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HMRC internal manual

Temporary Storage and Approved Depositories

Approved Depositories (AD): application for approved depository status

National Approved Depository Team (NADT)

The NADT is responsible for the processing and maintenance of all Approved Depository approvals. All new applications and any change requests to existing approvals should be routed to the NADT at the following address in the first instance:

National Approved Depository Team in Cardiff
13th Floor South
Government Buildings
Ty Glas
CF14 5ZN

Phone: 03000 511 048

Email: National Approved Depositories Team, ISBC MAILBOX (ISBC CITEX Operations)

The NADT will:

  • acknowledge the application
  • carry out checks to ensure details on the application are accurate
  • liaise with visiting officers to agree specific approval requirements and conditions
  • issue the approval letter in accordance with the format below
  • send copies of relevant documents for retention in the trader folder retain all original approval documentation including the copy letter signed by the operator

Once approved any further routine compliance action to ensure that the trader is meeting the terms and conditions of approval should include checks on the continued accuracy of the approval, for example has the approved area been moved / expanded / reduced, has the operator changed their name, have they moved premises for example. In the event that changes are identified the trader should be instructed to contact the NADT immediately to arrange for the issue of a revised approval.

Application procedure

Step Action
1 When an initial enquiry is received from trader, respond by referring the trader to Public Notice 199B (Temporary Storage and Approved Depositories) and the National Approved Depository Team
2 If the trader decides he wishes to have his premises authorised as an Approved Depository he must contact the NADT and request an application pack.
3 The completed application must specify the type of goods which are to be stored and if any of the goods referred to in TSAD14200 the special arrangements are proposed to be held in the Approved Depository.
4 On receipt of the completed application the NADT will check the application is correctly completed and carry out preliminary checks using internal Information systems which will reveal whether or not the trader has a good record of compliance with other regimes.
5 Upon receipt of the results of these checks, the ART will refer the application to the trader’s local control officer via the appropriate ECSM Risk Team for a visit. Once the visit is allocated, the visiting officer will arrange a visit to the trader to discuss:
  1. whether or not the terms and conditions listed under the heading Approved Depository Terms and Conditions of Approval below can be met
  2. what level of training / advice would be appropriate, for example is training required relating to personal import reliefs, prohibitions and restrictions, completing clearance request and calculating import charges? Traders calculating charges on general household items, furniture, domestic appliances for example should be advised how to obtain access to the HMRC Tariff
  3. whether premises meet the general provisions for the health and safety of HMRC staff.

The Officer will also:

  1. explain to the operator the type of records required to be kept
  2. consider the physical security requirements employed to prevent loss or damage to the goods, including a secure area for any unmanifested goods
  3. review the plan of the premises submitted specifically the outline of the approved depository area which are marked in red on the plan
  4. if satisfied that approval can be granted they will agree a date for the approval to start.    
      6 If the visiting officer is satisfied that the operator will be able to meet the conditions of approval and agrees that the approval should be granted he must submit a written report to the NADT recommending approval (initially for a 12 months period).
If the visiting officer is not satisfied that the operator will be able to meet the conditions of approval, he must submit a written report to the NADT, explaining that he is recommending rejection of the application and outline the reasons for rejecting the application.    
  7 The NADT will notify the trader accordingly.
  8 Upon receipt of the written report containing the officer’s recommendation to approve, the NADT will ensure the plan of the premises is given an unique reference number which will appear on the plan along with the operator’s signature and that a correctly completed original copy of the Deed of Undertaking signed by the trader is available for retention in the approval file.
  9 The NADT will then send a letter of approval containing a copy of the trader’s Undertaking and the plan to the Approved Depository holder and the traders folder (see below for a specimen approval letter).
  10 The NADT will send an additional copy of the original approval letter to the operator which should be signed and returned by the operator. The operator can not commence operations until this has been done and this document will be retained by the ART in the trader’s local file.
  11 The NADT will update the local approval record
  12 After the interim 12-month period of approval has expired the NADT will review the trader’s compliance levels prior to a decision being taken about the permanent issue of the approval. This approval will expire after five years and the AD Operator must formally re-apply

External Temporary Storage Facilities (ETSF) Approved Depository (AD) Terms and Conditions of Approval

Annex B - Generic Terms and Conditions for the Approval holder of an ETSF (AD)

1. Failure to adhere to any/or part, of the approval terms and conditions and associated terms and conditions with in the associated Annexes of the Approval, may render the Operator liable to Customs Civil Penalty (CCP) action.

