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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-117-authorised-economic-operator/notice-117-authorised-economic-operator
1.1 What this notice is about
This notice explains the purpose of Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs) and how you can apply to become an AEO.
This notice is not the law. It is our view of what the law says and nothing in the notice takes the place of the law.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this notice, the onus remains with you to consult the Official Journal of the European Union as necessary and ensure that the correct rules are applied and procedures followed.
1.2 What an AEO is
An AEO is an economic operator who, by satisfying certain criteria, is considered to be reliable in their customs related operations throughout the European Union (EU) and is therefore entitled to the benefits listed in paragraphs 1.11 to 1.13.
Depending on the type of AEO authorisation applied for and granted, these can include either easier access to certain customs simplifications, special procedures, deferment guarantee reductions/waivers or certain facilitations from customs security and safety controls, or both.
1.3 Find out why the status of AEO was introduced
The introduction of AEO status is the UK and EU’s response to the need to secure international supply chains and the introduction of Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in the USA and the development of the Safe framework of standards in the World Customs Organisation (WCO).
The aim is to provide business with an internationally recognised quality mark which will indicate that their role in the international supply chain is secure and their customs controls and procedures are efficient and compliant. An operator with AEO security and safety status implies that apart from being reliable in the traditional financial and customs terms, they are also compliant in respect of security and safety standards and can therefore be considered as a ‘secure’ trader and thus a reliable trading partner.
1.4 What the ‘international supply chain’ is
The international supply chain, from a customs perspective, starts from the process of manufacturing goods destined for export, from a customs territory, through to delivery of the goods to the party to whom the goods are actually consigned in another customs territory.
From an AEO, UK and EU viewpoint, any of the following would be considered as being part of the international supply chain:
- goods imported from a third country (for example, USA, China, Russia and so on) into the UK or EU
- goods imported into the UK or EU and declared to a customs special procedure such as inward processing or customs warehousing, processed and/or stored and then re-exported from the UK or EU
- goods imported into the UK or EU for storage or processing and then delivered onto the UK or EU market
- goods manufactured in the UK or EU from free circulation goods and subsequently exported from the UK or EU
1.5 Where the international supply chain starts
The international supply chain starts at the point where raw products or manufactured goods are designated for export in the country of origin. For example:
- ore is mined in Russia
- in Russia, it is processed into iron bars
- an order is received from Japan
- the bars are shipped to Japan
- in Japan, iron bars are processed into a final product
- the final product is imported from Japan into the UK or EU
In this example, the international supply chain is considered to commence at the point where the Russian company receives the order from Japan. However, from an AEO, UK and EU viewpoint we would only be interested in that part of the international supply chain involving the processing of the final product in Japan and through to the import into the UK or EU.
1.6 Where the international supply chain ends
For goods imported into the UK or EU, the supply chain ends at the point that the goods are delivered to the party to whom they were consigned in the UK or EU. For example:
- goods are imported from a third country and declared to free circulation at the UK frontier – the goods are sent to a distribution site where they are checked and entered into the consignor’s stock records and then subsequently delivered to retail sites. In this case, the supply chain ends when the goods are received, checked and entered in the records
- alternatively, goods are imported from a third country and entered to a customs warehouse – the goods are then released to free circulation and sent to a distribution site – the goods are then delivered to individual retail sites – in this case, the international supply chain does not end when the goods are received, checked and entered in the customs warehouse stock records – the goods remain under customs supervision whilst within the customs warehouse, instead the supply chain would end at the point that the goods are discharged from the customs warehouse and released to free circulation
1.7 The law
AEO is governed by European Union law. From 1 May 2016, the basic law is set out in Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 laying down the Union Customs Code (UCC); and its Implementing ((EU) 2015/2447) and Delegated ((EU) 2015/2446) Regulations. Prior to this AEO was governed by Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 (the Customs Code) as amended by Regulation (EC) No 648/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93 (the Implementing Provisions) as amended by Commission Regulation (EEC) No 1875/2006.
1.8 Types of AEO authorisation
There are 2 types of authorisation:
- security and safety (AEOS) – issued to any business that fulfils the criteria of customs compliance, appropriate record keeping standards, financial solvency, and maintains appropriate security and safety standards
- customs simplifications (AEOC) – issued to any business that fulfils the criteria of customs compliance, appropriate record keeping standards, financial solvency and practical standards of competence or professional qualifications directly related to the activity carried out
See sections 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 for further information on how these criteria are applied.
A business can apply for both types of AEO status and no charges are made for the processing of applications or the issue of authorisations.
1.9 Who can apply for AEO status
Anyone involved in the international supply chain that carries out customs related activities in the UK and EU can apply for AEO status irrespective of the size of your business. This includes logistics operators, carriers, freight forwarders and customs agents.
You may apply if you fall into one, or more than one of the following categories:
- manufacturers – ensures a safe and secure manufacturing process for their products and supply of those products to their clients
- exporters – the person on whose behalf the export declaration is made and who is the owner of the goods or has similar right of disposal over them at the time the declaration is accepted – for persons established outside the UK or EU, the exporter shall be considered to be the contracting party established in the Union
- freight forwarders – organising the transport of goods on behalf of an exporter, importer or other party
- warehousekeepers – a person authorised to operate a customs warehouse
- customs agents – a customs representative acting on behalf of a person who is involved in customs related business activities (direct representative) or in his own name (indirect representative)
- carriers – person who actually transports the goods or is in charge of or responsible for the operation of the means of transport
- importers – an operator on whose behalf an import declaration is made and who at the time the declaration was accepted is the owner/consignee of non Union goods or if not the owner is responsible for the control of the goods
This list is not exhaustive. Others who may qualify include port operators, stevedores, loaders, and secure freight parking operatives.
Businesses that are not involved in customs related activities will not be entitled to apply. This means any of the following categories will not normally be eligible to apply for AEO status:
- insurance companies
- software houses
and any other similar trade categories who are not generally involved in the international supply chain unless they are, or acting in the name of, an importer or exporter.
Similarly, any businesses that are only involved in internal trade within the UK or EU will not be entitled to apply. This would include a manufacturer who only supplies goods to UK or EU customers and the carrier who only transports those goods.
Bureaus and buying and selling agents will not normally qualify for AEO status unless they also act as customs agents for their clients.
