Making a full export declaration

Guide

Last updated 4 January 2022

You should check if you need to declare goods you bring into or take out of the UK before you make a full export declaration.

Before you submit

You need to check if you must submit your export declaration as ‘arrived’ before your goods start their journey. You’ll need to do this if they’re leaving from:


If the goods are being exported from a location which is not authorised to use the arrived export process, the declaration should be submitted as pre-lodged.

When to submit

You or your representative must declare and obtain clearance for your goods with customs before they are allowed to leave the UK and this depends on the last mode of transport you use.

Road and inland waters

You must make a declaration at least one hour before your departure when using road or inland waters.

Sea

You must make a declaration within 2 hours before leaving port if you are moving your goods using a boat or ship and your cargo is in a container from the UK to:

  • Greenland
  • Faroe Islands
  • Iceland
  • ports on the Baltic Sea
  • the North Sea
  • the Black Sea
  • the Mediterranean Sea

For all other cargo in a container movements you must make a declaration at least 24 hours before they are loaded on to the vessel on which they leave the UK.

For cargo not in a container, at least 2 hours before your good leave the port.

Air

You must make a declaration if you are exporting goods by air at the latest 30 minutes before departure from a UK airport.

Rail

You must make a declaration if you are using rail:

  • one hour before you arrive at the office of exit when the journey time from the last train station at which the train was formed, to the customs office of exit takes less than 2 hours
  • in all other cases 2 hours before the goods leave the UK

How to submit

Your declaration will need to include:

  • customs procedure code
  • commodity code
  • your declaration unique consignment reference which is the main reference number that links declarations

You also need to provide information like:

  • departure point and destination
  • consignee and consignor
  • type, amount and packaging of your goods
  • transport methods and costs
  • currencies and valuation methods
  • certificates and licences

Find out the boxes you need to complete on your declaration in CHIEF.

Find out the boxes you need to complete on your declaration in the Customs Declaration Service.

Read the Customs Declaration Completion Requirements for Great Britain when you are completing your declaration.

Arrived export declarations

Enter ‘A’ in:

An arrived declaration is processed instantly, and you will be told of the outcome. If a check is needed this will be completed at the port’s customs checking facility or an inland border facility. The goods should not be moved to the border location until permission to progress is received or you are asked to do so.

Pre-lodged export declarations

Enter ‘D’ in:

The goods can be moved to the border location without permission to progress. If any checks are required, they will take place within the port.

If you need to withdraw an export declaration before your goods depart, you will need to tell HMRC.

Where goods are being declared at a border location using the goods vehicle movement service, an Additional Information Code ‘RRS01’ must be declared at header level in Box 44 (CHIEF) or Data Element 2/2 (Customs Declaration Service) for both pre-lodged and arrived export declarations.

After you’ve submitted

Before 1 January 2022

If you are exporting excise duty suspended goods (such as alcohol or tobacco products) from roll on roll off ports or other listed locations, you need to confirm manually to HMRC that the goods have left the UK by completing a C1602 form unless the border location does this for you.

You can amend your export declaration before it’s been cleared by customs.

You can amend your statistical record up to 3 years after your declaration is cleared, but you need tell to HMRC.

From 1 January 2022

From 1 January 2022 a departure message will be a legal requirement for all exports.

For locations where an Inventory Linked system or the Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVMS) is available, this would be done automatically by the systems at the point of departure.

If you export from a location which does not have an inventory linked system and an approved loader is not available at your exit location, you need to confirm to HMRC that the goods have left the UK by completing a C1602 form to make an electronic departure message for you.

You can amend your export declaration before it’s been cleared by customs.

You can amend your statistical record up to 3 years after your declaration is cleared, but you need tell to HMRC.