In simplistic terms, a Customs Entry (also known as a Customs Declaration) is a statement of information, which is provided by a logistics company to a Customs authority, such as HMRC in the UK, when goods are imported or exported overseas.
In the UK a Customs Entry is only required when goods are imported or exported from outside the EU. It is important to remember that if you send goods across the UK or into the European Union a Customs Entry will not be required.
A Customs Entry generally includes the following information:
- The name and address of the shipper and consignee
- The origin and destination of the cargo
- The mode of transport
- A description of the goods being sent (including a commodity code)
- The value and weight of the goods being sent
If a Customs Entry is required and it has not been completed or provided, the cargo will not be allowed to travel forward and it likely that penalties and storage charges will accrue until this has been furnished. Similarly if any errors are included in a Customs Entry, the Customs authority are likely to charge penalties and fines for the misdeclaration of information.
If a company in the UK wishes to import or export goods from outside the EU they will be required to nominate a logistics company to complete the Customs Entry on their behalf. When choosing a logistics company to provide this service it is important to check that they have a direct link to CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight), which is the UK Customs computer system. A logistics company with a direct link to CHIEF will be able to complete a Customs Entry much quicker, which should prevent any unnecessary delays.
You may also wish to check if the logistics company is an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). In the UK an AEO Certificate is awarded by HMRC to logistics companies who meet certain criteria with regards to Customs formalities. Qualifying organisations can expect to benefit from a reduction in the number of control checks carried out by Customs. It is therefore likely that the freight being processed by an AEO logistics company will be prioritised, which again should prevent any unwanted delays.
Tudor International Freight are an AEO and also carry a direct link to CHIEF. If you have any customs clearance queries or would like some further guidance or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.