Apply to operate a temporary storage facility

Check if you can operate a facility and meet the conditions to store imported goods temporarily and find out how to apply.

You can store goods you’ve imported from outside the EU temporarily under customs control before you:

This will mean you can defer making a full customs declaration and paying duties and taxes until the end of the goods’ agreed storage period.

You can apply to have your premises approved as a temporary storage facility if you’re a:

  • port or airport operator
  • freight forwarder
  • customs agent
  • warehouse keeper
  • transport company

You must also be:

  • established in the UK or EU
  • involved with the movement of goods that originate outside of the UK and EU

Only an employee or authorised person can run your facility for you.

Conditions for your premises

Your temporary storage facility must be either:

  • within a customs-controlled area near an airport or sea port
  • near an airport or sea port
  • outside of, but linked to, an airport or sea port

Your facility must:

From 1 January 2021
You will not need an inventory linked system in place to become authorised to operate a temporary storage facility, but your premises will need to be inventory linked by 1 July 2021. You will need to have control over your facility and keep effective records until then.

You will not need a customs comprehensive guarantee to be authorised to operate a temporary storage facility in Great Britain unless we tell you one is required.

There are also new rules for movements to temporary storage facilities from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021.

You can contact Border Force National Frontier Approvals Unit by telephone if you have any questions.

Set up a temporary storage facility and customs warehouse in the same place

Your temporary storage facility can be in the same storage area or premises as a customs warehouse.

You must tell both HMRC and Border Force that you’re applying to set up a temporary storage facility and customs warehouse in the same storage area. The same person needs to apply to set up both.

Before you apply

You’ll need a customs comprehensive guarantee to cover any import duties on the goods held in your facility.

You must also link your inventory to HMRC’s systems.

How to apply

To apply to set up a new temporary storage facility or to expand an existing facility, you must register an interest by email with Border Force’s National Frontiers Unit.

Border Force’s National Frontier Approvals Unit
Telephone: 0121 781 7861 or 0121 781 7856
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We’ll send you an application form to fill in.

Filling in and sending the form

You’ll need to give details of:

Post your completed application form to:

National Frontiers Unit
UK Border Force
First Floor Admin Block
Cargo Centre
Birmingham International Airport
B26 3QN

After you’ve applied

Trial approval

We’ll visit your temporary storage facility and make sure it meets the conditions and regulations before we’ll approve it.

This gives us the opportunity to explain the temporary storage procedure in more detail, for example, how to keep records. You’ll be able to ask us about anything you do not understand.

If you meet the standards at this visit, you’ll be given trial approval for a period of 12 months.

During this time, your supervising officer will check the compliance of your facility.

Before the 12-month period ends, we’ll make a follow up visit to make sure that you’re:

  • operating within the law
  • complying with the terms and conditions of your approval

If the visiting officer is satisfied that you meet these conditions, they’ll give you full approval.

Full approval

Part of the assessment before full approval will include you demonstrating an economic commercial need for a temporary storage approval and if you cannot demonstrate this, you’ll not be given approval.

We must be able to supervise and monitor the temporary storage facility without having to introduce administrative arrangements that are out of proportion to the economic need involved.

Once you have full approval, to keep it you must continue to:

  • operate within the law
  • keep fully up to date with legislation
  • continue to comply with the terms and conditions of your approval

You’ll be allocated a shed identifier code and your Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) freight location code. You must also apply for a CHIEF agents badge code and password if you’ll input your own entries to CHIEF.

Published 3 August 2012
Last updated 31 July 2020 + show all updates
  1. This page has been updated with guidance about what you will need to apply for temporary storage authorisation from 1 January 2021.

  2. Information about how to set up a temporary storage facility in a no-deal Brexit, and how to set up a customs warehouse in the same storage premises, has been added.

  3. Information on the main types of storage facilities has been updated.

  4. This guide has been amended to include numerous changes following the introduction of the Union Customs Code (UCC). The guide has also been substantially rewritten to improve style and readability.

  5. Fixing references to specialist guides

  6. First published.