Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP)

How to get authorisation to use CFSP

Trading businesses or their representatives must receive authorisation from HMRC to operate Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP).

To qualify, you must:

  • be registered as a sole trader, a partnership, or a limited company
  • have access to an electronic reporting system
  • have a registered Economic Operator (EORI) number, which HMRC supplies
  • declare third country goods regularly against your EORI
  • have a good record of compliance with customs and other official bodies
  • be financially solvent
  • maintain a set of documented procedures which accurately describes the accounting and logistical processes of your business and enables customs to perform audit-based controls
  • be able to use your duty deferment facility or that of a third party for payment and security purposes (payments go through the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) so traders cannot pay in cash or other methods)

Read more about the UK's import and export processing system CHIEF and the Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) Scheme.

Traders may also have to meet extra conditions, which their authorising officer will tell them about.

If you want to combine CFSP with other customs procedures such as customs warehousing or Inward Processing (IP), you must also be authorised by Customs, and need to apply separately for these procedures.

The authorisations traders and third parties need

Traders, particularly small businesses, often use agents or freight forwarders to process their goods under CFSP, not least because these have the necessary software.

You can complete the process online yourself if you are authorised to use the system. This is called self-representation. There are two other kinds of representation:

  • Direct representation, where a third party (such as an agent) acts in your name and on your behalf. You remain responsible for customs debts and you need to be authorised to use CFSP, although the third party does not.
  • Indirect representation, where a third party acts in their name but on your behalf. You and the third party share liability for the customs debt. You don't need to be authorised to use CFSP, but the third party does.

To be authorised to use CFSP, traders and agents will have to show that they meet a range of conditions regarding accounting systems and records, customs compliance and financial solvency. These criteria will need to be in place in your business before HMRC can grant authorisation – authorising officers will visit your premises to verify your systems and paperwork.

Find form C&E 48 to apply for CFSP.