Guidance

Used and unused import and export licences

Tell the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) when you have imported or exported goods on a licence so you can reclaim or forfeit your security.

Your licence has been fully used when you have exported/imported the quantity of goods specified on the licence within:

  • the stated tolerance, if applicable
  • the validity period of the licence

This page tells you what to do if you have imported or exported the quantity of the commodity specified in your licence and want to reclaim your security. It also explains what will happen to your security if you have not fulfilled the commitments in your licence within its validity period.

Import licences

When you import your goods, you must make an import declaration on HMRC’s CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) system. When you make this declaration, it is automatically accredited against your licence. HMRC will forward the attributed licence to RPA. This acts as proof of importation. If you have imported into another member state you will have used a paper licence.

You must return paper licences to RPA or close electronic licences within 2 months of the date that the licence expires, to recover your security.

Different return periods apply to quota licences and are specific to your commodity. You can find out about these in the trader leaflet for your commodity.

Export licences

If you export out of the UK, you must complete an export declaration on CHIEF. When you make this declaration, it is automatically accredited against your licence. HMRC will forward the attributed licence to RPA. If you have exported out of another member state, you will have used a paper licence.

You must return paper licences to RPA within 2 months of the date when the licence expires, to recover your security.

In addition, within 12 months of an export licence expiring you must provide one of these:

  • proof of export from the EU within 60 days of the date of the date of acceptance of the export declaration (unless an exception is allowed and this period is extended) and T5 or proof of arrival/import, as appropriate
  • proof of delivery to a victualling warehouse within 30 days of HMRC’s acceptance of the export declaration and, where the goods must go to a specific destination to release licence security, proof of arrival in that destination

If you use an extract of a licence to export a consignment, you will need to return both the extract and licence to RPA so that the security can be fully released.

Further information

If these conditions are not satisfied, you may forfeit all or some of the security that you have deposited.

You can find the details of the time limits for the return of licences and supporting documents in the Traders guide to importing and exporting CAP goods (PDF, 378KB, 22 pages) .

This also explains how much of your security you may forfeit if you do not fulfil the requirements of your licence.

Guidance for traders: specific commodities

Contact

If you have any general queries about importing or exporting, call the External Trade helpline on 03300 416 500 (open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Relevant regulations

Commission Regulation (EC) No 376/2008 laying down common detailed rules for the application of the system of import and export licences and advance fixing certificates for agricultural products

Commission Regulation (EEC) No 120/89 laying down common detailed rules for the application of export levies and charges on agricultural products

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1454/2007 laying down common rules for establishing a tender procedure for fixing export refunds for certain agricultural products

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1301/2006 laying down common rules for the administration of import tariff quotas for agricultural products managed by a system of import licences

Commission Regulation (EC) No 612/2009 laying down common detailed rules for the application of the system of export refunds on agricultural products

Council Regulation (EEC) no 918/83 setting up a Community system of reliefs from customs duty

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 282/2012 laying down common detailed rules for the application of the system of securities for agricultural products.

Published 31 March 2014
Last updated 4 November 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updated guidance document 'Traders guide to importing and exporting CAP goods (ET1)'.
  2. First published.