Guide

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP)

CFSP eligibility and restrictions

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) are electronic customs declaration processes for speeding up the importation of goods from third countries. You can opt to use either the

  • Simplified Declaration Procedure (SDP) or
  • Local Clearance Procedure (LCP)

In both cases you submit the declaration in two stages. Either of these procedures can be used independently or they can be combined to suit your purpose.

Eligibility of goods for CFSP

CFSP is suitable for most goods from third countries. However, controlled goods may only be released from the frontier using SDP – ie you cannot use LCP to release controlled goods inland, with certain exceptions.

Licensing - controlled goods and CFSP

Controlled goods are subject to licensing and/or certification and/or special safety or environmental controls and as such must be placed under customs control at the frontier. You will have to use specific CFSP frontier Customs Procedure Codes (CPCs) for them and complete additional boxes in the SFD. Examples of controlled goods include:

  • ammonium nitrate in solid form and in quantities above 500 kilogrammes
  • controlled drugs
  • drugs precursor chemicals
  • firearms
  • fireworks
  • rough diamonds
  • goods subject to sanctions and arms embargoes
  • excise goods with the exception of alcohol and tobacco goods
  • ozone depleting substances

Fresh produce and live or endangered species are also controlled for CFSP purposes.

How the process works

CFSP is based on processes around authorisation, accelerated removal/release, electronic reporting and auditing.

When CFSP goods arrive at the frontier from outside the European Community, an initial declaration, known as a Simplified Frontier Declaration (SFD), has to be electronically submitted by the trader to allow the release of the goods.

Complete details of the consignment - as a supplementary declaration (SD) - are then due to HMRC within a set time. This means you don't have to submit full details before the goods are cleared and that you or your representative can deal with HMRC alongside other trading procedures such as licences or warehouse procedures. You may either remove goods from the frontier to your premises for clearance, or release them into free circulation or another customs procedure. See our guide on Supplementary Declarations for import.

HMRC treats goods imported under CFSP in the same way as goods entering the UK under normal procedures. On arrival, UK Borders Agency staff may check the goods for anti-smuggling, animal and plant health, and standard import prohibition and restriction controls.

Traders then submit an SD as an electronic Single Administrative Document (SAD) via the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. The supplementary declaration contains details of the shipment and its liability for tax and duty within a certain time. HMRC has powers to audit your records, systems and paperwork after the goods have cleared so they can be sure any duties and taxes are properly accounted for.

SDP and EIDR

CFSP can be used by authorised traders in two ways:

  • Simplified Declaration Procedure 
  • Entry in the Declarant’s Records (EIDR)

Authorisation

You or your agent needs to be authorised by HMRC to operate CFSP. You must also obtain the authority to use the duty relief schemes such as customs warehousing or inward processing that are often used with CFSP.

Read more about how to get authorisation to use CFSP.

Traders authorised to use simplified procedures will be issued with an authorisation letter. To apply for CFSP, access the C&E application form C&E48.