4. Export procedures and types of declaration
All export declarations should be submitted electronically to the CHIEF system.
4.1 Full export declaration
The usual method of providing details of exports is by electronically completing a full export declaration into CHIEF.
Except in specific circumstances there’ll be no need to present pre-shipment supporting documents to customs.
CAP export refund goods must always be declared on a full export declaration.
4.2 Simplified Declaration Procedure (SDP)
This procedure allows authorised traders to submit a pre-shipment advice (PSA) containing fewer data elements than a full export declaration at the time of export but should include the safety and security data set out in Annex B of the delegated regulation.
Under SDP, the PSA must be followed within 14 days of receiving permission to progress (P2P) by a post- shipment supplementary declaration. All PSAs and supplementary declarations must be submitted electronically.
Find more on the data requirements by box for all types of declaration.
Except in specific circumstances, there will be no need to present pre-shipment supporting documents to customs, though they will need to be retained for audit purposes.
There are no circumstances when consignments exported under SDP can be declared on the same electronic (C88/ESS) as consignments for which a full declaration is required.
Transitional arrangements apply – under the UCC transition period, traders authorised for SDP can continue with their current authorisations until they are re-authorised by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). There will be revised datasets for simplified declarations which will be applied once the upgrade from CHIEF to CDS is completed.
4.3 Entry in Declarants Records (EIDR)
EIDR allows a trader to lodge their customs declaration in their own records. Applicants will need to fulfil certain Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) criteria, (Articles 39(a) (b) (d) of 952/2013).
For exports, EIDR can only be used where both:
- the requirement for a pre-departure declaration is waived (Article 182 of UCC, Article 150 and 245 of Delegated Regulation), and
- the export is a direct export
EIDR can’t be used for excise goods, unless Article 30 of directive 2008/118/EC is applicable.
Where an authorisation for EIDR is set up, a control plan has to be put in place in accordance with Article 182910 of 952/2013 UCC, providing for the supervision of the EIDR procedure. Obligations of the holder of the procedure are set out in Article 227 Implementing Regulation.
Transitional arrangements apply – under the UCC transition period traders authorised for LCP that currently comply with the EIDR provisions set out in article 150 of the delegated regulation, can continue to use their current LCP authorisation as an EIDR authorisation until they are re-authorised by HMRC.
There will also be revised datasets for simplified declarations which will be applied once the upgrade from CHIEF to CDS is completed. A C21 will still be required to remove the goods from the air port inventory system.
4.4 Exit Summary Declaration (EXS)
An electronic EXS into CHIEF is only required when goods departing the EU are not covered by an export declaration or re-export declaration containing safety and security data. They must be submitted to the customs office of exit.
Article 271 of 952/2013 UCC defines who can lodge the EXS.
Examples of when an EXS is required are:
- where an empty container is being returned under a transport contract to the shipper
- where goods have remained in temporary storage for more than 14 days
- intra EU Export ⁄ where goods going to another EU member state are routed via a 3rd country
Transitional arrangements apply – datasets will be revised under the UCC IT implementation. Any changes to datasets will be implemented once the upgrade from CHIEF to CDS is completed.
4.5 Designated export place (DEP)
Currently a DEP allows authorised operators to consolidate and clear goods at approved premises considered to be a frontier location before their removal to the air port. The operators of the premises must use an electronic inventory system which meets customs requirements to submit all declarations (SDP and full pre-entry) electronically to customs.
DEPs can’t export excise goods, customs warehouse goods and LCP goods and they won’t be affected by UCC changes.
Except in specific circumstances there will be no need to present pre-shipment supporting documents to customs.
4.6 Goods excluded from SDP, CSE and DEP
Most goods are eligible for NES simplified procedures. Special arrangements have been made for the export of CAP goods that attract an export refund. Full information on the export of CAP goods is contained in Notice 800 CAP Exports.