1.10 What the benefits of a safety and security AEO authorisation are
If you hold AEO status for security and safety purposes it will enable you to benefit from certain facilitations of customs controls at the entry of the goods into the customs territory of the UK or EU or when your goods leave the customs territory of the UK or EU. These will include:
- a lower risk score which will be incorporated into customs’ risk management systems and be used to determine the frequency of customs physical and documentary checks
- consignments may be fast tracked through customs controls – holding an AEO security and safety authorisation does not mean that your consignments will not be subject to examination for prohibited or restricted goods or on behalf of other government agencies – however if it is selected for examination it will receive priority over non AEOs
- recognised status across the UK and EU
- an industry ‘kite mark’ and useful marketing tool
- potential for reciprocal arrangements and mutual recognition with countries outside the UK and EU, for example, USA or trading partners that have adopted the WCO Safe framework
1.11 What the benefits of a customs simplification AEO status are
You need to be an AEOC holder to benefit from:
- moving goods in temporary storage between different EU member states
- a notification waiver when making an Entry in Declarant’s Records (EIDR)
- a 70% reduction in a deferment account guarantee
- undertaking Centralised Clearance (when available)
- completing a Self Assessment (when implemented)
You do not need to hold an AEO authorisation to apply for the following, but if you are a holder of a customs simplification AEO authorisation, it can speed up the application process as we will not need to re-examine any criteria that have already been met when you applied for AEO:
- customs simplified procedures such as Customs Freight Simplified Procedure (CFSP) or National Export System (NES)
- special procedures such as inward processing and customs warehousing
- customs comprehensive guarantee reductions or waivers for potential debts
The AEO customs simplification authorisation will also be:
- a recognised status across the UK and EU that should make it easier for businesses to apply and use simplifications across the Union
- an industry ‘kite mark’ and useful marketing tool
1.12 Find if there are any other indirect benefits in having AEO status
There may be other commercial benefits in having AEO status or in carrying out the work necessary to document procedures and improve the security of your supply chain to obtain AEO status. These may include reduced incidences of theft or losses in transit, improved security and communication with your partners in the supply chain and improved customer confidence.
1.13 What happens if you decide not to apply for AEO status
Clearance times in the UK for businesses that do not have AEO status will not currently be affected but eventually HMRC will start to focus controls on supply chains that do not include AEOs and are deemed to be less secure. In addition, you will not receive any of the additional benefits listed in paragraphs 1.11 and 1.12.
1.14 Does everyone in the supply chain need to have a security and safety AEO authorisation to receive the full benefits of a security and safety AEO?
The concept of end to end supply chain security means security measures are implemented from the first point until the last point in the supply chain.
A supply chain that includes parties that are not authorised as a security and safety AEO or parties that the AEO cannot guarantee secure safety standards will have a higher risk rating and therefore a higher possibility of customs intervention at the frontier than a supply chain where all parties are authorised for the security and safety status.
It may also impact on mutual recognition with our trading partners. It is possible our trading partners may require all parties in the supply chain to have AEO security and safety status before mutual recognition is approved.
1.15 As a security and safety AEO will I be held responsible for the security and safety standards of my business partners?
An AEO can only be held responsible for their role in the supply chain and for the goods while they are under their control. However, to guarantee your own security standards you may be dependent on other partners involved in your supply chains, for example suppliers and carriers. As an AEO you will be expected to manage risks involved with your business partners, make them aware of your security and safety standards and ensure they are reflected when you enter into contractual arrangements with them.
If you have ad hoc, irregular or unknown business partners you will also be expected to have appropriate measures in place to address this risk.
The EU Commission has produced a form – Common Format for Security Declarations - as an example of an agreement between an AEO business and a contracted party and this is available from the GOV.UK website (search for AEO security declaration).
1.16 What the criteria for considering applications are
The criteria for granting AEO status are contained in Article 39 of European Council Regulation (EU) No 952/2013. These include:
- an appropriate record of compliance with customs legislation and taxation rules
- a satisfactory system of managing commercial, and where appropriate, transport records, which allows appropriate customs controls
- proven financial solvency
- practical standards of competence or professional qualifications directly related to the activity carried out (when you are applying for a customs simplification AEO)
- appropriate security and safety standards (when you are applying for a security and safety AEO status)
Articles 24 to 28 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447 provides further information on the criteria and you should check you can meet the criteria before you submit your application. In particular we recommend if you are applying for a security and safety AEO authorisation you carry out a self assessment on your security systems against the AEO security and safety requirements.
Further details are contained in sections 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. The criteria will be applied to the legal entity that is applying for AEO status and all its locations where customs related activities are carried out including, where appropriate, any locations where the legal entity operates in EU member states.
1.17 How to apply
You can apply for AEO status using the online forms C117 and C118. You will need a Government Gateway user ID and password.
If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you apply. Further details are contained in section 2.
If you need to apply for AEO status in an EU member state other than the UK, you will have to apply in that EU member state using their application/authorisation forms.
1.18 Obtaining further information
Further information can be found either:
- on the GOV.UK website
- by contacting imports and Exports: general enquiries
- on the EU Commission website where detailed EU AEO guidance is available
If you wish to enquire about the progress of your application you should contact the helpdesk at our centralised site (see paragraph 2.8).
2. Application for AEO status
This section tells you who can apply for AEO status, about rules on establishment and where to submit your application.
2.1 Who can apply
You may apply for AEO status if you fall within one of the categories at paragraph 1.10.
2.2 Find if the application can cover more than one legal entity
The application for AEO status only covers the legal entity of the applicant. There is no provision for a group of companies to hold a single AEO authorisation.
2.3 Find if the application can cover a specific location or a division of your legal entity
There is no provision to grant AEO status to a specific site, division or branch of your legal entity. Your application must cover all the activities and locations of your legal entity involved in the international trade supply chain and the criteria in sections 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 will be applied across all those activities and locations.
2.4 Find if the application can cover activities in EU member states
If your legal entity operates in EU member states as well as the UK your application must cover all your business activities involved in the international supply chain across the EU if your activities involve more than one EU member state. See paragraph 2.9 on where to send your application. If you are granted AEO status, that status will be recognised across the whole of the EU.
However, if your business has set up separate legal entities in EU member states, those legal entities will need to apply separately to the customs authorities in those EU member states if they wish to obtain AEO status.
For example: a parent company is established in Germany. It has 2 subsidiaries, one registered in Belgium (S1) and one in Austria (S2).The parent company does not carry out any business related to customs rules but both the subsidiaries are involved in customs activities covered by customs legislation. The parent company wishes to apply for AEO status for all the customs activities carried out by its subsidiaries – S1 and S2 where both perform customs related activities and documentation in their respective EU member states.
In this example both subsidiaries must submit the application to their respective EU member states in their own name.
2.5 Find out if you have to be established in the UK or EU
In order to apply for AEO status you must be established in the UK or EU.
