Upload documents and get messages for the Customs Declaration Service

What you need to do if you've submitted a declaration using the Customs Declaration Service and need to send supporting documents or respond to HMRC queries.

You can use this service if you need to send HMRC supporting documents, like licences or certificates of origin.

You only need to send documents to HMRC if either:

  • your declaration status shows a requirement for documents to be sent
  • you receive a direct request for documents

You’ll receive a message in your Customs Declaration Service inbox (in this service) if we need to ask you about your goods or declaration while your goods are in physical or documentary control.

You can also send documents to HMRC before you’re asked to, if you think we will ask for them.

Before you start

You’ll need:

  • a Government Gateway user ID and password — if you do not have a user ID, you can create one the first time you upload your documents
  • to already have access to the Customs Declaration Service
  • the movement reference number (MRN) you got when you submitted your declaration

How to upload documents

You can upload your documents in any of the following formats:

  • JPG
  • PNG
  • TXT
  • PDF

You’ll need to know how many files you want to upload before you start uploading them. You can submit up to 10 files at a time, and each file can be up to 10 megabytes (MB).

If you need to send more than 10 documents, these must be split up and submitted in groups of no more than 10.


If you have 2 photos of an invoice saved as separate jpegs, this is 2 files.

If you have a bill of lading, an invoice, and a licence saved in a single PDF document, this is 1 file.

Online services may be slow during busy times. Check if there are any problems with this service.

Start now

After you’ve sent HMRC supporting documents

If you’ve received a message instructing you to provide documents that HMRC need, the arrived goods should be cleared within 2 hours for:

  • air freight imports
  • road freight imports
  • ‘short strait’ (roll on roll off) imports
  • all exports

Marine freight imports will be cleared:

  • within 3 hours if the documents are received between 8am and 3pm
  • by 8am the following day if the documents are received after 3pm

Items such as live animals and human remains are given a higher priority.

Clearance and post-clearance will take longer for strategic exports because:

  • strategic checks are more complex
  • post-clearance checks are not time critical

Get help sending your documents

Contact the National Clearance Hub if you need help using the service.

Published 31 December 2020
Last updated 12 October 2023 + show all updates
  1. You no longer need an EORI number before you start to upload documents.

  2. Page updated to clarify that you can send HMRC more than 10 documents but these must be split up and submitted in groups of no more than 10.

  3. Information about how long some imports will take to be cleared has been added in the 'After you’ve sent HMRC supporting documents' section.

  4. After you’ve sent HMRC supporting documents has been updated with time limits for air freight imports, road freight imports, marine freight imports and exports.

  5. Added information about responding to HMRC queries using the Customs Declaration Service.

  6. Information about the types of file formats you can upload when sending documents to support declarations for the Customs Declaration Service has been updated.

  7. First published.