CDS The Customs Declaration Service: What You Need to Know

Hm Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is making large changes to the UK’s customs systems, with the new Customs Declaration Service taking over the current Customs Handling Import and Export Freight (CHIEF), starting in September 2022 for imports and finalised in March 2023.

The change in systems means that businesses and clients will have to adapt to the new regulations as soon as possible, and CDS will become the UK’s single customs platform after 31st March 2023 and the import declaration function will be withdrawn on 30th  September this year.

So, we have rounded up the main points of the new system change and urge you to become familiar with the CDS sooner rather than later…

How the Change Impacts Importers & Exporters

The change in systems will largely impact both importers and exporters, as the new CDS will be the only way for customs to clear your goods from September 2022

Importers and exporters that wish to send or receive shipments will have to sign up and do so relatively quickly seeing as though from 30th September 2022 (this year) we will no longer be able to make import declarations using CHIEF.

Signing for the new customs platform CDS will ensure that we, at Astral Global Logistics, can continue to customs clear your shipments in a smooth and efficient manner, with no stress or fuss involved.

What You Need to Do

You will need to access CDS as soon as possible, as previously mentioned, you will not be able to make import declarations using the old CHIEF system as of September this year.

Whether you want to complete Customs declaration forms or use the CDS portal for any other reason, you will need a Government Gateway Account that can be easily created via the government’s website.

Requesting an EORI number (that starts with GB), and then gaining access to CDS will allow you to access your Financial Dashboard and any files you need to upload.

It’s important to have all documentation necessary at hand and leave plenty of time spare to register as you don’t want to risk late shipments or customs problems.

Remember to include key aspects into your plans when migrating to the new system including, timing, staff training, internal system changes, the number of traders you represent and if you need to build a staged or ‘big bang’ approach.

Further details of the CDS registration can be found here.

What to Expect

The predicted time for gaining access to the CDS system after registering is between 2 hours or 5 working days (if HMRC needs to make more checks).

With a new system in place, navigating it will be a journey you will have to personally learn as the CDS is not comparable to CHIEF, if you require any more help with the system itself, the government’s official website has the most accurate information.

Begin preparing for your move to CDS now and talk to your software provider, contact traders you represent or get into contact with your customs broker, to ensure a smooth sailing transition.

That is our short summary of the CDS update and why you should get cracking with it as soon as possible, as September will creep around the corner before we all know it!

We understand that change can be frustrating, but we’re here to help.

If you need any more information or have any logistics-related queries, drop us an email at and we’ll be happy to help.

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