Customs Declaration Service (Cds) Trader Guide

HMRC announced that the current UK’s customs system, Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) is being replaced by the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

From 30 September 2022 all cargo arriving into the UK will need to be submitted to the new CDS system.

This change will require you to take action to ensure your goods continue to be customs cleared and delivered. We have outlined below the relevant steps in which traders must complete to ensure they are ready for the switch over.


  • Apply for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI).
  • Register for the Customs Declaration Service (CDS)
  • Register for a Government Gateway account
  • Setup CDS Payment Method
  • Authorise your Customs Broker or Agent to act on your behalf.

Detailed Guide

Step 1: Register for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. 

If you wish to export or import into/from the UK you will need to register for a Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number that starts with GB for the UK and XI for Northern Ireland.

Applying for an EORI number is simple, free and only takes 10 minutes to apply. You should receive confirmation of registration along with your unique EORI number within a week from applying.

To apply for an EORI number visit

Step 2: Register for a Government Gateway account. 

Most UK businesses will already have a Government Gateway account to access their personal or business tax accounts. The same account will be used to access the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) dashboard.

If you are not already registered, you can apply for a Government Gateway account here:

Step 3: Register for the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

Once you are registered with a Government Gateway account, you will need to register to gain access to the new CDS customs dashboard which can be completed using the following link –

You will need the following information in order to complete registration.

• Your unique EORI number.
• Your Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number –
• Address of your business held on customs records
• Your National Insurance number (if you are an individual or sole trader)
• The date you started your business

Approval can take up to 5 working days. 

Step 4: Setting up CDS payment methods. 

The new customs system allows traders to select and setup the best payment method for your declarations and business. Below outline the most popular methods.

• Duty deferment account – CDS uses a separate HMRC bank account to CHIEF, so you’ll need to set up a new direct debit if already held,

• Postponed VAT accounting – If you’re making declarations for yourself and your business is registered for VAT in the UK, find out when you can, or need to, account for import VAT on your VAT return.

• Cash account – This replaces the Flexible Accounting System (FAS), and you’ll be set up with one once you’ve registered for the Customs Declaration Service.

• Immediate payment by BACS, CHAPS, online or by telephone banking – you can pay by debit, corporate credit card or cheque.

Step 5: Authorise your Customs Broker or Agent to act on your behalf. 

Unlike the CHIEF the new CDS system requires traders to authorise brokers and agents in order for them to clear your consignments on your behalf. Along with this clear customs clearance instructions should be provided to your agent/broker to ensure customs is completed correctly as any mistake or issue will be the responsibility of the exporter/importer and not the agent/broker.

To authorise an agent,  follow the below instructions.

  • Sign into your Government Gateway account and access the CDS Finance Dashboard.
  • Go to “Manage Account Authorities”.
  • Input your agents/brokers EORI number
  • Tick “Duty Deferment” option.
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