Established in the Union is defined as:
- in the case of a ‘natural person’, any person who has his or her habitual residence in the customs territory of the Union
- in the case of a ‘legal person’ or an association of persons, any person having its registered office, central headquarters, or a permanent business establishment in the customs territory of the Union
There may be instances where your claim to establishment may be queried. If so, you will be asked to provide evidence which may include:
- a certificate of registration issued by the Registrar of Companies
- details of where staff are employed and are engaged in making supplies of goods and/or services
- details of contracts, orders and/or invoices held or issued by the business
- proof that the business has its own accounts
2.6 Find if there are any exceptions to the rules on establishment
There is 1 exception to the general rules on establishment in paragraph 2.5 above:
Where there is an international agreement between the UK, EU and a third country trading partner that provides for mutual recognition of the AEO status and specifies arrangements for carrying out appropriate controls on behalf of the customs authorities in the UK and EU. There are currently no such agreements in place, although negotiations are ongoing between the UK, EU and a number of trading partners.
2.7 How the rules apply to agents and representatives
An AEO authorisation can only be issued to the legal entity applying for AEO status in their capacity and covering their role in the international supply chain. Therefore, although AEO status can be granted to an agent or customs representatives, this will only be in their capacity as an agent and does not confer AEO status on, or provide the benefits of AEO status for, their clients, who if they wish to obtain AEO status, will need to apply separately for that status.
2.8 Where to apply for authorisation in the UK
You can apply for AEO status using the online forms C117 and C118 on the GOV.UK website. You will need a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you apply.
2.9 Where to apply for authorisation if your activities cover more than one EU member state
Applications should be submitted to the customs authority of the member state:
- where your main accounts related to the customs arrangements involved are held
- where at least part of the operations to be covered by the authorisation are carried out
Alternatively if the appropriate member state cannot be determined from the above rules you may submit your application to the member state:
- where your records and documentation (main accounts for customs purposes) are held or accessible which enable the customs authority to take a decision
- where you have a permanent business establishment and where the information about your general logistical management activities in the UK and EU are kept or are accessible
Main accounts must include records and documentation enabling the customs authority to verify and monitor the conditions and the criteria necessary for obtaining the AEO status.
A company has its headquarters in Belgium where it holds its main accounts. However, its only customs related operation is a customs warehouse in France and the records for the customs warehouse are kept in France. In this case the company should apply in France.
If you are in any doubt about whether your application should be submitted in the UK or another member state you should contact the AEO helpdesk on Telephone: 03000 564 556.
The email addresses of AEO authorisation offices in other member states can be found in section 14.
2.10 Find out if you need to send supporting evidence with your application
Additional documents will be required. Applications should be made online.
You should retain all your supporting documentation and this will be verified by us when we visit your premises.
In exceptional circumstances you may be required to provide evidence to support claims made in your application that may have a bearing on the application being progressed. If this is the case, the AEO Central Site or visiting officer will contact you.
2.11 Find what you should do if you hold sensitive information that should not be disclosed to an unauthorised third party
We recognise that in some exceptional cases, businesses may hold information that they consider to be sensitive and where they have strict rules about disclosure to unauthorised parties, including HMRC. For example, such cases could include information on:
- nuclear materials
- military technology
- director’s names and addresses
In these cases, you will need to show that any restrictions you place on our access are consistent with your established policy and are reasonable. You will need to inform us who within your organisation is authorised to have access to the information and what measures are in place to control that access.
Where appropriate, HMRC will make arrangements for this information to be checked by staff who have received the appropriate security clearance. In the case of directors addresses these still need to be provided but can be done by sending them to the central site separately, where they will be checked and then destroyed.
2.12 Will HMRC take into account existing authorisations that l hold when assessing my AEO application?
Yes. When you apply for AEO status, we will take into account criteria previously examined for other customs authorisations. However, some criteria previously examined may need to be reviewed to ensure that the information we used to make our decision is still valid.
2.13 How you can withdraw your application
You can withdraw your application for any reason at any time during the process especially if you feel that you require more time to comply with the criteria for obtaining AEO status. You can then resubmit your application when you feel you are ready to do so. Provided that you have not been issued with the AEO authorisation, you do not need to wait 3 years before being able to reapply.
3. How HMRC processes your application
This section tells you about the checks made on your application by HMRC and what happens if your application is refused.
3.1 Find what happens after you apply
We will send you an acknowledgement on receipt of your application and carry out checks on the completeness of your application. When we are satisfied you have completed all the relevant information we will then contact you to arrange to check the documents that will support your application.
If your application includes activities in other member states we will liaise with the customs authorities in other member states. This is where the application is submitted under the third and fourth bullet points of paragraph 2.9. The consultation process must be completed within 80 days.
We will also record your application on a central AEO database, which will be accessible by the customs authorities in other member states.
The EU also has an AEO interrogation database which is publicly accessible in the Authorised Economic Operator for imports and exports guide.
This shows the names of all the businesses who hold AEO, the type of authorisation, issuing authority and effective date. If you do not wish to be included on this database, you need to indicate this in the relevant box within the C117 application.
3.2 Find how long HMRC will take to make a decision on your application
Within 30 days of receipt of your application, HMRC will advise you if your application has been accepted. Once all the relevant information has been received and the application accepted, HMRC will consider your application and, if you satisfy the criteria in sections 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, we aim to issue your authorisation within 120 days of acceptance of your application. However, in some cases this period may be extended by a further 60 days. This may be necessary if your application includes activities in other member states where it may take longer to process the application.
The AEO authorisation will take effect on the 5th day after the date of issue.
3.3 Find out what process your application undergoes
On receipt of your application, we will carry out a series of acceptance tests to make sure that you have included all the information we have requested and are eligible to apply. This will be followed by a series of validation tests that will check that you are:
- able to demonstrate an appropriate record of compliance (see section 4)
- able to demonstrate satisfactory systems of managing commercial and, where appropriate, transport records (see section 5)
- financially solvent (see section 6)
- able to meet the competence or professional qualification requirement if you are applying for a customs simplification AEO (see section 7)
- compliant in respect of security and safety standards if you are applying for a security and safety AEO authorisation (see section 8)
3.4 Find out how the acceptance and validation system works
Initially, your application will undergo various tests to ensure, amongst other things, that the application is being made in the correct EU member state, the application has been made by the correct person, and so on.
Once the application has been accepted we will write to you informing you of this. Your application will then undergo a series of validation tests designed to ensure that the information you have provided is correct.
The application will then be passed to an HMRC officer who will visit your premises and carry out an authorisation audit. Once this has been finalised, the visiting officer will make a recommendation to the AEO Central Site. You will be informed of the outcome of your application within the time limits referred to in paragraph 3.2.
3.5 Find out what happens if your application is not accepted
It depends at what stage in the authorisation process the application is not accepted and the reasons for that decision.
