CSP or through paper declaration to the NCH, containing the specified information. Your agent can do this for you if you wish.
  3. Await a Permission to Progress (P2P) message from CHIEF.
  4. Ship the goods.
  5. Provide full details via the SD (the post-shipment declaration), within 14 days of the declaration or the export, whichever is earlier.

The same UCR must be used on the PSA and the SD.

There are 3 ways the goods can be physically shipped, depending on the simplified authorisations you hold:

  • from a port or airport, using the Simplified Declaration Procedure (SDP)
  • from a Designated Export Place (DEP), using the SDP
  • from your own premises, using Entry in Declarant’s Records (EIDR)

The new Union Customs Code (UCC) legislation comes into force on 1 May 2016. From this date Local Clearance Procedures (LCPs) will no longer be available as an export simplification after this date. EIDR will replace them.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are also introducing Customs Supervised Exports (CSE) to help traders who previously used LCPs and who can’t use EIDR. A SD will still be required for exports made under CSE.

See the Trade Tariff on exports.


Using the SDP you, or your agent, can submit the simplified electronic declaration of the export consignment either before or after the goods arrive at a port or airport, and then export the goods once a P2P message has been received.


As an alternative to shipping from a port or airport, the SDP can also be used when the goods are moved from a Designated Export Place (DEP) – a customs-approved inland location. Once P2P has been given the export may move to the port of departure.

Customs Supervised Exports

If you’re authorised to use CSE you may declare goods to be exported at your own or other approved CSE inland premises, rather than at a port or airport. Once you have received the P2P message, you can move goods to the frontier for export from the UK.

If you use CSE you must make the SD within 14 days of CHIEF accepting a goods departed message or the actual date of export, whichever is earlier.

Entry in Declarant’s Records

If you’re authorised to use EIDR you can declare goods to be exported in your own records. A SD must be made within 14 days to CHIEF which should include a Unique Consignment Reference (UCR) from your EIDR entry so the SD can be checked against the EIDR at audit.

Declaration Unique Consignment References and export SDs

Declaration Unique Consignment References (DUCRs) are references allocated to the shipment and provided in the PSA. Because these are mandatory for export SDs, one is allocated by CHIEF if you don’t provide a UCR for the PSA. The same DUCR must subsequently be used for the SD that is made for the shipment.

A Master Unique Consignment Record (MUCR) can be used to consolidate a number of DUCRs under one banner to ease communication.

Find out more on consignment reference numbers.

Goods not eligible for SDs

For some goods you must make a full pre-shipment declaration. For other goods, SDs are not necessary, and the simplified declaration you provide in the Pre-Shipment Advice (PSA) is enough.

Goods not eligible for the SDP

The following goods are not eligible for use with the SDP:

  • goods covered by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
  • goods under special procedures using ‘authorisation by declaration’ (formerly known as ‘simplified authorisation’) – goods exported, or removed from a customs warehouse, or under Inward Processing (IP)Outward Processing Relief or End-Use simplified authorisation procedures
  • goods moving via the UK under Common/Union Transit (UT), ie goods moving from port of entry to port of export in the UK and goods moving under UT documents raised in another member state or UT countries

Excise goods can’t be declared under SDPs at a DEP.

Restricted goods not eligible for the SDP

The following restricted goods are not eligible for use with the SDP:

  • goods chargeable with duty not yet paid (exceptions apply)
  • transit goods
  • goods subject to export licensing
  • goods subject to IP (exceptions apply)
  • goods from customs and/or excise warehouses (exceptions apply)
  • any other goods for which customs specifically require a pre-shipment declaration

Where exceptions apply and a PSA customs procedure code (CPC) is used, the CPC for the full entry requirements must be shown on the SD.

Additionally, some controlled goods may be exported using SDPs or EIDR, although additional regime controls and requirements apply to the details you must submit on the PSA.

Goods for which export SDs are not required

Export SDs are not required for some goods including the following:

  • ATA carnet goods which are excluded because they don’t require an entry to be made
  • non-statistical exports which don’t need an SD, regardless of the procedure used to export the goods – you can view a list of non-statistical goods in Notice 275
  • low-value (LV) goods worth less then £750, weighing less than 1,000 kilos that are not dutiable or restricted, which don’t need an SD when exported using the normal procedure – make a simplified pre-shipment declaration – a SD is required if LV goods are exported under EIDR or SDP

HMRC may revise the treatment of low value exports with the implementation of the UCC from 1 May 2016. Any changes will be notified in a Customs Information paper (CIP).

Safety and security amendment to the European Union Customs Code

All goods leaving or entering the customs territory of the EU are subject to pre-notification of certain safety and security information by carriers to allow risk assessment by the customs authorities in member states before loading is permitted.

If you make a full export declaration to customs before sending goods to third countries, you’ll be providing that data in the harmonised Single Administrative Document (SAD) declaration. If you export goods without making a full export declaration – for example, because you use a simplified procedure – the carrier must submit an electronic Exit Summary Declaration (EXS).