Exclusions relate mainly to goods already under certain other customs procedures. These are:
- goods controlled by customs under certain Simplified Procedures – those exported under a simplified authorisation for inward processing (IP), Temporary Admission (TA) or Outward Processing Relief (OPR)
- ATA Carnets Goods – these are excluded as the ATA carnet replaces the export/re-export declaration – to clear inventory linked ports an electronic C21 may be used/CHIEF format IECR
- goods moving via the UK under New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) – that’s those moving from a UK port of entry to port of export in the UK or moving under transit documents from another member state
A full list of these goods can be found in Notice 275.
4.7 Application to use UCC simplified procedures (SDP and EIDR)
Under the UCC, you’ll need to apply for simplifications on the UCC customs decision portal.
Transitional arrangements apply – until the customs decision system is implemented, a printed copy of applications for simplified procedures should be sent to the HMRC authorisations and returns team in Leeds.
Datasets will be revised under UCC IT implementation. Any changes to datasets will be put in place once the upgrade from CHIEF to CDS is completed.
Applications should be made using customs form C&E48 and sent to:
HMRC Authorisations and Returns Team
Peter Bennett House
4.8 Other procedures
Export of personal effects that are in free circulation can be declared to CHIEF using CPC 10 00 096.
Free circulation low value (LV) goods that are exported in a single consignment and have a total value of less than £750 and a total net weight of less than 1000 kgs can be declared to CHIEF using CPC 10 00 097. This customs procedure code (CPC) must not be used if goods are dutiable or restricted.
For goods that were declared for temporary admission using the oral declaration procedure use the Temporary admission – inventory/document to support an oral customs declaration (C108) form. The declaration for re-export should be made by presenting to customs at the office of exit copy 2 of the form C108 / EU Commission model inventory document that was agreed and certified by customs when the goods were imported. For more information see Notice 3001.
For goods in free circulation on which statistics are not collected (free circulation non-stat goods are listed in Notice 275), can be declared to CHIEF using CPC 10 00 098.
Transitional arrangements apply – under UCC these CPCs will be amended to reflect additional data elements. The majority of CPC datasets will be revised under UCC IT implementation and those changes will be implemented once the upgrade from CHIEF to Customs Declaration Services (CDS) is completed. Changes to these CPCs may take place before then. HMRC will ensure the trade is informed of any changes to these datasets.
4.9 Disaster relief/humanitarian aid
The UK practices a recommendation of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) aimed at speeding up the release of relief consignments. The WCO recommendation provides for:
- official certification of lists of the contents of relief consignments
- the securing of goods under customs seals to aid the passage of goods through the territories of other WCO signatory countries and their eventual admission into the destination country
While these types of consignments are routinely expedited by customs, they must comply with all normal export procedures including pre-entry, export licensing or any other export restrictions and controls.
4.10 Special arrangements for goods and supplies to offshore installations
Special arrangements are available for goods delivered to Non UK Offshore installations. Goods from the UK or other UK installations are to be treated as exports. Offshore installations are deemed as equipment and devices installed in the high sea in order to search for and exploit mineral resources. Non-UK installations are deemed as installations of which the natural or legal person responsible for the commercial use is established in a non-UK country.
These arrangements cannot be used for goods exported that are either:
- subject to export licensing (and equivalent certification)
- subject to CAP control requirements
- from registered, entered or licensed premises
- subject to a claim for excise drawback
Where special arrangements apply, the electronic C88/ESS must be completed as a normal PSA, but with the specified commodity code (box 33) as follows:
- 99312400 Goods from Chapters 1 to 24 of the Harmonised System
- 99312700 Goods from Chapter 27 of the Harmonised System
- 99319900 Goods Classified elsewhere
The information required is:
- country code of installation
- the quantity in net mass
- the value
4.11 Simplifications for exports of industrial plant component parts
‘Industrial plant’ is defined in the statistical legislation as ‘a combination of machines, apparatus, appliances, equipment, instruments and materials which together make up large-scale, stationery units producing goods or providing services’. The essential character of the overall product is assigned to the most appropriate commodity within the CN.