We will not accept receipt of applications:
a) which are incomplete
It will be returned to you. You may then resubmit the application with the complete information.
b) where it has been submitted to the wrong member state
It will be returned to you with instructions on where to submit the application.
c) where the application has not been made by a legal person
It will be returned and can only be resubmitted by the correct person (see paragraph 2.5)
d) where no responsible person is nominated
Every application must contain details of a responsible person. This person will be the point of contact for HMRC within the applicant’s business. The application can only be resubmitted when a person has been nominated.
e) where the applicant is not established in the UK or EU
All applicants for AEO must be established in the UK or EU (except where specific conditions apply – see paragraph 2.6). Where they are not, the application will be returned and may not be resubmitted.
f) where the application is for anything other than a single legal entity
The application will be returned and cannot be re-submitted until the situation is resolved.
g) where the applicant has been convicted of a serious criminal offence linked to the economic activity of your business
The application will be returned and may not be resubmitted until the conviction is spent.
h) where the applicant is subject to bankruptcy proceedings at the time the application is made
The application will be returned and may be resubmitted when the situation is resolved.
i) where the applicant uses a legal representative for customs purposes and that representative has been convicted of a serious criminal offence related to infringements of the customs rules in their capacity as a legal representative
The application will be returned and may not be resubmitted until the conviction is spent or when it is established that the person is no longer a legal representative of the applicant.
j) where a previously issued AEO authorisation has been revoked
The application will be returned and may not be resubmitted until 3 years after the date of revocation.
3.6 Find out what happens if your application is rejected
Where the application is rejected, either at the validation stage or after the AEO audit (see section 10) because you cannot satisfy all the criteria for AEO, you will not be granted AEO status. We will advise you of the criteria that have not been met and give you time to adapt your procedures to meet any deficiency. If you are unable to make the required changes within the specified time limits, we will issue a decision to reject your AEO application, explaining the reasons for rejection. This decision will be subject to your right of appeal (see section 12).
3.7 Find what happens if you need to provide more information or address specific issues after the application has been accepted
Paragraph 3.2 lays down the time limits within which we must give you a decision on your application. In exceptional cases, this time period may be extended by stopping the accreditation process in order for you to provide additional information or to permit minor problems in your application to be addressed. ‘Stopping the clock’ will only happen when you and HMRC agree to it. The period will not be unlimited (normally no longer than 6 months) and you will be informed in writing of the date when the accreditation process will recommence and the revised date by which you can expect a decision on your application.
The period during which the clock is stopped does not count towards the 120/180 day limit within which we must give you a decision on your application.
This section tells you about the conditions you must meet and the tests that HMRC will carry out to ensure that you comply with the compliance criteria of AEO.
4.1 Find out how HMRC decides whether or not you have an appropriate level of compliance
We will examine your record of compliance with customs and tax requirements, including:
- Customs Duty
- Excise Duty
- National Insurance
- Corporation Tax
over the last 3 years preceding the date of your application.
If you have been established for less than 3 years, your compliance will be judged on the basis of records and information that are available.
We will assess whether a serious infringement or repeated infringements of customs rules have been committed by any of the following persons:
- the applicant
- any other responsible person involved in the running of the business (see paragraph 4.5)
We will take into account any customs authorisations that have been withdrawn or revoked and the reasons for that withdrawal/revocation.
You will also need to demonstrate that you have:
- procedures in place to identify and disclose any irregularities or errors to HMRC or, where appropriate, other regulatory bodies
- taken the appropriate remedial action when irregularities or errors are identified
- satisfactory procedures for handling controlled goods for example, military goods or technology, dual use goods, excise or CAP goods, dangerous goods or hazardous materials
4.2 Find out if all errors count against your application
HMRC recognises that all businesses can make errors. If you have made errors over the past 3 years in your customs or tax affairs and we consider those errors to be of a technical nature being of negligible importance and having no significant impact on the operation of customs rules, your record of compliance with customs matters or tax requirements can be considered satisfactory.
In making this assessment, we will take into account the frequency of any errors, whether they are material in relation to the size of the business, whether they were made in good faith and whether any intent or negligence is involved.
4.3 Find out what types of errors would be seen as having ‘no significant impact’
It is not possible to give definitive information on what types of errors would be considered as having no significant impact on the customs rules as circumstances differ from case to case but the following examples would not normally count against an application:
- any errors that have been voluntarily disclosed
- any decisions which have been overturned by tribunal or departmental review
- any decisions currently under review
- one-off debts incurred for non-compliance with a condition or obligation of authorisation
- where a civil penalty has been issued for a minor irregularity
4.4 Find out what happens if repeated errors have been made
Once an error has been identified, you will have been expected to take steps to ensure that they do not happen again or, at least, to ensure that they are immediately remedied if they do arise. Failure to take such steps could count against your application.
4.5 Find out who the responsible persons involved in the running of the business are
Besides assessing the compliance of the business itself, HMRC may also look at the previous compliance records of the following persons:
- company directors
- the company secretary
- solicitors and lawyers directly employed by the applicant
- those directly responsible for the import/export of goods
4.6 Find out if errors made by agents are taken into account
Any errors made by third parties acting on your behalf reflect upon you.
It is important that any third parties that do act on your behalf are aware of the standards that you operate to, that they are given clear instructions and that systems are in place so that any problems are immediately identified.
4.7 Find out if your (re) exports are ‘ex-works’ – and if this can impact on your application
Many businesses, especially those using inward processing or customs warehousing, are involved in ‘ex-works’ contracts by which the third country customer collects the goods and makes all the arrangements for re-export. You must ensure through your contractual arrangements with your customers that these customers follow your standards and are aware of any customs requirements relating to export/re-export. You must also be aware that errors made by them may reflect on your compliance record.
5. Managing commercial and (where appropriate) transport records
This section tells you about the conditions you must meet and the tests that HMRC will carry out to ensure that you comply with the record keeping criteria of AEO.
5.1 Find out how HMRC decides whether management and record keeping systems are satisfactory
We will look at your business and, having taken into account various factors (such as size and complexity of the business, what type of authorisation is being applied for and if any customs authorisations are currently held), establish if you have a satisfactory system of managing commercial and, where appropriate, transport records.
5.2 Find out what kind of records HMRC will be expecting to see
In order to satisfy HMRC that you have a satisfactory system, you will need to:
- maintain an accounting system which is consistent with generally accepted accounting principles and which provides a full audit trail of your customs activities which facilitate audit-based customs control
- allow HMRC physical or electronic access to your customs and, where appropriate, transport records
- have a logistical system which distinguishes between Union and non Union goods (not applicable in the case of security and safety AEO authorisations)
- have an administrative organisation which corresponds to the type and size of business and documented procedures to control and manage the flow of goods
- have internal controls capable of detecting illegal or irregular transactions
- have satisfactory procedures in place for the handling of licences and authorisations connected to commercial policy measures or to trade, where applicable, in agricultural products
- have satisfactory procedures in place to archive and retrieve your records and information, and also for protection against the loss of information
- ensure that employees are made aware of the need to inform the customs authorities whenever compliance difficulties are discovered and establish suitable contacts to inform the customs authorities of such occurrences
- where appropriate, have satisfactory procedures for verifying the accuracy of customs declarations submitted on your behalf by third parties
- have appropriate information technology security measures in place to protect your computer system from unauthorised intrusion and to secure your documentation
6. Financial solvency
This section tells you about the conditions you must meet and the tests that HMRC will carry out to ensure that you comply with the financial solvency criteria of AEO.
