Export declarations and the National Export System

The Export Control System controls indirect export movement within the EU

The Export Control System (ECS) is an electronic messaging system operating throughout the EU to harmonise procedures and tighten security on goods being transported through the EU to third non-EU countries - known as indirect exports. ECS works alongside Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) as part of the National Export System (NES).

If you're sending goods through another EU country prior to their export to a third country, ie one outside the EU, you must complete an export declaration electronically on CHIEF which now includes ECS safety and security data. An Export Accompanying Document (EAD) will need to be printed to accompany the goods to the Office of Exit in the other member state. On very rare occasions where the goods are not covered by an export declaration with safety and security data, a separate Exit Summary Declaration will need to be submitted at the Office of Exit. In the UK these can be submitted to CHIEF.

Goods must be 'arrived' on CHIEF, meaning the goods must be presented to customs. You must await permission to progress - also called P2P - from CHIEF before an indirect export shipment can be loaded onto the means of transport and leave the UK. If this step is not followed correctly, your shipment may be rejected by another member state and your goods may have to return to the UK.

You must obtain customs clearance (P2P) for all exports, both direct and indirect.

Read about theĀ National Export System fallback measures.

An ECS Helpdesk handles email queries relating only to ECS - for example undischarged declarations, queries against an MRN and processing of EADs in the UK as Office of Exit. You can email the ECS Helpdesk at