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HMRC internal manual

CAP imports

CAP import licences: licence checks

Although CHIEF carries out a basic validation on electronic licences it is strongly recommended that, although written from the paper perspective, officers ensure the following checks are carried out, where applicable, against electronic licences on Route 1 or Route 2 declarations, together with occasional random risk based checks.

Usually only faxed copies of licences will be presented; these should be dealt with as below. Once returned to him, the importer should then present the copy and the original to the UKBA, who will endorse the original.

It is the responsibility of the importer to attribute the licence in Columns 29 and 30.

It is the role of the officer to ensure the attribution is accurate before endorsing the attribution by completing the corresponding boxes within Columns 31 and 32.

Officers must check the following:

Box 4 The licence holder (Box 4, or Box 6 in the case of a transferral), must be the same as the importer. If the holder and importer are not the same, reject the licence and call for production of a valid import licence.
Boxes 7 and 8 Certain import licences are valid only when the goods originate in and/or are imported direct from specified countries. Any such restrictions are shown in Boxes 7 and 8 of the licence. When the goods are declared, the importer must submit, in addition to the licence, evidence of the origin and/or consignment of the goods.
Box 12 The licence is within the period of validity, or has had its period of validity extended by the issuing authority (Box 26). Any extension must include an authenticating stamp from the issuing authority.

The licence may be accepted as valid on the next working day if the last day of validity falls on a:

  • Saturday
  • Sunday, or
  • Public Holiday
If the licence is outside its period of validity do not release the goods unless the importer or his representative can produce a valid alternative licence.    
  Box 15 Shows the narrative description of the goods covered taken from the Tariff. When this is preceded by the phrase ‘Ex’ only that specific narrative description may be accepted.
  Box 16 The commodity code agrees with that entered on the declaration.
  Box 19 and  
Column 29 Box 2 The quantity remaining on the licence is sufficient to cover the quantity being imported. Some licences contain an upward tolerance of 5% allowing for 105% of the amount stated in Box 19 of the licence to be imported (on an electronic licence any tolerance would already be included in the balance). However, this tolerance amount does not usually qualify for any duty reduction offered by the licence. Officers should either call for an additional licence or a separate declaration for any amounts that exceed a tolerance.  
  Box 23 That the issuing authority has properly authenticated the licence with an authenticating stamp. If the authenticity of the licence is in doubt, do not release the consignment until a valid licence is presented.
  Column 29 Box 1 That the balances have been recorded correctly.
  That the licence has not been tampered with Use of correcting fluids is strictly forbidden. If you suspect that the licence has been tampered or altered do not release the goods. The licence should not be returned to the importer but forwarded to the issuing authority with a full report of the circumstances.

If the declaration has been made using a CHIEF duty override (DTY or VCL) the licence, together with the declarant’s calculations, should be checked to ensure that the reason for the override is valid and that the duty is correct. The check should be extended to include the preference document where applicable.