6.1 What the AEO solvency requirements are
The solvency requirements can be met if you can prove you have been solvent for the 3 years preceding the date of application.
In the context of AEO, EU law defines solvency as good financial standing which is sufficient to fulfil the commitments of the applicant with due regard to the characteristics of the type of business involved.
6.2 Find out how HMRC decides whether you satisfy the requirement for financial solvency
Solvency will be assessed by analysing your ability to pay your legal debts. This includes any debts you owe to HMRC or any other third party. This will be done by checking:
- you are not listed currently as in insolvency, administration, liquidation, bankruptcy or receivership
- you have not entered into a current time to pay agreement
- you have not had a bailiff visit in the past 3 years
- you have not had a claim against your deferment guarantee in the last 3 years
- whether you are late in paying money that is legally due to HMRC in the last 3 years – this does not include amounts that are not yet legally due or are under appeal
6.3 Find out what records HMRC will look at
We will rely on your full sets of annual accounts due in the last 3 years to establish whether you are able to pay your legal debts to third parties. In particular we will take into account:
- where required by company law, that the accounts have been filed with Companies House within the time limits laid down within the law
- if you are a company, any audit qualifications or comments in the filed annual accounts about the continuation of the business as a going concern by, for example, the auditors or directors
- any contingent liabilities or provisions
- the net current assets are positive
- the net assets position and the extent of intangible assets are included
We recognise in some circumstances it may be normal practice for a company to have negative net assets. For example, a company may be set up by a parent company for research and development purposes when the liabilities are funded by a loan from the parent or from a financial institution. In these circumstances, negative net assets will not necessarily be seen as an indicator that a business is unable to pay their legal debts but further evidence of solvency will be required such as:
- a letter of undertaking from the lender
- a bank facilities letter
- if you are a sole proprietor or partnership, a list of any personal assets that are used to support the solvency of the business
6.4 Find out how to prove solvency if you are a new business
If you are a newly established business or have just started trading, your financial solvency will be judged on the basis of records and information that are available at the time of application. This will include the latest:
- cash flow figures
- balance sheet
- profit and loss forecasts approved by the directors/partners/sole proprietor
If your business is financed by a loan from another company or by a financial institution, we will require a copy of your business case and the bank facilities letter and evidence that you are operating within your approved overdraft facility.
7. Practical standards of competence or professional qualifications
This section tells you about the conditions you must meet and the tests that HMRC will carry out to ensure that you comply with the practical standard of competence or professional qualifications directly related to your customs activity.
7.1 Find out how HMRC decides if you have the appropriate competences or professional qualifications
We will consider the criterion to have been fulfilled if any of the following conditions are met:
- the applicant or the person in charge of the applicant’s customs matters complies with one of the following practical standards of competence:
- a proven practical experience of a minimum of 3 years in customs matters
- a quality standard concerning matters adopted by a European Standardisation body
- the applicant or the person in charge of the applicant’s customs matters has successfully complete training covering customs legislation consistent with and relevant to the extent of his involvement in customs related activities, provided by any of the following:
- a customs authority of a member state
- an educational; establishment recognised, for the purposes of providing such qualification, by the customs authorities or a body of a member state responsible for professional training
- a professional or trade association recognised by the customs authorities of a member state or accredited in the Customs Union, for the purposes of providing such qualifications
HMRC recognises that the availability of professional qualifications is limited so the focus is likely to be on the demonstration and evidence of practical competence over a previous 3 year period.
If you use a contracted person to complete your customs work, this criteria will be considered met if the contracted person holds AEOC status.
7.2 Find out what HMRC will accept as evidence of practical standards of competence
When considering evidence of a proven practical experience of a minimum of 3 years in customs matters, we will only be looking at the duration of the professional experience. Any compliance will be considered when considering the fulfilment of the compliance criterion (see section 4).
Although not exhaustive, the following are examples of the sort of information we will consider as evidence for the fulfilment of practical standards of competence by the applicant:
- regular customs activities or formalities carried out for a period of at least 3 years – the applicants EORI number on customs declarations or the payment or securing of Customs Duty may provide evidence of this
- holding a customs authorisation and regularly entering goods under that authorisation for at least 3 years
- as a customs broker, evidence that you have been carrying out this service for at least 3 years could be established through customs declarations and evidence of payment and guarantees
- as a carrier or transporter of goods, the 3 year evidence could be in the form of contracts, bills of lading, air waybills etc
This evidence can be provided by the applicant or the person in charge of the applicant’s customs matters such as the manager of the applicant’s import and/or export office. In this case, the person must be employed within the business and not acting as a customs agent or representative. Where more than one employee is in charge of the customs activities, the condition has to be met by all the employees in charge.
7.3 Find out what happens if you are unable to meet the minimum 3 year requirement
If your business has been established for less than 3 years as a result of a company reorganisation, we will consider the customs activities carried out by the previous company provided that the activities are consistent.
If an employer in charge of customs matters has been employed by you for less than 3 years, we will accept evidence of similar previous employment with another business.
7.4 See if you can use a customs agent or freight forwarder
If you use a direct or indirect representative such as an agent or freight forwarder for your customs formalities, you will need to ensure that knowledge and competencies required to provide the service are consistent throughout the contracted period. Although it is possible to outsource the customs activity, the responsibility remains with the applicant.
To meet the minimum of 3 years experience we will need to see contracts or agreements between you and the agent/freight forwarder that states the customs operations and responsibilities they have performed on your behalf during the past 3 years.
If you have not used the services of the agent or freight forwarder for a minimum of 3 years, we will need to see evidence that they have an authorisation for customs simplification and/or have carried out customs formalities over the last 3 years.
We will consider the criterion of ‘practical standers of competence’ to be met if your agent or freight forwarder holds an AEOC status.
If you use more than one agent and/or freight forwarder for your customs activities, the criterion will have to be fulfilled by all of them.
It is sufficient to demonstrate that either you, your employee in charge of customs matters or a contracted agent or freight forwarder fulfil the criterion.
7.5 Find out what a quality standard concerning customs matters adopted by a European Standardisation body is
Quality standards applicable to customs matters have yet to be developed by the competent European Standardisation Body so it is not currently possible to meet this requirement in order to fulfil the criterion.
7.6 Find out what HMRC will accept as evidence of the completion of recognised training in customs matters
HMRC do not provide customs training or recognise a professional or trade association for the purposes of providing customs qualifications. Only limited recognised professional training is available in many EU member states so an economic operator can utilise relevant professional training provided by any EU member state.