‘Component part’ is defined as ‘a delivery for an industrial plant which is made up of goods which all belong to the same chapter of the CN’.
Where the overall statistical value of the industrial plant is in excess of 3 million euros (approximately £2.5 million), exports of component parts may be classified as follows:
- the first 4 digits shall be 9880
- the fifth and sixth digits shall correspond to the CN chapter to which the goods of the component part belong
- the seventh and eighth digits shall be 0
For quantity, only the net mass is required.
4.12 Arrangements for ships and aircraft stores and supplies
Special arrangements are in place for the simplified reporting of the supply of certain goods to non-EU owned vessels and aircraft that are visiting a UK port or airport. These arrangements are for stores and supplies:
- for the consumption by passengers and crew or for the operation of the engines, machines or other equipment during the journey
- delivered to a non-EU (and non-UK) owned ship or aircraft visiting a UK port or airport
Stores and supplies for the consumption by passengers and crew refers to goods ‘consumed’ by them, for example, food and drink. Stores and supplies for the operation of engines and machinery refer to goods such as oil and fuel.
These arrangements cannot be used for goods exported that are:
- stores and supplies delivered to vessels and aircraft located in the territory of another country (ie outside the UK)
- durable goods which remain on the vessel or aircraft (eg bed linen, TV sets for cabins)
For goods eligible to use these arrangements, an electronic export declaration is completed as normal. However, the following simplified codes should be used:
Country of destination:
The country code ‘QS’ should be used in box 17a.
Country code ‘QS’ cannot be used for deliveries to EU (but not UK) owned vessels or aircraft. These deliveries are reported on the Intrastat system using the code ‘QR’.
- 9930 2400 Goods from Chapters 1 to 24
- 9930 2700 Goods from Chapter 27
- 9930 9900 Goods classified elsewhere
The above commodity codes cannot be used for goods subject to CAP Export Refunds or deliveries from customs or excise warehouses. In such cases, the actual commodity code must be used.
Details of the name and nationality of the vessel or aircraft on which the stores or supplies are loaded or are ultimately destined must be declared in box 44. Packing lists to support the declaration as ships stores/supplies must also be made available on request by customs.
4.13 Postal exports
With the exception of goods held under one of the customs special procedures and other goods not in free circulation, most postal exports only require the international postal customs declarations. These are the green label (form CN22) for letter post and the white label (form CN23) for parcel post.
Notice 143 ‘A Guide to International Post Users’ gives information about those exports where an export declaration is required. Notice 3001 contains details about temporary admission, inward processing and outward processing relief.
The green or white labels should normally accompany each package, unless they are going to another member state (except for packages sent to the special territories).
Packages that contain goods not in free circulation within the EU must also be accompanied by a Yellow Label (form C1130) if they are being sent to another member state or to Turkey. You can obtain more information from The Royal Mail International Service Guide or The Parcelforce International, International User Guide, these should be available at any main Post Office.
You will need a certificate of posting on form C&E132 for goods subject to specific control. For example, goods being exported from a customs or excise warehouse.
You’ll also need a certificate of posting to support VAT zero rating. This can be in the form of:
- a certificate of posting issued by the Post Office
- a despatch pack
- a form C&E132
4.14 Preference exports
The EU has a number of preferential trade agreements with certain individual countries or groups of countries. These enable goods manufactured in accordance with specified rules to be imported at a nil or lower rate of duty, these agreements are normally reciprocal.
Such goods may be exported under cover of a movement certificate EUR1 (or subject to a value limit, an invoice declaration), on which the exporter declares that the goods meet the conditions required for its issue. The preference document will entitle the goods to be imported at the preferential rate.
Find more about preferential trade arrangements.
4.15 Registered Exporter (REX) introduction
From 1 January 2017 the EU is implementing REX.
REX is an EU sponsored registration system that authorises exporters in General System of Preference (GSP) beneficiary countries to issue a self-certificate (known as a statement on origin) for eligible goods to be imported under preference to the EU.
