Customs authorisations during the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find out about temporary changes to customs policy and authorisations to assist businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This guidance was withdrawn on

The changes to customs border processes during coronavirus (COVID-19) no longer apply. Find out about standard customs special procedures.

These changes may affect you if you are authorised or applying to be authorised by customs to:

  • use temporary storage or customs special procedures such as inward processing or customs warehousing
  • use simplified declarations such as entry in your records
  • have a guarantee
  • operate as an Authorised Economic Operator

To help you during the coronavirus (COVID-19) we have temporarily changed customs policy and authorisations, these changes are made on an exceptional basis.

This guidance will be updated when this change ends.

Changes to customs authorisations

If you’re no longer able to comply with a condition of your authorisation because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), you must get permission from your supervising office in HMRC or Border Force to temporarily vary the conditions of your authorisation.

You can apply to temporarily vary the following conditions of your customs approvals:

  • changes to site opening hours
  • the need for staff to be on site in order to carry out a particular function if that function can be completed remotely
  • the specific areas within an approved location in which customs controls must be conducted
  • reducing dwell times to allow quicker permission to progress
  • time limits for bills of discharge and throughput periods for special procedures
  • how to process goods held in temporary storage over 90 days

You can apply to temporarily change your authorisation by emailing your supervising office with the subject ‘COVID-19 customs easement request’.

Applications will be looked at on a case by case basis and may be declined if there are concerns about the impact on customs controls.

Applying for customs authorisations and guarantees

You can temporarily send your postal customs authorisation application by email to: You will need to send your postal application form with an original signature once the coronavirus (COVID-19) controls are lifted.

If you are applying for a customs authorisation to allow you to bring supplies of food, medical and pharmaceuticals you will be given priority during this period and fast-tracked wherever possible.

For businesses authorised to provide Customs Comprehensive Guarantees, we will also accept an electronic copy of your financial guarantee form (CCG2), transit guarantee form (C1146) and Joint Contractual Liability Form. You can send forms by email to:

For businesses in the application process, contact details can be found on correspondence from the approvals team.

Visiting you about your customs authorisation application

We do not need to visit you to confirm your authorisation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

If we need to visit you, for example to continue to comply with international standards for AEO, and it is not possible to conduct that visit, we will contact you to discuss temporarily suspending the process.

We will keep this policy under review as the situation develops to try and ensure any delay in the process does not have any significant impact on your business.

Renewing your existing authorisation

If we are unable to renew your customs authorisation that is due to expire, we will automatically extend your authorisation to ensure you have continuity.

We will let you know if we have granted an automatic extension.

Published 1 April 2020
Last updated 22 April 2020 + show all updates
  1. Welsh translation has been added.

  2. This page has been updated with contact information to send customs authorisations and guarantees forms during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

  3. First published.