A valid certificate issued by one of the accepted training providers to a trainee for the successful completion of a relevant course will be acceptable evidence to fulfil this criterion. The qualification must be held by the applicant or the person in charge of the applicant’s customs matters.
8. Security and safety
This section tells you about the conditions you must meet and the tests that HMRC will carry out to ensure that you comply with the security and safety criteria of AEO.
8.1 Find out how HMRC decides whether you are compliant in respect of security and safety standards
We will consider your internal controls and measures to secure the safety of your business and your supply chain. These controls and measures are in addition to legal health and safety requirements as well as any specific legal requirements that may be applicable to your business.
8.2 Find out what controls and measures should be in place
In order to satisfy the requirements of AEO authorisation, you will need to show that:
- you or a qualified third party have carried out a security and safety assessment of your business – see paragraph 8.4
- the external boundaries (walls, fences, etc) of your business are appropriately secure and you have documented procedures to control access to your premises for authorised persons while at the same time having procedures for dealing with unauthorised access
- measures are in place to protect your cargo units and to prevent the introduction, exchange or loss of any material or tampering with those units
- appropriate access controls are in place to prevent unauthorised access to shipping areas, loading docks and cargo areas both on arrival and despatch
- you have appropriate procedures to secure the safety of your goods during storage or manufacture
- there are appropriate procedures in place to ensure the security and safety of your goods during transport, including where transport is sub-contracted to a third party
- you have agreed appropriate security and safety measures with your suppliers
- procedures are in place to carry out security screening on prospective employees working in security sensitive positions and appropriate security procedures are in place for any contracted parties that have access to your premises – see paragraph 8.5
- you provide your staff with training on security and safety requirements
8.3 Find out how to show that the controls and measures are in place
You must be able to produce documentation showing the measures and controls put in place and this documentation will be verified during the course of our AEO audit. This should include a risk and security and safety assessment which should be available and understood by all relevant staff. In addition to documentary evidence, the visiting audit officer will need to see practical examples of the systems working.
8.4 Find out who should carry out a security and safety self assessment review
A self assessment should be carried out by a person with extensive knowledge of the risks and threats applicable to your type of business. This may be an independent third party or someone within the business but they must be considered competent to carry out the assessment.
The assessment itself will have resulted in a detailed report with all risks and threats highlighted. The content of the report will vary from business to business but it will be expected to contain details of the appropriate areas identified in paragraph 8.2 and the measures taken to address the identified risks.
8.5 Find out what screening to carry out on prospective staff
All staff that work in sensitive areas within a business should be subject to some form of pre-employment screening to provide assurance as to their trustworthiness, integrity and reliability.
The methods of screening may vary according to the level of risk but they should as a minimum:
- verify identity
- confirm the right to work in the UK
- confirm the employee has declared any unspent criminal records
- check previous employment history
All AEO applicants should have a documented employment history of their staff. It is suggested that this history should cover the previous 5 years but this period is not mandatory.
8.6 Find out if you need to screen your staff if you use an employment agency
Not directly, but you should only use agencies that abide by The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (Statutory Instrument 2003 No 3319). In addition, any agency you use should be aware of your security and safety policy and, where appropriate, carry out any additional checks you require taking into account the sensitive nature of the post being filled.
If, exceptionally, you need to employ temporary staff and they are not screened, you must have measures in place (body searches, supervision, restricted access, etc) to manage the risk.
This section gives you information on how other accreditations you may hold affect your AEO application.
9.1 Find out what extent HMRC will rely on regulated agent requirements to satisfy the criteria for the security and safety AEO authorisation
If you are a:
- regulated agent
- known consignor (air)
- International ship and port facility security (ISPS) (maritime)
- secure operator
which are regulated by the Department for Transport, the criteria for the issue of a security and safety authorisation are deemed to be met for those areas which are covered by that status. A list of Regulated Agents approved by the Department for Transport is held on their website.
9.2 Find out what extent HMRC will rely on existing international trade accreditation schemes to satisfy the criteria for the security and safety AEO authorisation
If you hold:
- an internationally recognised security and/or safety certificate issued on the basis of international conventions
- a relevant International Standard of the international Organisation for standardisation, in particular ISO 28000 and 9001 (although others may also apply)
- a European Standard of the European Standards Organisations
- other internationally recognised security and/or safety certificates issued by organisations such as the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA)
The criteria laid down in these certificates and standards are taken into account to the extent that the criteria for issuing these certificates are identical or correspond to those for issuing AEO authorisations.
If you hold a certificate issued in relation to one of the above and use it to support your AEO application, you will be asked to produce it during the pre authorisation audit together with the associated report made by the independent assessor who approved the certificate. HMRC will take this into account in determining what further checks need to be carried out to verify you meet the AEO criteria.
9.3 Find out what extent HMRC will rely on existing national trade accreditation or self-regulation schemes to satisfy the criteria for the security and safety AEO authorisation
AEO is a status that is recognised across the EU and internationally through mutual recognition. Therefore any national standards, whether they are regulated or self-regulated that are not recognised internationally, cannot be deemed to satisfy the criteria for AEO status.
However, HMRC will examine any relevant national standards and assess the extent to which they are identical or correspond to the AEO criteria. We will then take them into account in assessing the level of checks that we need to carry out to verify the AEO criteria.
9.4 See if there are special rules for airline and shipping companies established in the UK or EU
If you are an airline company established in the UK or EU and you are a regulated agent as referred to in Council Regulation (EC) No 2320/2002 (establishing common rules in the field of civil aviation security) and fulfil the requirements in Commission Regulation 622/2003 (laying down measures for the implementation of common basic standards on aviation security), the criteria for the issue of a security and safety authorisation are deemed to be met for those premises which are covered by the regulated agent status.
If you are an airline or shipping company established in the UK or EU and are the holder of an internationally recognised security and/or safety certificate issued on the basis of international conventions governing the transport sectors concerned, the criteria laid down for the issue of an AEO security and safety authorisation are also deemed to be met to the extent that the criteria are identical or correspond to those for issuing an AEO authorisation.
10. Pre-authorisation audit
10.1 What the pre-authorisation audit is
As mentioned in section 2, once your application has been accepted and validated, it will be sent to one of our local officers who will carry out a pre-authorisation audit. They will visit you at your business premises and carry out checks to ensure that the information you have provided is accurate and to help you address any problems you may have identified when completing the application/questionnaire.
10.2 Find out how long after your application is submitted the audit will take place
The visiting officer will normally receive your application within approximately 30 days of it being accepted and validated by the Central Site. The visiting officer should be in contact with you within 14 days of receiving the application to arrange a convenient date for the visit.
