Making a full import declaration


Last updated 21 May 2021

When you bring goods into the UK and EU you must make a full declaration unless you are authorised and can use simplified declarations.

You can also use an oral declaration, ATA Carnet or transit to move your goods.

Before you submit

An entry summary declaration will normally have been lodged for your goods while they were travelling to the UK and EU or, in some cases, before the goods were loaded.

You or your representative must present your goods to customs immediately on their arrival into the UK.

Roll on roll off and other listed locations

If you’re using roll on roll off or other listed locations, you’ll need to make a declaration before your goods arrive.

You’ll also need to arrive your full import declaration on the system manually by 23:59 on the day after the day on which the goods arrived.

When to submit

Your full declaration must be made within 90 days of your goods being presented to customs.

You may be able to make a declaration up to 30 days before the arrival of your goods, but it will only be formally accepted when they have actually arrived and been presented.

How to submit

You can make your full declaration electronically, this can be entered into the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system.

Your declaration will need to include:

You also need to provide information like:

  • Declaration Unique Consignment Reference (DUCR)
  • 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.

After you’ve submitted

When your declaration is accepted, you will be told how much you owe.

You will need to pay duty before your goods can be released.

If you’re using a duty deferment account, payment will be taken from your account on the 15th day of the following month.

The accounting period for Excise duties runs from 15th of a month to the 14th of the next month. You must pay either:

  • on the 29th of the latter month (or 28 February in non-leap years)
  • on the working day before that if the 29th (or 28 February is non-leap years) is not a working day

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

You can amend your declaration up to 3 years after your declaration.