Declarations and the Single Administrative Document

Introduction

The Single Administrative Document (SAD) - also known as form C88 in the UK - is the main customs form used in international trade. Traders and agents can use the SAD to assist with declaring import, export, transit and community status declarations in manual processing situations.

The SAD was introduced to control goods arriving from outside the EU and goods being exported outside of the EU. For trade within the European Union (EU) single market, the SAD is not necessary. The SAD also covers the movement of non-EU goods within the EU.

The SAD is harmonised in line with other European versions of the form. This guide explains how the SAD works - how to complete it, and whether you need the help of an agent.

Under current arrangements, the use of the SAD is largely restricted to instances when computer systems are not working and Customs resort to fallback, manual processing or as an advice to shipping agents.

SAD box numbers refer to the electronic system field numbers respectively.

Most customs procedures are now carried out electronically and the information, previously captured on the SAD, is processed using various systems. In addition to its previous uses the SAD may be used to provide information for new security based systems.

New security legislation requires advanced information for goods arriving in or leaving the EU. If you supply a SAD with your goods, you will be able to meet many of these security requirements. You will need an EORI number to complete an Entry Summary Declaration or an Exit Summary Declaration.

For imports or arrivals, see our guide to the Import Control System.

For exports, download guidelines on security declarations on export and exit provisions from the Europa website (PDF, 129K).

The information contained in this guide is detailed. For additional intermediate guidance, see our section on customs declarations.

Developed with:

HM Revenue & Customs