Declarations and the Single Administrative Document

The role of the Single Administrative Document in international trade

The Single Administrative Document (SAD), which is recognised internationally by customs, can be used by traders in the UK to fulfil customs and duty obligations to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). When you make a declaration to HMRC, many of the boxes on the SAD that you fill out contain information from other commercial paperwork, such as invoices, packing lists, certificates and shipping documents.

A completed SAD must detail:

The SAD breaks down into 54 boxes and the full version comes in eight parts for use at different points in the trading process. Parts 2 and 3 are for export, parts 6, 7 and 8 are for import, and parts 1, 4 and 5 are for transit. Traders should use Volume 3 of the Tariff to complete the required boxes.

There are 54 boxes in the SAD. They can be grouped according to the types of information that are required.

Type Sub-type Box number
Declarations Status of goods 1
Commercial context Contact details 2, 8, 14, 9, 54
Duties and taxes 47
Description of goods 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 38
Additional information 4, 44
Reference details for agents 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Valuation details   7, 9, 12, 13, 22, 23, 24, 28, 41, 42, 45, 46
Preference   15, 16, 17, 34, 36, 39
Delivery   20
Transport and description of goods Transport details 18, 21, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30
Description of goods 31, 32, 34, 35, 38, comcode (33)

Most traders now submit their SAD online although when systems are down it can still be submitted on paper. You can buy software from Freight Software Suppliers that is designed to simplify submitting electronic declarations. As changes to the SAD are often given through software updates, the software you use to connect to the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system may require amending or updating - your freight software supplier should ensure SAD information is updated and compatible.