HMRC issues notice confirming date for final switchover from CHIEF to CDS

6 June 2023


HMRC has issued a notice to all UK exporters confirming that the switchover from the current Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system to the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will take place from September 2023, and will be completed by 30 November 2023.  All users will need to be making their declarations through the new system by the end of November.

The notice includes guidance for what export declarants can do now to prepare for CDS, including:

  • Applying for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number beginning with GB
  • Subscribing to CDS, so they will be able to submit export declarations through the system
  • Reading the latest available CDS guidance on GOV.UK including HMRC’s CDS toolkit and an explainer of the key differences between CHIEF and CDS

Coming communications

The notice alerts exporters to the fact that the government will be in touch next month to make sure they are prepared to make declarations from September onwards.

Exporters will need to use either new software or the HMRC export declaration online service, which is replacing the National Export System (NES) web service that some SMEs currently use to submit through CHIEF.

Because of the phased nature of the introduction of CDS, HMRC says clearly that it wants export declarants to wait for HMRC, or their software developers, to notify them that they can start submitting via CDS.

This has already started with the highest-volume declarants who use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS).

If exporters haven’t been contacted before September 2023, HMRC suggests continuing to submit through CHIEF.

Deadlines unlikely to move

Speaking on a recent Chamber International workshop about the CDS deadline for exporters, Jeff Lewis, lead trainer for Chamber International said the deadline is unlikely to move:

“It’s crucial that those businesses who are not already prepared get ready for the switchover now, rather than leaving it to the last minute, or hoping that the dates get pushed back.  It’s true that government is still ironing out a few software issues, and is using a phased approach, but businesses need to be clear: change is coming, and they will have to operate in a new way in just a few months’ time.”

Jeff added that importers and exporters can attend one of the upcoming CDS for Importers and CDS for Exporters workshops to get  ready for the CDS switchover, or make use of Chamber International’s consultancy support for further assistance.


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