Apply to pay less duty on goods you export to process or repair 

When you export goods outside the UK for processing or repair and then re-import them, you can use outward processing to reduce your duty payments.

If you’re authorised to use outward processing, you can get Customs Duty and import VAT reduced on goods that you both:

  • export from outside the UK for process or repair

  • re-import to the UK

Who can apply

You can apply for an outward processing authorisation if you are established in the UK. You do not have to own the goods that are exported, and you do not have to be the person re-importing them. Another person can do that if they have your permission.

You must also:

  • be financially solvent

  • have a good history of compliance with customs requirements

  • have (or be able to keep) appropriate records

You cannot apply if you’re a:

  • freight forwarder

  • fast parcel operator

  • customs agent

What goods you cannot get relief on

You cannot use outward processing for any of the following:

  • where the export results in a repayment or remission of import duty

  • the goods were, prior to export, released to free circulation at an end-use rate but the goods have not been put to an authorised use (other than repair)

  • goods where their export results in an export refund

  • where any other financial advantage under UK Agricultural Policy is obtained by the export of the goods

Before you apply

Before you start the application process, you will need to check if you need:

You will also need to have the following information:

  • your Economic Operator Registration Indicator (EORI) number

  • details of where your records are or will be held

  • how the goods will be sent out (for example by export or post)

  • where the goods will be exported from

  • whether you will be using simplified declarations or not

  • details of any guarantees (if applicable)

  • how long the goods are going to be out of the UK

  • details of the goods being sent for processing (commodity codes, description, value)

  • the amount of goods you are going to export

  • details of the process to be carried out

You will also need to show the quantity of goods to be re-imported (rate of yield). The rate of yield shows how may products result from the amount of goods exported.

For example:

  • if goods are sent for repair, the rate of yield will be 1:1

  • if 500 yards of material are exported to manufacture 100 dresses, the rate of yield will be 5:1

How to get an authorisation

There are 4 types of authorisation you can get to use outward processing:

  • full

  • retrospective

  • by declaration

  • an authorisation covering Northern Ireland and the EU

Full authorisation

You’ll need a full authorisation if you want to use outward processing regularly.

You should apply at least 30 days before you start exporting.

To apply online for a full authorisation, you need to have a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you don’t have a user ID, you create one when you apply.

If you cannot do this online, you can use the outward processing print and post form.

From 1 January 2021
If you are applying for authorisation in Northern Ireland and Great Britain you will need to fill the form out separately for each.

Retrospective authorisation

You can ask for an authorisation after you have exported the goods.

This is called a retrospective authorisation. You can only apply for it once every 3 years.

You’ll need to have records that show:

  • the goods are eligible, and you have a business need

  • you have followed the outward processing procedure correctly

If we grant the authorisation, you’ll have to amend your declarations and update your records.

To apply online for retrospective authorisation, you need to have a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you don’t have a user ID, you create one when you apply.

If you cannot do this online, you can use the outward processing print and post form.

Authorisation by declaration

This is where we authorise you when we accept your export declaration at the border.

You can only use this type of authorisation when you’re sending goods outside the UK for repair.

You can only use this type of authorisation up to 3 times in a rolling year.

You cannot use this type of authorisation if:

Authorisations covering Northern Ireland and the EU

If you carry out work on your goods over sites in both Northern Ireland and the EU, you can get a single authorisation rather than having one for each site.

You need to apply for this type of authorisation by email:

We’ll need your:

  • name
  • contact email address
  • address of your Northern Ireland operation
  • Economic Operator Registration and Identification number(XI Prefix)

We’ll reply within 5 days and provide a link to the EU Trader Portal where you can access the application form. If your application is successful then, whenever you use your inward processing or outward processing authorisation, you will need to submit INFs through the EU Trader Portal.

After you apply

When we authorise you, you’ll get a letter that sets out the authorisation conditions.

Conditions include things like:

  • paying Customs Duty and other charges

  • keeping detailed records

You should write to the address on your letter if you want your authorisation to be:

  • amended

  • renewed

  • cancelled

Find out what to do when your goods have been processed or repaired.

Other ways to pay less duty or import VAT

Find out more information about other ways to:

Published 20 August 2020
Last updated 11 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated the links to the outward processing print and post form which you should use when applying for full authorisation and retrospective authorisation

  2. This page has been updated because the Brexit transition period has ended.

  3. This page has been updated with information about multi state authorisations in Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.

  4. An online form has been added.

  5. First published.