The statement on origin replaces the GSP form A and invoice declaration. REX traders will be issued with a number by HMRC, which they will include on their statements on origin made on their commercial documents such as a delivery note or packing list. These documents may be transmitted and stored electronically.
Importers should always be able to obtain the required statement and have it available for presentation if necessary, at the time of release of the goods to free circulation and should no longer have to provide security for the full rate of duty payable because the required proof of origin is not available at the time preference is claimed.
Proofs of origin must still be retained for 3 years from when the goods were released to free circulation.
The following UK traders will be able to apply for REX registration from 1 January 2017:
- UK traders who export materials to GSP beneficiary countries that are used to manufacture products to be imported to the EU (known as bi-lateral cumulation) – as of 1 January 2018 EUR1’s will no longer be issued for bi-lateral cumulation with GSP beneficiary countries
- UK established re-consignors of GSP goods to other member states, for the purpose of issuing replacement statements on origin
Customs representatives are not eligible for REX registration.
From 1 October 2017 the European Commission will make available via the internet a central database of exporters registered to export under the GSP. UK companies importing under the GSP will be able to consult it prior to importation, to confirm the registration number of their supplier.
REX will be phased in for all GSP beneficiary countries from 1 January 2017 to 31 July 2020. The Commission will publish details of those countries implementing REX.
4.16 Exports from approved warehouses
Exports from warehouses approved for customs warehousing or excise warehousing must be declared using the appropriate customs procedure code (CPC) in box 37. As different CPCs can apply to each type of warehousing, it is essential to insert the correct CPC applicable to the consignment concerned.
If you need help you can call the Excise and Customs helpline.
Find more in:
- Notice 3001: special procedures for the Union Customs Code
- Notice 800: CAP export procedures
- Notice 197: receipt into and removal from an excise warehouse of excise goods
- Notice 171: Hydrocarbon Oils – Customs Duty
- Excise Notice 179: motor and heating fuels – general information and accounting for excise duty and VAT
- Excise Notice 476: Tobacco Products Duty.
4.17 Excise goods
Certain goods which are produced in the UK and liable to Excise Duty can be exported from registered or entered excise premises without payment of duty. The goods affected by these provisions are wine and made-wine, cider and perry, beer, tobacco products, hydrocarbon oil and methylated spirits. The goods to be exported must be pre-entered on a Single Administrative Document (SAD) or National Export System (NES) equivalent indicating the appropriate CPC in box 37. For tobacco products, a specification of goods must be attached to the pre-shipment declaration giving details of the packages.
Further details of the procedures can be obtained from the National Advice Service and in:
- Excise Notice 163: wine production
- Excise Notice 162: cider production
- Excise Notice 226: Beer Duty
- Excise Notice 476: Tobacco Products Duty
- Excise Notice 179: motor and heating fuels – general information and accounting for excise duty and VAT
Exports subject to claims for Excise Duty drawback
Exports which are the subject of claims to drawback of excise duty must be pre-entered into CHIEF, except for oil companies approved for netting (section 12 of Notice 179) and exporters approved to schedule their hydrocarbon oil drawback claims (section 6 of Notice 172), the actual claim for excise duty drawback or repayment must be made by completing a separate claim form.
Details of the procedure for claiming excise duty drawback in Notice 207.
4.18 Exports from Free Zones (Isle of Man only)
Exports from Free zones are subject to the same procedures that apply to other exports.
4.19 Temporary exports and re-exports of temporary imports
Export declarations are required for goods:
- re-exported following temporary importation under IP, Temporary Admission (TA) or any other duty and/or relief scheme
- re-exported because they are not in accordance with contract (Rejected Imports)
- temporarily exported, for example OPR
Find more about the completion of boxes on an export declaration.