10.3 Find what to do if you do not hear about an audit
Once your application has been accepted the Central Site will write to you (see paragraph 3.4). If, within 45 days of the date of this letter, you have not been contacted by one of our officers to arrange an audit, you should contact the central site immediately – see paragraph 2.8.
10.4 What the visiting officer will want to look at
This will vary from applicant to applicant depending on the size and nature of your business, whether you are a multi-sited or single-sited business, the complexity of your record keeping systems and strength of your internal control systems. You should be prepared to answer questions or provide additional information on all aspects of your application. Where appropriate, the following will normally be covered by the visiting officer:
- information on customs matters
- remedial action taken on previous customs errors
- audit trail
- accounting and logistical systems
- internal controls subject to internal/external audit
- documented procedures for the control of standing data
- flow of goods
- use of customs agents
- information security (computers)
- information security (documents)
- financial solvency
- safety and security assessment
- documented safety/security measures
- physical security
- logistical processes
- storage of goods
- personnel security
See also paragraphs 4.1, 5.2, 6.3, 6.4, 7.1, 7.2, 7.6, 8.2, 8.3 and 9.2.
10.5 Who the visiting officer will wish to meet
The person who was nominated in the application as the point of contact must be available unless unforeseeable circumstances arise. In such cases, you should inform the visiting officer immediately. The officer may wish to rearrange the visit or, alternatively, another appropriate representative may be asked to attend. In addition, individuals responsible for specific business activities such as transport, record keeping and security should also be available. The visiting officer will let you know who should be present when the audit is arranged.
10.6 Find out if the visiting officer will need to visit all of your sites
If all your sites are run in a similar way with standard systems of, for example, record keeping and security, there will be no need for the officer to audit all of them. If you have, say, 10 sites, the officer may wish to visit 2 or 3 of them to satisfy themselves that there is a standard approach across your business. However, if your business covers a range of activities or different sites have different methods of operating, then it may be necessary for more visits to be made.
10.7 How long the audit will take
This depends on the size of your business. A small business may be audited in a day; a large business will take longer. The number of sites and how they operate may also impact on the duration of the audit. The visiting officer will give you an estimate when the audit is arranged. However, this estimate may have to be amended once the audit has commenced.
10.8 Find out what happens after the audit
Once the audit is completed, the visiting officer will prepare their report and make a recommendation to the central site. The contents of the report and the recommendation can be seen by you before it is forwarded to the central site and the visiting officer will give you the opportunity to sign their report but this is not a mandatory requirement.
The central site will officially inform you of the outcome of your application. This decision should be with you within 120 days of the date on which your application was accepted but, in certain circumstances, this period may have to be extended – see paragraph 3.2.
10.9 Find out what happens if your business is named on an application submitted in an EU member state
If HMRC are informed that your business forms part of an application submitted in an EU member state, an audit may be necessary. If an audit or visit is required, you will be contacted by HMRC to make the necessary arrangements.
10.10 Find out how you will get authorisation
If the recommendation to authorise is accepted by the AEO Central Site and no information has been received from other member states that might affect our decision to grant AEO, then the authorisation letter will be sent to you in hard copy. An electronic copy will also be emailed to you, accompanied by the AEO logo.
The logo may be used where it is appropriate to do so for your business, for example, company stationery, signage on vehicles and other publicity materials. The copyright for the logo is owned by the European Commission.
10.11 Find out what to do when you have authorisation
Once you have received your authorisation, it takes 5 days from the date of issue for it to be activated. Following this period, you should enter the authorisation number on all your customs documentation to indicate that you are an AEO authorisation holder.
It is highly recommended that you keep your authorisation letter in a safe place and do not release the authorisation number to anyone unless required to do so for business purposes. Although you can advertise on your website and stationary that you are an AEO authorisation holder, the authorisation number should not form part of your advertising. You may use the AEO logo where appropriate for business purposes such as stationery, literature and lorry signage.
11. Maintaining your AEO status
This section tells you what you must do, once you have obtained AEO status, to ensure that you maintain your eligibility to AEO authorisation.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you maintain the appropriate standards.
11.1 Notification of changes to business details
You must notify us of all changes that may affect your AEO status. This includes:
- changes to your legal entity
- change of business name
- your business address
- the nature and structure of your business
- changes to the senior personnel responsible for customs matters listed in your application/questionnaire
- changes to your accounting or computer systems
- additions or deletions of locations or branches involved in the international supply chain
- additions or deletions to the categories you have been approved for, that is, manufacturer/exporter etc
You should notify the AEO Central Site (see paragraph 2.8) as soon as the change is known or, at the latest, within 14 calendar days of the change taking place.
If your legal entity changes, you may need to reapply for AEO status in the name of the new legal entity. The AEO Central Site (see paragraph 2.8) will advise you if a new application and questionnaire are required.
11.2 Notification of errors to HMRC
If you make customs errors, they must be reported to your local supervising office or, if you do not hold a customs authorisation, errors should be notified to the AEO Central Site.
Errors that are voluntarily disclosed will not impact on your AEO authorisation provided you have:
- examined the reasons for the errors
- taken the appropriate remedial action to prevent a recurrence
11.3 See if HMRC will review your authorisation
We will review your AEO status periodically to ensure you continue to meet the conditions and standards of the AEO status. Although your authorisation has no expiry date, it will only remain valid for as long as you meet the conditions of the authorisation. It is recommended that you continue to self assess your compliance with the conditions of authorisation and action any identified problems as soon as they arise.
We will also review your status if there are major changes to the relevant community customs legislation.
11.4 Find out if HMRC can suspend your AEO status
HMRC (or the issuing customs authority in another member state) may suspend your AEO authorisation in any of the following cases:
- where we have sufficient reason to believe that an act liable to give rise to criminal court proceedings and linked to an infringement of customs rules has been perpetrated
- where non-compliance with the conditions or criteria for the authorisation has been detected and no remedial steps have been taken within 30 days of the non-compliance arising – in certain circumstances, this period can be extended provided that we are satisfied that the difficulties can be overcome within a reasonable period
The decision to suspend the AEO authorisation will apply across the UK and EU. You will be contacted prior to any decision to suspend your authorisation being made. Any decision taken will be subject to your right of appeal (see section 12).
You can also request that your authorisation is suspended if you discover irregularities and need time to correct the situation. We will agree a period of suspension with you in order to address the problem. If necessary, this period can be extended provided that we are satisfied that the difficulties can be overcome within a reasonable period.
When we are satisfied that the problems affecting your authorisation have been satisfactorily resolved, we will write to you advising that the suspension has been withdrawn.
If your authorisation is suspended part way through a customs procedure, that procedure will be allowed to continue to its conclusion but no new procedure can be started after the suspension has been notified.
