Single Administrative Document (SAD) Harmonisation





Trade Test Service


Details of the changes

Completion rules

Impact on CHIEF

Further information

Frequently Asked Questions



A new EC Regulation (No 2286/03) is being introduced which changes the rules for completing most of the boxes on the SAD. The Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union - L343, dated 31 December 2003.

The paper document (that is the 4 and 8-part set) is not changing. Box numbers, names, sizes etc will remain the same. However, there will be a significant change in the information input to many of the boxes such as new and/or changed codes.

The impact of this new Regulation on HM Revenue & Customs and the trading community varies according to business activity. The table below indicates the level of impact:

Business activity


Export/import declarations


Customs/Excise warehouse removals


Community Status documents


Community Transit declarations



Some EU Member States have already introduced the changes. Details of the latest position are available on the Europa website.

In the UK, SAD Harmonisation will be implemented in the latter half of 2007. Full details will be published in due course. From the day of implementation (SADH Day), all declarants who are ready to make declarations in the new format will be expected to do so. However, those declarants who are not ready to submit declarations in the new format will be given an additional period of time to become SAD H-compliant. This will run for three months from ‘SADH Day’, during which time declarants will be able to continue to use old messages and old data. At the end of this ‘dual running’ period, only harmonised declarations will be accepted.

Trade Test Service

A Trade Test Service was made available on 24 January 2007. This currently enables the trade to test a simple free circulation declaration. The service will be enhanced over the next month to deliver a full operating Test Service.

Traders/software developers wishing to be set up with CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) access for the Trade Test (HMUT) service should contact CHIEF Operations at CHIEF Operations.


SAD Harmonised software has been available concurrently with pre-harmonised software since SAD H Day on 1 October 2007. This process is known as dual-running. This period is due to come to an end at midnight on 20 January 2008.

It is important that, if you are planning to cut across to SAD H declarations, you are aware of information that may assist you.

If you are a CFSP user, you should be aware of the special arrangements in place to facilitate your declarations after the end of the dual running period.

If you regularly use the pre-lodgement procedure for export, especially for CAP refund goods, you should note the content of paragraph 4.6 of the Harmonised Tariff (version 1.2 of which is available in the 'Completion rules' section of this site). This tells you about the circumstances when you might have to re-submit your declaration and how to avoid this possibility by not pre-lodging declarations in the pre-harmonised format in the run up to the end of dual-running wherever possible.

If you use the Status of Entry (SOE) code (shown on a variety of CHIEF export reports) to inform the movement of your goods at export (eg if you use the Local Clearance Procedure (LCP) or for movements through Non Inventory Linked Ports), you will need to refer to the SOE to ICS code correlation table reproduced below.

This is an approved workaround until the SOE code can be reinstated on the relevant CHIEF reports.






Export details have been accepted on CHIEF based on the intention to Export



Code should read 00 when sent Route 1 or 2



Goods detained



Entry Queried



Query resolved by input of amendment or response



Cancellation request



Accounting rejection not used on Exports



Goods will arrive and clear within seconds. ICS 50 confirms Permission to Progress



Goods will arrive and checks will be carried out. Customs clearance generates ICS 51



Goods previously cleared for shipment have sailed direct to a Third Country



Goods shipped under Single Transport of Contract



Goods previously cleared for shipment have moved for export via OMS



Whilst Goods have shipped Direct, the Departure message has not been sent to CHIEF within the Time out limit



Entry terminated, cancelled, seized, destroyed, released to Queens Warehouse

Details of the changes

A summary of the changes to the SAD when it is used for normal (full) export, import and warehousing procedures is available.

CHIEF changes summary

A summary of the changes to the SAD when it is used for Community/Common Transit or Community Status purposes is also available.

Transit and status changes summary

Completion rules

Detailed explanations on the completion of each SAD box, together with new code lists and correlation tables are contained in version 1.0 of the harmonised Tariff. Subsequent amendments will appear only in later versions published on the SAD Harmonisation webpage.

SAD Harmonisation Tariff version change information

Export and Import Customs Procedure Codes (CPCs) for SAD Harmonisation are now available to download.

Appendix E3 (Export CPCs) version 1.2

Appendix E4 (Import CPCs) version 1.2

A list of the changes made between version 1.1 and 1.2 is also available to download.

Export and import CPCs - version change information

A box-by-box SAD Harmonisation completion presentation is also available to download.

CAP export completion guide

For NCTS traders, the message/declaration completion rules are also available.

NCTS - EDI traders message completion rules

NCTS Web Channel - declaration completion rules

For CFSP traders, details of SAD Harmonisation and its effect on the CFSP aggregation rules are available.

Basic guide to the changes

A new SAD Harmonisation Basic guide specifically designed to illustrate the CAP export changes is now available to download.

CAP export - basic guide to the changes

Impact on CHIEF

CHIEF screens (including those accessed via the NES web facility) and CHIEF reports will be changed to reflect the new rules.

The existing Technical Interface Specifications (TIS) for trade submission of Customs declarations using EDIFACT are significantly affected, so at the same time as incorporating the new SAD completion rules we are taking the opportunity to rationalise these EDIFACT messages and move to newer standards.

The latest version is now available.

CHIEF User Guides - TIS and Trade

For CFSP traders, the new message specifications are also available.

CFSP Message Specifications

A list of Trade issues received by the SAD Harmonisation project team, together with responses is now available to download.

SAD Harmonisation trade issues version 1.3

A list of CHIEF error codes for SAD Harmonisation is now available to download.

Further information

If you have a query on how to complete a harmonised SAD, or any question on the content of the Harmonised Tariff, you should contact our import or export helpdesks respectively. Their contact details are as follows:

For import or general enquiries email: Import Enquiries

There is no telephone access to this office.

For export enquiries, email: Export Enquiries

Tel: 02920 326371

Frequently Asked Questions

A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about SAD Harmonisation is available on our website at FAQ: SAD Harmonisation.

Please note that these have been updated (January 2008) with some of the more frequently answered questions (FAQ's) recently received by our import enquiry helpdesk. A list of new export questions will be posted below these shortly.

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