Full details of these arrangements are contained in:
- Notice 3001: special procedures for the Union Customs Code
- Excise Notice 196: excise goods – registration and approval of warehousekeepers, warehouse premises, owners of goods and registered consignors
- Notice 197 Excise goods: Receipt into and removal from an excise warehouse of excise goods
- Notice 266: rejected imports – repayment or remission of duty and vat
- VAT Notice 702: imports
5. Manual procedures
All declarations are expected to be made electronically, if you don’t have access to CHIEF you should consider arranging for a third party to submit the declaration on your behalf. Sometimes it may be necessary to use the manual process. For example, someone taking commercial goods with them in their baggage to raise sales for a new company that does not yet have access to CHIEF.
Before any goods can be granted Permission to Progress (P2P) and leave the country they must be input to CHIEF. Manual processing is carried out by the National Clearance Hub at Salford.
Manual declarations will be processed according to the Department’s Charter Standards. However, they are likely to take longer to be processed than those submitted electronically to CHIEF by or on behalf of the exporter/declarant.
6. Unique Consignment Reference (UCR) numbers
The use of a UCR is mandatory for all NES declarations, it is the means by which you and customs can identify your goods to your records.
A DUCR is a reference of up to 35 characters (plus an optional numeric ‘Part’ identity) allocated by a trader to a consignment of goods and recorded on the relevant customs declaration(s). CHIEF will initially ensure that a DUCR is unique and once it is recorded on CHIEF a DUCR cannot be amended.
DUCRs must be included on all Full Export Declarations, C21 customs clearance requests, Exit Summary Declarations and on both PSAs and Supplementary Declarations submitted by traders authorised for simplified procedures.
For simplified procedures, the DUCR links the PSA to the Supplementary Declaration(s) and provides an audit trail in the authorised traders’ records. Linking PSAs to Supplementary Declarations is the only instance where a DUCR can exist more than once. If there’s more than one SD per PSA, the DUCR Part field is used to make the DUCR unique for each shipment under the PSA.
The standard format of DUCRs used in the NES is based on the recommended World Customs Organisation draft which is up to 35 characters in length in 4 parts:
- first part – the year the UCR was allocated, for example ‘5’ if allocated in 2015
- second part – the country where the UCR was allocated. Typically ‘GB’ for UK export declarations
- third part – the identity of the (authorised) trader as known to customs. In the UK this will be the EORI, followed by a hyphen
- fourth part – a unique (within a trader’s system) series of characters which a trader devises which provides an audit trail within their commercial accounting systems (this part is restricted to numbers between 0 to 9, upper case letters A to Z or a hyphen’-’)
An example of a declaration UCR based on the above is ‘2GB123456789012-ABC1234’. Any unused spaces should be left blank, unlike the ARC number, that is, you do not need to include zeros to make the length the full 35 characters.
There’s an additional field of 4 characters that may be used in conjunction with the DUCR. This field contains the Check Letter calculation automatically generated by CHIEF and which may be used to guard against mis-keying.
CHIEF doesn’t insist that a Check Letter is input, when a DUCR is used against a movement, but when one is input, it is checked and the DUCR rejected if found not to match that generated at the time of declaration input.
The remaining 3 characters in this field are for the optional input of a Part identity and which allows several export declarations to have the same core Declaration UCR. It is this, in combination with the (up to) 35 character UCR which must be unique.
An example of Part identity use would be a large consignment covered by a single DUCR but being exported on 3 vessels over a period of weeks or months. Ideally, the DUCR would use a common identifier in the trader’s records, but each movement of the goods would have a separate CHIEF declaration, using the same DUCR but designated as Part 001, 002 and 003.
DUCRs have been implemented on CHIEF so that WCO UCR standards are compatible with NES, allowing non-UK UCR to be quoted on NES declarations.
For traders authorised for simplified procedures the same Declaration UCR (DUCR) must be supplied on both the PSA and linked SD to supply an audit trail into the traders’ records.
Transitional arrangements apply – datasets for export declarations will be revised under UCC IT implementation. Any changes to datasets will be implemented once the upgrade from CHIEF to CDS is completed. This may mean that the configuration of the UCR, or the data field it is entered to may change.
