Before declaring your own records or moving goods in and out of a customs warehouse, HMRC will require you to obtain certain authorisations. There are a few different types to consider but don’t worry, we can walk you through it. Below is a guide to understanding the different procedures, as well as advice on how to apply.
Authorised Economic Operator (aka AEO)
By satisfying certain criteria, you can become an AEO. You’re therefore considered to be safe and reliable in your customs related operations, allowing you to receive certain benefits.
There are two types of AEO, and you can apply for both. One is AEOC for customs regimes and the other is AEOS for safety and security. The type of AEO authorisation you apply for will determine the benefits you’ll be entitled to, but they can include:
- Easier access to customs simplifications
- Ability to move goods in temporary storage
- Priority for consignments passing through customs controls
- Special Procedures
- Deferment guarantee reductions or waivers
- Facilitations from customs security and safety controls
To obtain an AEO certificate you must be established in the EU submitting full accounts in Europe with an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number. You also have to be involved with international supply and customs related activities. More details and benefits can be found in Notice 117.
How to apply:
For AEO status, you’ll need HMRC forms C117 and C118. It can take up to 120 days after form submission, plus a further 60 days if you also have an EU presence. You can also click here to find out more about our dedicated AEO programme.
EORI can be obtained here and takes approximately 3 days to receive.
Customs Freight Simplified Procedure (aka CFSP)
There are two types of CFSP:
The Simplified Declaration Procedure (SDP) – used for releasing goods quickly at the frontier to most customs regimes, this may be useful if you’re importing perishable items. Your simplified declaration will consist of just five data points, and you can submit your full declaration at a later date.
Entry in the Declarant’s Records (EIDR) – formerly known as Local Clearance Procedure (LCP), this allows you to release goods into a customs regime without the need to submit a declaration. Declarations can be made in the trader’s records rather than directly to HMRC, with fiscal data being submitted later.
When applying for CFSP, you must inform HMRC of the commodity codes (CCs) that apply to the goods you’re importing or exporting, as well as of the regimes you intend to use. HMRC will issue a letter advising you of the correct procedures for your products. CFSP authorisation allows you to enter declarations directly into a system without having to use a customs agent. However, you may still need an agent to clear your goods at the frontier.
How to apply:
For CFSP authorisation you’ll need HMRC form C&E 48. It should take HMRC around 30 days to complete the approval process.
Customs Warehousing (aka CW)
Moving goods into a customs warehouse allows the owner to delay paying customs duty or import VAT indefinitely. Suspending these payments until a later date could mean improving cash flow until the goods are ready to move. This is the principle Customs Special Procedure as per Notice 3001.
To run a customs warehouse, you’ll need to apply for either:
- Public warehouse (Type R) – this allows an authorised warehouse-keeper to store goods deposited by traders who may not necessarily need, or want, to operate a warehouse
- Private warehouse (Type U) – operated by an individual trader who is the depositor and authorised warehouse-keeper for the storage facility. They’re responsible for depositing, but the goods could technically belong to someone else
Once approved to run a customs warehouse you’ll be an authorised warehouse-keeper with an associated approval number. This will then be used for all transactions in and out of your warehouse.
If the goods are moved to another customs premise or regime, they won’t incur customs duties. However, if they’re moved to free circulation then the duties need to be declared and paid via a deferment account. The deferment account doesn’t need to be owned by you, but you’ll need authorisation from the owner to say that you’re eligible to use their Deferment Approval Number (DAN) by completing a C1207N (or a C1207S for one-off deferment on a specific consignment).
How to apply:
DAN – A deferment approval number is a bank account used to pay the sum of your monthly customs/excise and import VAT to HMRC by direct debit when the goods are moved to free circulation. When applying for a deferment approval you will need to complete a:
- C1200 Application for Approval of Deferment Arrangements
- C1201 Guarantee for Payment of Sums Due to the Commissioners of HMRC
- C1202 Duty Deferment – instruction to your bank or building society to pay by Direct Debit
- C1207N Standing authority for agent or freight forwarder to request deferment of duty payment against importer’s DAN
Customs Comprehensive Guarantee (aka CCG)
Customs Comprehensive Guarantee (CCG) is a new scheme introduced via the Union Customs Code (UCC) rules. It’s an agreement to cover a customs debt that has or will arise from certain customs procedures. This is known as an actual or potential debt. To be eligible for a CCG you must be established in the EU, have no serious or repeat infringements of customs or tax rules and have no record of serious criminal offences related to your business activities.
How to apply:
Simplified Import VAT Accounting (aka SIVA)
Simplified Import VAT Accounting (SIVA) is designed for traders that incur VAT on imported goods and wish to use an import duty deferment account. Having SIVA approval means that the financial guarantee required for import VAT can be reduced to 0% which, in turn, can reduce your bank charges.
How to apply:
You can apply for SIVA by completing a SIVA1 online form and a SIVA1a questionnaire, both available here. HMRC state that they will reply within a 120 day period of accepting your application.