Using CHIEF for declaring goods into or out of Northern Ireland
Last updated 18 March 2021
In due course, all declarations in to and out of Northern Ireland will need to be made using the Customs Declaration Service. Using the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system for Northern Ireland declarations will be reviewed by HMRC and you will be told when to stop using it.
CHIEF can still be used for declaring goods entering Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU.
You can do this for:
- import declarations for movements of goods directly into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU
- export declarations for movements of goods directly from Northern Ireland to outside the UK and EU
You can also do this for import declarations for movements of goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU through Great Britain (England Scotland and Wales) (transshipment) if the goods are:
- not customs cleared in Great Britain
- moved by transit from Great Britain to Northern Ireland
You will not be able to use CHIEF for declaring goods into or out of Northern Ireland for declaring:
- movements of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland (other than transshipment)
- indirect EU exports (movements of goods from Northern Ireland to a country outside the UK and EU via an EU member state)
If you import into a Special Procedure on CHIEF for movements of goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU, you will not be able to re-export directly into Great Britain using CHIEF. More guidance about this will be published as soon as possible.
You should discuss the use of CHIEF with your customs agent or community software provider, before making declarations.
Traders in Northern Ireland will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number with an XI prefix:
- when using the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) to move goods under transit
to use the Import Control System (ICS) to submit safety and security (S&S) declarations
- to access certain EU authorisations
CHIEF will not be compatible with XI prefixes and traders will need to use their GB prefixed EORI on CHIEF.
Check how to make a declaration for your goods in CHIEF into and out of Northern Ireland
If you move goods in and out of Northern Ireland, you’ll need to:
- check whether you can declare your goods not ‘at risk’ of onward movement into the EU under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol
- follow the guidance to check whether the UK tariff or EU tariff is applicable, which may depend on the tariff differential in line with the ‘at risk’ guidance
If your goods are ‘at risk’ you will have to work out the applicable EU tariff, taking account of the duties applicable which can be done using online calculation tools, or through talking to your customs agent.
For goods entering Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU, CHIEF will automatically calculate the UK tariff. If your goods meet the conditions to be declared as not ‘at risk’, and you are authorised for the UK Trader Scheme (where appropriate), you should complete your declaration on CHIEF as normal.
Your goods will be considered ‘at risk’ if the above conditions are not met. You will need to input the correct EU tariff amount you have manually calculated into box 47 in the CHIEF declaration. Find out how to manually override duties in section 2.2 of the UK Trade Tariff.
If you are moving a mixture of goods that are ‘at risk and not ‘at risk’, you will have to declare these on separate declarations in CHIEF.
There is limited functionality in CHIEF for movements into and out of Northern Ireland.
The use of the following customs procedure codes will not be possible in CHIEF for movements of ‘at risk’ goods into and out of Northern Ireland: 5100001, 5100003, 5171001 and 5171004. In this scenario a C2001 would need to be completed to account for the EU tariff.
Apply for authorisation to declare goods not ‘at risk’
If you need to declare your goods as not ‘at risk’, other than because of the applicable tariff rates, you will need to be authorised for the UK Trader Scheme. Find out how to apply for authorisation.
If you move goods into Northern Ireland to be processed, you’ll need to meet additional conditions to declare these goods not ‘at risk’ under the UK Trader Scheme.