Customs Declaration Service: Message Information

August 19, 2022

AGI News

The current Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system is ending. CHIEF import declarations will close after 30th September 2022. CHIEF export declarations and the National Exports System (NES) will both close after 31st March 2023. They will be replaced by the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

What is the CDS?

The CDS is a single customs platform that will replace the existing import and export system. It is fully aligned with the government’s trade growth agenda and the 2025 Border Strategy.

Any companies or individuals involved in importing and exporting to and from the UK will need to register to use the CDS. It may take longer to set up the system depending on the size and complexity of your business, so it’s important to prepare now.

Preparing for the changes


Firstly, you should contact your software provider. They will offer advice and assistance on setting up your CDS ready software. This will enable you to smoothly transition to CDS.

It’s important to remember that if, like AGI, you make declarations on behalf of your clients, you will need them to be aligned with the system. At AGI, we are already in the process of contacting all traders we represent to ensure that they are preparing to use CDS so that we can continue to provide them with our services.

Using procedure codes in CDS data element 1

Data element 1 is Message Information. Information to be included in this first part of the declaration includes general information about the whole declaration and any individual items within the declaration. Procedure Codes and Additional Procedure Codes will replace Customs Procedure Codes and will be inputted in the following format:

  • Procedure Codes – Four-digit identification code. Refers to the procedure applied to the goods and where they are3 coming from eg. Going into – free circulation; coming from Customs Warehousing.
  • Additional Procedure Codes – Three-digit code. Refers to any additional conditions applied to the intended use of the goods. Eg. Customs duty relief or Import VAT.

The CDS significantly simplifies the previous CHIEF system with regards to procedure codes. Up to 99 Additional Procedure Codes can be used with a single four-digit code. For more detailed information on the CDS data element 1 visit the government website.