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HMRC internal manual

Customs Authorisation and Approval

Introduction to Customs Authorisations and Approvals: Definitions

The following definitions apply to all customs applications:

Authorisation:  Authorisations are granted to economic operators to use customs regimes and procedures.  For example: authority to use simplified declaration procedures.

Approval:  Approval is granted to economic operators for premises designated as locations eligible to perform specific customs operations in.  For example: approved depositories for the storage of personal effects prior to customs clearance being given.

Actual debts: are amounts of customs duty which have become payable, for example: customs duty due on goods released to free circulation. Please see section CAA10020 for details.

Customs regimes: any process or operation for which authority is required from customs to operate.

Central Community Transit Office (CCTO): the office designated in the UK as responsible for the operational management of the Transit procedure.

Days: for the purpose of this guidance all references to ‘days’ refers to calendar days.

National Clearance Hub (NCH):  the centralised office within the UK responsible for the operational management of customs entry processing functions, including completion of pre-clearance documentary controls, co-ordination of pre-clearance physical examinations with Border Force.

National Frontiers Approval Unit (NFAU):  The office within Border Force, responsible for the operational management and issuing of decisions in relation to frontier approvals (such as Temporary Storage facilities associated with the border and (air) port approvals).

Potential debts: relate to amounts of customs duties which may become payable at a later date, for example, customs duties on goods held in duty suspense arrangements. Please see section CAA10030 for details.

Holder of the authorisation:  the economic operator to whom the authorisation or approval is issued and is responsible for compliance with the obligations contained within the Decision.

Simplified Declaration Procedure (SDP): a customs declaration (submitted to the customs authorities) with a reduced data set.

Simplified authorisation: this is an authorisation granted to the economic operator on the basis of a customs declaration through the use of a specific customs procedure code (authorisation by customs declaration, this is only for special procedures excluding transit).

The following definitions are set out in the Union Customs Code (UCC), Council Regulation EU No. 952/13, hereafter referred to as the Code:

Customs declaration: as defined in article 5 (12) of the Code, means the act where by a person indicates, in the prescribed form and manner, a wish to place goods under a given customs procedure.  This may be made orally (for example, merchandise in baggage under the statistical threshold) or in writing (via an entry to CHIEF or by entry in the declarant’s records).



Declarant: as defined in article 5 (15) of the Code, means the person lodging a:

·        Customs declaration or notification (including import, export, re-export)

·        Temporary storage declaration

·        Entry summary declaration

·        Exit summary declaration

in their own name or the person in whose name such a declaration or notification is lodged.

Customs decisions: As defined in article 5(39), ‘decision’ means any act by the customs authorities pertaining to the customs legislation giving a ruling on a particular case, and having legal effects on the person or persons concerned. 

Customs debt: defined in article 5 (18) of the Code means the obligation to pay an amount of import or export duty which applies to the specific goods under the legislation in force. 

This obligation may relate to an actual amount now payable or the potential obligation to pay amounts in the future as a result of the customs procedure to which the goods have been entered.  Please see the definitions of Actual Debts and Potential Debts provided above or section CAA10020 and CAA10030 for more details.

Customs representative: defined in article 5 (6) of the Code, means any person appointed by another person to carry out customs formalities on their behalf. The forms this representation may take is defined in article 18 of the Code.

Customs representatives may act in a direct capacity, the representative acts in the name of and on behalf of another person.

Customs representatives may also act in an ‘indirect’ capacity, in these instances they are acting in their own name but on behalf of another person.  In these instances the indirect representative is jointly and severally liable for any customs debt.

Debtor: defined in article 5 (19) of the Code means any person liable to pay the customs debt.

Customs procedure: defined within article 5(16) as meaning any of the following procedures under which goods may be placed in accordance with the Code:

·        release for free circulation

·        special procedures or

·        export.

Economic Operator: as defined in article 5(5) as a person who, in the course of his or her business, is involved in activities covered by the customs legislation.

Holder of the procedure: as defined in article 5(35), means:

·        the person who lodges the customs declaration, or on whose behalf that declaration is lodged or

·        the person to whom the rights and obligations in respect of a customs procedure have been transferred.

Permanent business establishment: is defined in article 5(32) and means a fixed place of business, where both the necessary human and technical resources are permanently present and through which a person’s customs-related operations are wholly or partly carried out.



Processing operations: defined in article 5(37) as meaning any of the following:

·        the working of goods, including erecting or assembling them or fitting them to other goods

·        the processing of goods

·        the destruction of goods

·        the repair of goods, including restoring them and putting them in order

·        the use of goods which are not to be found in the processed products, but which allow or facilitate the production of those products, even if they are entirely or partially used up in the process (production accessories).

Rate of yield: defined within article 5(38) as meaning the quantity or percentage of processed products obtained from the processing of a given quantity of goods placed under a processing procedure.

Special Procedures: is the collective term applied in the Code (article 210) for the following procedures:

·        Transit, including internal and external transit

·        Storage, comprising of customs warehousing and free zones

·        Specific use, comprising of temporary admissions and end-use

·        Processing, comprising of inward (comprising the former inward processing relief and processing under customs control procedures) and outward processing.

Temporary Storage Declaration: as defined in article 5 (11) of the Code means the act whereby a person informs the customs authorities that the goods are in temporary storage.  This may be notified by, for example, an entry in the temporary storage records or the arrival of a manifest or way bill on an (air) port inventory system.