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 UK 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
  • involved with the movement of goods that originate outside of the UK

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:

Your Temporary Storage area(s) must be marked internally and externally so your goods can be easily identified and located. For all other goods arriving; leaving or being stored at the facility which are not subject to Temporary Storage controls these should also be easily identified.

If you make a change to your approved area or relocate your facility you must contact UK Customs authorities.

You must provide access to suitable office, toilet and car parking facilities to the UK Customs authorities free of charge.

Premises security

Your Temporary Storage facilities must be maintained, secured and in a state of good repair to a standard considered satisfactory to Border Force, this may include:

  • secure walls
  • fencing
  • CCTV
  • premises alarms
  • security guards

You must restrict access to your temporary storage facility areas. Staff must be issued with and wear forms of identification and these must meet Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority standards.

Examination area and facilities

You must have designated customs examination areas that are marked within your facility.

Your customs examination areas must be accessible and not pose a health and safety risk. These areas must all be kept in good condition.

You must provide suitable facilities to the UK Customs authorities to:

  • examine
  • weigh
  • measure
  • sample

You must have equipment available such as:

  • scales
  • forklifts
  • rolling tracks

Weighing equipment should include enough standard weights for testing any weighing machine to full capacity at the approved premises and maintenance.

You must also have specialised handling equipment for sampling and examining particular types of goods, for example, goods under UK agricultural measures or perishables.

Location and size of facility

Your facility must be located in an appropriate place and be the right size for the goods you wish to store. There must be a separate area for hazardous goods if you plan to allow them at your facility.

Ullage Cage

You must have a secure lockable facility for seized or detained goods which has restricted access.

You must maintain a record of when you use your ullage cage and provide this to your local officer when requested.

You may be required by your Local Officer to have an additional cage for the storage of valuable cargo.

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 to check if you 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

You can apply to set up a new temporary storage facility by filling in the form.

temporary storage application form

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Find out how accessible our forms are

After you’ve applied

Site Visit

As part of the approval process we will visit your temporary storage facility. This may be after your authorisation has been granted.

If this visit identifies that your premises is unsuitable your approval will be reviewed.

You must ensure that you continue to operate within the law and comply with the terms and conditions of your approval.

Following approval

You’ll need to demonstrate an economic commercial need for a temporary storage approval and if you cannot demonstrate this, your approval will be reviewed.

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’ve been approved, 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 freight location code. You must also apply for a Customs Declaration Service badge code and password if you input your own entries.

If you’re applying for temporary storage facility approval in Northern Ireland

All Northern Ireland points of entry locations will need to get temporary storage approval and have a digital system in place to present goods to customs and make sure any goods are identified for a check and are not allowed to leave until they’re customs cleared. If you’re operating:

  • the temporary storage model, you’ll need to be inventory linked
  • the pre-lodgement model, you can use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) to do this

Inland temporary storage facilities (external temporary storage facilities) will need to be inventory linked.

Published 3 August 2012
Last updated 1 October 2022 + show all updates
  1. Information about Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) has been removed. You can no longer use CHIEF for import declarations unless you have permission from HMRC.

  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. The date when your premises will need to be inventory-linked if you’re applying for temporary storage facility approval in Great Britain has been changed from 1 July 2021 to 1 January 2022.

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

  5. This page has been updated with information about temporary storage in Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.

  6. The temporary storage application form has been updated.

  7. This page has been updated with information about what you need to apply for a temporary storage facility and a new application form.

  8. This page has been updated with guidance about what you will need to apply for temporary storage authorisation from 1 January 2021.

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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.

  12. Fixing references to specialist guides

  13. First published.