Apply to pay less duty on goods you import for specific uses

Check if you can apply for Authorised Use relief to reduce your payments when you import goods for a specific use. This can include repairs, maintenance or processing.

You can get relief on certain goods you import from outside the UK if they’re used for specific purposes. This can include repairs, maintenance or processing.

Find out about the goods you can get relief on when importing from outside the UK.

Who can apply

To apply for Authorised Use, you’ll need:

If you’re not established in the UK:

  • we’ll consider an application to use inward processing for non-commercial imports
  • you’ll need to be fully authorised
  • but you’re processing the goods or arranging for them to be processed for you

You must also:

  • be financially solvent
  • have a good history of compliance with customs requirements
  • have (or be able to keep) appropriate records

Before you apply

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

You’ll also need to gather this information together before you apply:

  • what you’ll do with the goods
  • where you will carry out processing
  • what goods will be put to Authorised Use
  • how long it will take you to process the goods you import
  • the average rate of yield for each process you carry out
  • how many products you will make from goods you import

You’ll need to work out the amount of goods you want to import over the period of your authorisation.

You’ll need details of:

  • where your records are and what records you keep
  • where you plan to enter and put the goods to Authorised Use
  • others who will be involved in the processing

How to apply

There are 4 types of authorisation you can get for Authorised Use:

  • full authorisation
  • by declaration
  • authorisation covering Northern Ireland and EU
  • retrospective

Full authorisation

Full authorisation means you get:

  • Authorised Use regularly
  • Authorised Use if you import non-commercial goods and you’re not established in the UK
  • a simplified declaration to import or export your goods

You need to have a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you register.

Complete the online form.

You should apply at least one month before you start importing. We’ll need this time to process your application. If we need longer, we’ll contact you with a new date.

If you cannot do this online, you can use the print and post form for full authorisation.

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

Authorisation by declaration

When we accept your customs declaration at the border, this gives you your authorisation.

You can use this type of authorisation up to 3 times in a rolling year for goods valued up to £500,000 for each import.

You must be the person who puts the goods to Authorised Use. You cannot sub-contract to someone to do it on your behalf.

You cannot use authorisation by declaration if:

Retrospective authorisation

You can ask for an authorisation after you’ve imported your goods, even if you’ve already put them to use or exported them. We’ll only authorise you where we’ve not given you a retrospective authorisation in the previous 3 years and you have met the conditions for Authorised Use relief.

You’ll need to send us:

  • a letter saying why you need this type of authorisation
  • a list of imports you want to include in the retrospective period
  • records that show the goods are eligible and you have a business need
  • records that show you have followed the procedure properly

If we grant this authorisation, you’ll have to amend your import declaration and update your records.

You need to have a Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you register.

Apply online for full authorisation.

If you cannot do this online, you can use the print and post form for full authorisation.

Authorisations covering Northern Ireland and EU

In Northern Ireland, Authorised Use is referred to End Use.

You can apply for this if you are established in Northern Ireland and your Authorised Use activities involve premises in Northern Ireland and EU.

You need to request access to the application system by emailing with your:

  • name
  • contact email address
  • address of your Northern Ireland operation
  • EORI number starting XI

We’ll reply within 5 days and provide a link to the EU Trader Portal where you can access the application form.

After you’ve applied

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 more about declaring your goods to Authorised Use or completing Authorised Use.

If your information changes after you’ve applied

We may need to contact you after you apply. This could be to request additional information or to organise a site visit.

If any of your contact details change (for example, your address or telephone number) you must let us know by email or by writing to the address on the acknowledgement letter we sent you.

We may delay or refuse your application if you do not provide all the information we need to complete it.

You should also write to us if there has been a change to your business which may affect your authorisation, such as:

  • changing your trading name
  • being taken over by another business

Other ways to pay less duty or import VAT

Find out more information about other ways to:

Published 20 August 2020
Last updated 25 November 2022 + show all updates
  1. Information about what to do if your contact details change after you've applied has been added.

  2. Information about not being able to make import declarations on the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system from 1 October 2022 has been added.

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

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

  5. An online form has been added.

  6. First published.