Are you sending your goods across the world? When operating a global business, the efficient transfer of your goods to and from the UK is essential. Your goods must not only arrive, but they must arrive without delay, with the correct amount of duty paid and a correct export declaration.

Find out all information you need to know about the UK export declaration procedure, from customs declarations to goods classification. You must take various steps to make sure that you are following the proper processes and have the correct documentation in place.


The UK’s exit from the EU brings the most significant change to its customs landscape. Many businesses that did not previously require an understanding of importing, exporting, and tariffs now need to become specialists in these areas.

First of all, what is an UK Export Declaration?

A customs export declaration is the legal act through which a person indicates a wish to place items under the export procedure.
The export declaration UK is a document that must be filled out when exporting goods from the UK.

Why Do Customs Require UK Export Declaration?

This is to control goods for export and to:

  • assemble reliable statistics data
  • allow for inspections of goods that are subject to special customs controls
  • Prevent unlawful returns of duty-free or VAT-free items to the domestic market.
  • Ensure that all licencing requirements for export are met
  • Allow for inspections of goods that are subject to specific Customs regulations.
  • Before goods are exported, verify that they are subjected to safety and security assessments.

Required Information

The following is the preliminary information that must be included in an export declaration:


  • When should I declare goods to Customs for export?
  • Exporter’s name and VAT number;
  • The name of the clearing agent, as well as the VAT number;
  • Goods’ final destination
  • Goods description;
  • Goods’ origin;
  • Commodity Code (8-Digit Tariff Code)
  • Customs Procedure Code (number with seven digits);
  • The cost of the items (typically expressed as an ex-works or FOB price)

Documentation Needed for UK Export Declaration

The export declaration is a document that helps you export your goods from the UK. You should fill it with the necessary information and submit it to the relevant authority for approval.
The following documents are required for export declaration in the UK:
Exporting entails transporting goods from one country to another, with customs stations along the way. It’s critical to have the relevant shipping documents for export and to fill them out correctly so customs can clear your goods.

Checklist for Exporting Documents

When exporting goods to another country, here’s a list of the most crucial export documentation you’ll need to include with your shipment: are:

1. Export Declaration
Before your goods leave the border, you must submit this to the customs authorities and have it approved. Your carrier should be able to handle this using the information from your documentation.


2. Commercial Invoice
Make sure you have a commercial invoice that is appropriately filled out. This includes a detailed product description and the value of your goods.


3. Air Bill of Lading
An air waybill or consignment note is also required. This section contains important information about your shipment, such as the number of items, a description of the goods, and the weight.


4. List of Packing Goods
Some countries require a packing list, so it’s worth providing one with your shipment. You might also put one inside your package to be extra careful.

It’s important to remember that a packing list and a commercial invoice are two separate papers. The price is listed on a business invoice, whereas the weight and quantity of the goods are listed on a packing list.


5. Export Licence
An export license is a government-issued document that allows registered businesses or individuals to send otherwise prohibited goods legally. It’s critical to determine whether you require one well before delivery.


6. Certificate of Origin
The certificate of origin is a legal document identifying the country in which a product was created, manufactured, or processed. If you require one, make sure to verify ahead of time.

The specific list of documents you’ll need depends on the goods you’re exporting, the country of destination, and export controls. You may also need to provide additional ones as well.

UK Export Declaration and CDS

The new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will replace the CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) program, which has been in effect since 1994.


It will close in two phases:

1- The ability to make import declarations will end after 30 September 2022
2- The ability to make export declarations will end after 31 March 2023

What are some key customs considerations for businesses exporting from the UK?

Companies supplying goods from the UK to the EU will have to address export requirements for the first time once the transition period ends. These include

Completing Your UK Export Declarations

You’ll have to decide how you’ll finish your export declarations. You can complete the export declarations on your own or hire customs intermediaries like freight forwarders, fast parcel operators, and customs agents or brokers. Because of the complexities of the procedures, businesses are advised to use an intermediary.

Making Export Declaration (Yourself)

If you decide to complete your own export declarations, there are a few points to keep in mind:


The National Export System (NES) is an electronic system that allows export declarations. You’ll need an EORI number and the CHIEF badge role to register.
When it comes to export declarations, you have four alternatives. Email, web, and XML declarations are all possible. A CHIEF-compatible email and XML declarations programme. Community Systems Providers, commercial firms that give businesses access to CHIEF, are your fourth option. To use the system, you’ll need your export program.

Making Export Declaration (Through a Broker)

Whether you use an intermediary or complete the declarations yourself, the following information or papers must be prepared:

  • Commodity code
  • Certificates or licences required
  • Invoice
  • Proof of origin, if you’re exporting to a destination where your goods have a reduced or zero rate of duty
  • Departure point and destination
  • Consignee and consignor
  • Nature, amount, and packaging of the goods
  • Method of transportation

What do UK Businesses Importing into the EU Need to Consider?

When UK businesses export from the UK and act as the importer of record into the EU, they must ensure that they meet the relevant customs compliance requirements, which include:

  • obtaining an EU EORI number
  • appointing an indirect representative to act as declarant on the customs declaration if they do not have an EU establishment
  • paying any applicable customs duty at the time of import, subject to any deferment arrangements or simplified procedures

Related Considerations


For VAT purposes, goods exports can be zero-rated. Businesses in the UK that presently rely on EU VAT simplifications to reduce their EU reporting duties may be required to register for VAT in the EU. The new e-commerce laws will affect UK businesses that provide B2C supply to EU customers.

Exporting Animal and Plant Products

Sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) protect human, animal, and plant life against infection and disease through inspections conducted before the entry of commodities into a country.

This means that some animals, plants, and associated products, such as those containing a lot of milk or eggs, are subject to additional inspections and certification procedures. Imports of such products into the EU may be subject to prior notification and examination at a border checkpoint.

Export Controls

Controlled goods include additional compliance requirements, such as permits for goods that can be used for civilian and military purposes. Other constraints on people, companies, and transactions, including sanctions and denied party screening, must also be considered by exporters.

Product Regulations

Regulated products, like chemicals, cosmetics, and automobile parts, will have to meet EU regulatory rules if they are to be sold in the EU. Separate UK and EU regulators will exist, with the possibility of divergence in the long run. Businesses formerly considered distributors for product rules may now be regarded as importers, meaning they must comply with additional requirements.

About ClearCustoms

We have worked with Customs experts to create a simple platform for UK companies and Customs agents to electronically file Customs declarations with greater accuracy. Our digital-first approach makes declarations convenient and simple.