11.5 Find out if HMRC can revoke your AEO status
In the following circumstances, your authorisation will be revoked:
- where your authorisation has already been suspended and you fail to take the necessary remedial action to have the suspension withdrawn
- where you have committed serious infringements relating to customs rules and you do not have any further right of appeal
- where you requested that your authorisation is suspended and you fail to take the necessary remedial action to have the suspension withdrawn
- where you request that the authorisation is revoked
The decision to revoke your AEO authorisation will apply across the EU. If your authorisation is revoked, you will not be entitled to reapply for another authorisation for a period of 3 years from the date of revocation. You will be contacted prior to any decision to revoke your authorisation being made. Any decision taken will be subject to your right of appeal (see section 12). Revocation will apply from the day following you being notified.
11.6 Find out if HMRC can partially suspend or partially revoke your AEO status
If you hold both a security and safety and customs simplifications authorisation and the failures listed in paragraphs 11.4 and 11.5 only affect one of your authorisations, we can suspend or revoke that authorisation. For example, we can suspend or revoke the security and safety authorisation if you fail to maintain security and safety standards but retain your customs simplifications AEO authorisation if that authorisation remains unaffected.
11.7 Find out what happens to your other customs authorisations if your AEO authorisation is suspended or revoked
If your AEO authorisation is withdrawn, you will not automatically lose any authorisations (for example, customs warehousing or simplified procedures) that you hold at that time. However, the customs office supervising any authorisations you may hold will be informed of the withdrawal of your AEO authorisation. The supervising office will look at the reasons for the withdrawal of the authorisation and consider whether or not the non-compliance impacts upon your ability to continue to hold the authorisations.
12. What to do if you do not agree with a customs decision
If you do not agree with a decision you can:
- ask for a review by writing back to the decision maker within 30 days of the date of the letter, giving your reasons for disagreeing with the decision
- appeal direct to the tribunal who are independent of HMRC
If you choose to have your case reviewed you can still appeal to the tribunal if you disagree with the outcome.
Read HMRC1: HM Revenue and Customs decisions - what to do if you disagree for further information about reviews and appeals.
13. List of territories inside and outside the EU for Customs Duty and VAT purposes
13.1 Territories inside the EU for Customs Duty and VAT purposes
The customs territory of the EU includes the territorial waters, inland maritime waters and airspace of member states.
|Member state||Alpha code|
|Cyprus (those areas under the control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and including UK Sovereign base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia)||CY|
|Republic of Ireland||IE|
13.2 Territories inside the EU for Customs Duty purposes but not for VAT
Andorra (only Tariff Chapter 25 onwards)
Mount Athos (Agion Poros)
13.3 Territories outside the EU for Customs Duty and VAT purposes
Andorra (Tariff Chapters 1 to 24)
Commune of Campine d’Italia
Commune of Livigno
Cyprus (those areas not under the control of The Government of the Republic of Cyprus)
French overseas territories (other than those listed in paragraph 13.2)
And all other territories not listed in this section.
14. UK AEO contacts
Information can be found on the HMRC AEO GOV.UK page.
The AEO Central Site can be contacted on Telephone: 0300 322 9451
Their address is:
AEO Central Site
Graeme House, Third Floor, East Wing
Central Mail Unit
AEO Policy can be contacted by email: AEOTeam@hmrc.gov.uk.
14.1 List of AEO central sites in other member states
|AEO||Authorised Economic Operator
A party involved in the international movement of goods and approved by a customs administration as complying with the UK and EU supply chain security/customs simplification standards
|Business Partner||All operators in the supply chain that fall between the exporter/manufacturer and the consignor|
|Branch||An office/premises/another location of the company itself that forms part of the company’s total assets and legal entity
A Branch is not an individual legal entity
|C117||AEO application form|
|C117 (notes)||Explanatory notes to the AEO application form|
|C118 (notes)||Explanatory notes to the AEO questionnaire|
|Cargo unit||Containers, tankers, vans, lorries, vehicles, pipelines etc. in which your goods are transported|
|Central site||The HMRC office in Nottingham responsible for the operation of the AEO authorisation process. Each EU member state has a central site|
|CFSP||Customs Freight Simplified Procedures
Simplified procedures for the importation of third country goods including the simplified declaration procedure and local clearance procedure
|Community goods||Goods which are:
(a) entirely obtained or produced in the customs territory of the community, without the addition of goods from third countries or territories that are not part of the customs territory of the community
(b) imported from countries or territories not forming part of the customs territory of the community which have been released for free circulation in a member state
(c) obtained or produced in the customs territory of the community either wholly from those referred to at (b) or partly from (a) and (b)
|C-TPAT||Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism|
|Free circulation||Goods imported from outside the UK and EU are in free circulation within the UK and EU when:
(a) all import formalities have been complied with
(b) all import duties, levies and equivalent charges payable have been paid and have not been fully or partly refunded
Goods that originate in the community are also in free circulation European Community
|HMRC||HM Revenue and Customs|
|ISO||International Standards Organisation|
|Legal entity||This may be a PLC, a LTD company, a partnership or sole proprietor|
|Legal representative||The person or persons responsible for representing the applicant in matters involving customs law. They will be solicitors, lawyers, barristers, etc. who may be either employed directly by the applicant or appointed by the applicant to represent them in legal matters|
|Non community goods||Goods that are not of community origin or imported goods which have not been released to free circulation|
|Parent company||An economic operator which is able to exercise control over another economic operator (subsidiary) directly or indirectly through its subsidiary because one of the following conditions is fulfilled:
it owns exclusively the majority (more than 50%) of the votes of the owners (shareholders):
on the basis of agreements concluded with other owners, owns exclusively the majority of the votes
as the owner of the company, it is entitled to elect and repeal the majority of the leading officers or members of the supervising board
on the basis on the contract concluded with the owners or the founding documents it carries out decisive control over it
|Regulated agent||An agent, freight forwarder or other entity who conducts business with an operator and provides security controls accepted or required by the appropriate authority in respect of cargo, courier and express parcels or mail|
|Subsidiary||An economic operator over which the parent company is able to exercise control. The subsidiary is an individual legal entity registered in the company register|
|Supervising office||The HMRC office responsible for the supervision of an authorisation|
|TAPA||Transported Asset Protection Association
An association of security professionals and related business partners, shippers and logistic service providers who have come together to address supply chain security threats that are prevalent in the high- tech industry and high value consumer product sector
If you have a question about VAT, Excise or Customs Duty, contact imports and exports: general enquiries.
Do you have any comments or suggestions?
If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this notice, write to:
HM Revenue and Customs
Customs and International
10th Floor West
21 Victoria Avenue
Putting things right
If you are not satisfied with our service, let the person dealing with your affairs know what is wrong. We will work as quickly as possible to put things right and settle your complaint. If you are still unhappy, ask for your complaint to be referred to the Complaints Manager.
For more information about our complaints procedures go to Complaints and appeals.