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How to Fill Form C88 for Customs?

How to Fill Form C88 for Customs?

Import declaration is one of the most critical steps in the importation process. As a security measure, every country requires that importers declare what products enter the country. Generally, a failure to declare your goods can lead to a seizure by the UK Customs Authority (the HMRC). Importers make these declarations by filling out a designated form. In the UK, this Form is called Form C88.

What is the Form C88 Used for?

Form C88 is also called a Single Administration Document (SAD). It is a document that importers use to declare their import products to the Customs Authority legally. It contains details on the product's country of origin, the consignee (receiver), the consignor (exporter), commodity code, the weight of the imports, and delivery terms.

It is essential to note that while the UK has an online copy of the complete C88 Form, you have to contact your customs agent to complete this form and avoid any mistakes. To get the C88 Form, you must make enquiries with the HMRC . Also, your declaration sets the tone for the VAT and import duty the Customs will charge you.

Who Should Fill the Form C88?

Every importer looking to import goods from a non-EU country into the United Kingdom must fill and submit Form C88. Before Brexit, importers did not need to fill the C88 to import goods into the UK. However, the current requirement is that importers declare all imports from EU and non-EU countries with Form C88 before the HMRC clears them.

Parts of Form C88

Filling form C88

The actual Form C88 is an eight-part document. However, it contains other parts that are dedicated to specific import procedures. The types of Form C88 include:

  • C88 2 and 3: These are continuous forms that serve as the importer's proof of authorisation to import goods from the originating country and to receive goods sent by the exporter. The Form requires details like the name of the exporter and importer, commodity code of the goods, country origin code of the goods, and weight of the goods.

  • C88 6: Form C88 6 is also used as proof of authorisation. However, in this case, it applies to authorisation to import into the UK. It requires details like the place of unloading, the consignee (importer) name, delivery terms, total value, and exchange rate.

  • C88 (EL): C88 (EL) applies to importers seeking to move their goods under the Community Transit scheme. The Community Transit scheme allows the free movement of goods on which duty has not been paid. However, the importer must only move the goods within the parts of the UK territory. The C88 EL form is an export summary list under the Community Transit Scheme.

  • C88 (UK Transit): This Form is filled by importers seeking to conduct a UK Transit for their import products. It contains certification, intended transit offices, office of departure, and transhipments.

  • C88 (Status): Like Form C88 6, C88 (Status) is also used to provide proof of authorisation concerning products for import clearance at the UK border.

Form C88 for Importation by Post


Imports by post have a particular declaration procedure in UK Customs. The HMRC requires importers that get their goods through the post to fill Form C88A. This Form is specially designated for post imports. Importers must note that, like other parts of Form C88. Instead, it is filled with a manual copy sent by the HMRC.

Immediately after the Customs Authority receives your goods, they send you a Notice of Arrival Form (Form C87) to inform you that your goods have arrived and you need to make a declaration. In addition, the Authority sends Form C88A alongside Form C87. Thus, you are only required to complete both forms and submit them.

How to Fill Form C88

As stated earlier, Form C88 is divided into eight parts. The first three parts are designated for the export country, while the last five parts are to be attached to the goods. One must note that not all the parts of the C88 apply to an importer. Also, there are mandatory, optional, or automatically imputed requirements. Requirements like the consignee/consignor details, commodity code, place of loading, and mode of transport are mandatory. However, other details like the reference code will be automatically filled.

When filling, remember to cross-check your details. An incorrect code can lead to the unnecessary delay of your goods. You can also consider engaging a customs broker to cater to this part of the import process. This is because brokers are often more experienced with the required fields on the C88. Thus, they are best positioned to undertake the process.

Other Customs Forms

Filling form

  • Form C21: This Form is used for customs clearance requests. Importers fill out the Form to request that their goods be cleared at a specific location. It should be filled out online and printed afterwards. All fields must also be filled, apart from fields marked as optional.

  • Form C27: This Form is filled by either the importer or the importer's agent, and it only applies to certain product classes. The Form is used to inform the Customs Authority that the goods have arrived and are ready for inspection.

  • BOR286: This Form is intended for goods sent through Royal Mail. Importers fill out the Form to complain about an incorrect import duty charge or Value Added Tax on the goods.

  • Form C1201: This Form is filled by importers seeking to defer payment of duties on their goods. A guarantor is expected to fill out the Form to guarantee the payment.


Form C88 is one of the most critical documents in the UK Import process as it determines the clearance of your goods. Importers must note that it is advisable to submit the Form promptly. This speed will help fast-track your clearance process, especially when not importing controlled goods.

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