For more information, see the guide on the National Export System for export declarations and more specifically how the Export Control System controls indirect export movement within the EU.

Using an authorised agent for Supplementary Declarations

You can obtain authorisation to use the NES yourself in order to make SDs, or you can use an authorised third party to act on your behalf.

Types of representation

There are two types of representation:

  • direct representation where a person acts in your name and on your behalf – you’re still solely responsible for fulfilling your legal obligations under EUcustoms law
  • indirect representation where the third party acts in their own name but on your behalf meaning they’re jointly responsible with you for fulfilling legal obligations under EU customs law

If you’re a NES authorised trader and employ third parties to make declarations on your behalf, the third party may act either as your direct or indirect representative. However, you must always provide full and accurate details of the goods and their customs status, sufficient to complete the customs declaration correctly.

If you’re authorised to use the NES you may arrange for a service provider to carry out all or any of the functions required under your NES authorisation. Where this involves the submission of customs declarations, the service provider may act as a direct or indirect representative.

Using an agent

If you use a third party, such as a freight agent, you must give written instructions to that provider to submit NES declarations on your behalf. The third party has to be authorised to make NES declarations.

Authorisation to use Supplementary Declarations

To make SDs you need to use the NES to submit all notifications and declarations electronically to the CHIEF computer system. If you wish to do this yourself, you need authorisation. Alternatively, you can use an authorised third party to act on your behalf – see the guide on using and submitting Supplementary Declarations.

To make full pre-shipment declarations, you need to apply to the Entry Processing Control Office for access to the CHIEF computer system. Read the guide on the UK’s import and export processing system CHIEF.

If you’re already approved for Outward Processing Relief (OPR) and wish to use SDs with OPR, you have to ask for your OPR authorisation to be amended either to include the use of simplified procedures, or to include details of the agent you use and their NES authorisation.

To use electronic declarations and NES, there will be start-up costs for your business. Customs may wish to make a pre-authorisation visit to your premises to carry out assurance checks on your records and computer system. Read the guide on export declarations and the National Export System.

Authorisation criteria and conditions

To be eligible for authorisation to use the simplified procedures you must:

  • have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number- EORI has replaced the Trader Unique Reference Number (TURN)
  • be a legal entity in the UK, for example, sole proprietor, partnership, public limited company or private limited company
  • have a good record of compliance with customs and other related requirements, for example, Intrastat submissions, VAT returns
  • regularly declare goods

As an authorised NES operator you must retain all records relating to the export of goods for no less than 4 years for customs purposes and 6 years for VAT purposes.

Your records and any information contained in them must be provided to customs as they’ll be subject to periodic audits by local customs staff. The purpose of these audits will be to check that you’re complying with the terms and conditions of your authorisation.

Traders using the simplified procedures will be required to:

  • allocate a UCR to each export consignment which can be used to trace the transaction through their records
  • hold authorisations for other regimes such as IPOPR, etc which they wish to use in conjunction with the simplified procedures
  • declare only eligible goods
  • submit electronically to customs, directly or via a third party, in the specified form the pre-shipment declarations for all consignments
  • submit electronically to customs, directly or via a third party, valid and completed SDs within the required time limit

How to get authorised

If you want authorisation to use the NES simplified procedures, you’ll need to complete form C&E48.

There is a helpline for VAT, Customs and Excise for any queries about the NESmodels you’re interested in being authorised for.

Supplementary Declarations on goods for occasional export

If you’re exporting goods on an occasional basis, there are several declaration processes you can use.

National Export System and Special Procedures

The NES tracks consignments which are exported under customs special procedures. Special procedures (SPs) are designed to help businesses based in the EU to compete in the global market economy. Importers can suspend paying duty and VAT on goods covered by SP arrangements. On re-importation duty rates may also be relaxed on consignments previously exported under OPR. You can find out about SP in the guide to export declarations and the National Export System and in Notice 3001 on special procedures.

OPR procedure

When using SDPs or EIDR with OPR, after issuing a PSA you have to wait for a P2P message before the goods can be sent to the frontier and exported. As usual, you have to issue the SD within 14 days of the date of the PSA.

OPR with authorisation by declaration (formerly known as simplified authorisation)

If you only occasionally need to export goods for repair, you can choose to use OPR with authorisation by declaration, which gives you the advantage of fast, electronic communication with customs, and accelerated release of your goods. You can’t use export SDs for declarations you make using this authorisation.

See Notice 3001 on special procedures.

SDs and processing under customs control

If you wish to export either processed products or unaltered goods, once you have obtained permission you may, as an alternative to full declaration, use EIDRSDP at a DEP, or SDP at the UK frontier.

Where to get help on SDs

To get further information on SD authorisation contact the HMRC VAT Helpline.

For the authorisation necessary to access the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system and therefore make supplementary declarations via the National Export System (NES), see the guide on the National Export System for Export declarations.

Further information

NES Helpline

Tel: 03000 582418

UK Trade & Investment

Published 2 August 2012
Last updated 5 April 2016 
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