6.1 Master Unique Consignment Reference (MUCR) consolidation
Whereas a declaration UCR directly relates to an individual CHIEF declaration, master UCRs are normally used to associate or link several declaration UCRs. For example, when a container holds a number of consignments from different exporters, each of whom has a DUCR.
Rather than quoting many individual DUCRs for each consignment or consolidators, the inventory systems can advise CHIEF that each of the Declaration UCRs in the container is associated with a single Master UCR. Master UCRs can be associated with other Master UCRs. Although a Master UCR can be associated with one or many Declaration UCRs a Declaration UCR can only belong to one Master UCR.
Association can be done:
- at the time of declaration by advising the declaration UCR and master UCR on the declaration
- by authorised traders (such as consolidators and inventory systems) on arrival (anticipated and/or actual) at a customs controlled location-by providing the Declaration UCR and Master UCR in the arrival message
- by an explicit association transaction through which one can also –
- dis-associate a UCR from a Master UCR
- associate a Master UCR or Declaration UCR with a (higher level) Master UCR MUCRs have one of the formats listed below
Use ‘A’ followed by:
- either 3 alpha characters
- a maximum of 8 numbers
- a maximum length of 13 characters overall
For courier traffic
Use ‘C’ followed by:
- 3 alpha characters
- at least 3 more alphanumeric
The courier MUCR must be at least 8 numbers long.
Other MUCR formats
- GB/iii-s…s – GB = country, then followed by 3 characters identifying the inventory system and then at least another 5 alpha/numeric characters (minimum 12 characters in total)
- GB/iiii-s…s – same as above yet with 4 character inventory reference (minimum 13 characters in total)
- GB/TURN-s…s – GB, followed by the slash, then a valid EORI, hyphen and then at least one alpha or numeric character
Transitional arrangements apply – datasets for export declarations will be revised under the UCC IT implementation. Any changes to datasets will be implemented once the upgrade from CHIEF to CDS is completed. This may mean that the configuration of the MUCR, or the data field it is entered to may change.
6.2 Bulk Consignment Reference (Bulk UCR)
An export declaration usually covers a single consignment from one exporter however, for groupage consignments an agent/representative can submit one declaration for consignments for up to 99 different commodities on behalf of up to 99 separate consignors and consignees.
The bulk UCR is not supported as a reference by CHIEF, and does not need to be unique, however, the declarants must be able to use this bulk UCR to trace consignments back through their records.
Bulk declarations are not permitted for licensable goods, goods on which a CAP refund is being claimed or Inward Processing (IP) goods being re-exported.
If the consignor/exporter is the same for all items, box 2 of the declaration (Consignor/Exporter) must only be declared at the header level. If there is more than one consignor details of each consignee are to be supplied at item level.
Freight agents are not to be entered in box 2 unless they are the owners of the goods or have similar right of disposal over them at the time when the declaration is accepted.
If there is only one consignee, the consignee details in box 8 should be supplied at header level. If there is more than one consignee details of each consignee are to be supplied at item level.
There are separate arrangements for Fast Parcel Operators who have been granted approval for MoU status.
Further information is available from:
The Express Industry Team
13th Floor South
7. Other references
The use of a trader’s EORI number is mandatory for almost all export declarations. The EORI number consists of a 9 digit VAT registration number prefixed with GB (without spaces) plus a suffix of 3 zeros.
7.2 Private exporters
For all private exports where there is no commercial interest (personal goods) GBPR can be used in box 2 of the declaration. However, the conditions that apply are:
- the full name and address of the GBPR individual must be entered into box 44 (miscellaneous text box)
- for personal goods in free circulation CPC 10 00 096 can be entered into box 37
- for goods subject to licensing or customs controls, the appropriate CPC should be entered in box 37 and the declarant’s EORI number used in box 2
- for goods exported under a special procedure, the appropriate CPEI re-export CPC must be entered in box 37
CPEI re-export CPC must be entered in box 37.
CHIEF will not accept the entry unless these mandatory fields are completed as stated above. Export entries entered to GBPR cannot be used as official evidence for VAT zero rating purposes as they are deemed non-commercial exports.