Serious or repeated breaches of approval terms and conditions and/or operating or attempting to operate, or collusion with deliberate non compliant activities(s) will also render the Operator to Customs Civil Penalty action, which may also include suspension and/or revocation of their approval. CCP action and/or proven non-compliant activity could also have a detrimental impact upon any economic operators AEO approval.

Use of the facilities to undertake activities that breach current EU Legislation and UK Legislation in respect of the smuggling of prohibited or restricted goods or the evasion of EU or UK revenue by any means will lead to immediate suspension of the ETSF (AD) approval pending further investigation.    
  2. It is the operator’s responsibility to keep fully up to date with current and future legislation and/or procedural changes relating to the legal and operational requirements of Temporary Storage and temporary storage facilities.
The Operator must therefore comply with all relevant provisions of the law (EU & UK) and all relevant requirements, terms and conditions imposed by Customs authorities at all times.    
  3. The Customs authorities may add to, vary or modify any conditions of a Temporary storage approval to ensure that they are in accord with EU/UK legal requirements, and/or to provide additional assurance to the UK custom authorities regarding compliance at a facility by use of Annex F.
  4. In the event of the Operator premises and/or Temporary Storage approved area, or any part thereof, being sold, leased or otherwise disposed of to a third party, the customs authorities shall be advised immediately in writing by the Operator named within the Approval.
An ETSF (AD) approval is not portable or transferrable to any other third party and applies only to the legal entity named within this approval.    
  5. Immediate notice must be given to the Custom Authorities of any change to the Operators financial standing which may impact on their ability to operate the approved ETSF (AD) in accordance with the terms and conditions of this approval, or their commitments to meet any debt that may arise due to unlawful introduction of, or removal of un-cleared goods from the ETSF (AD), or any Customs Debt which may become due.
Failure to inform Customs authorities of any change to the Operators financial standing as above will seriously jeopardise the Operator, associates and affiliates of being provided with any future Temporary storage approval.    
  6. In accordance with Section 25 (3) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 the Operator must allow access to the approved premises at any reasonable time to any officer of the UK Customs authorities and where appropriate other public bodies and/or law enforcement agencies that have legitimate reason for requiring access.
  7. The Operator must provide safe working conditions for all UK Customs authority staff attending the premises including safe means of access to containers and/or vehicles. The working conditions must meet the standards set by the competent safety authorities (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974). The Operator must provide a Health and Safety Risk Assessment specific to the ETSF (AD) premises to the UK Customs authorities on request.
  8. The Operator must provide access to suitable office, toilet and car parking facilities to the UK Customs authorities free of charge.
  9. The Operator must provide suitable facilities to the UK Customs authorities for storing, examining, sampling and clearing goods and for examining vehicles. This must include the provision and maintenance of such equipment as may be reasonably necessary to enable a UK Customs authority Officer to weigh, measure or otherwise take account of goods. Officers may, however, examine and sample goods anywhere within the approved area as they deem necessary.
  10. In the event of there being a change to the approved entity prior notice must be given to the UK Customs authorities.
  11. Premises housing an approved ETSF (AD) or open ETSF (AD) approved areas must be maintained, secured and in a state of good repair to the satisfaction of the UK Customs authorities.
  12. Prior approval must be obtained from the UK Customs authorities for any structural and/or material changes to the approved premises affecting the approved Temporary Storage area, including any plans to move / extend or decrease the approved area in existing premises, and/or re-locate the ETSF (AD) to alternative premises.
  13. The Operator must provide within the approved ETSF (AD) premises a secure, lockable compartment / area [generally referred to as the “ullage cage”] for storage of any un-manifested, prohibited or suspicious goods and/or detained or seized goods subject to UK Customs authority investigation. The structure and condition of the cage must be maintained to a standard adjudged suitable by the UK Customs authorities.

The required size of the ullage cage will be that as agreed by the UK Customs authority at the time of the facilities pre-approval visit but it will need to be proportionate to the size and commercial operation of the facility.

The Operator must maintain a record of use of the ullage cage in the manner detailed by the UK Customs Authority control officer and must ensure there is restricted access to the key(s).    
  14. All ETSF (AD) premises must have adequate company signage on the exterior of the facility to enable UK Customs authority visiting officers or other authorised visitors to easily identify the ETSF (AD) premises.
  15. Approved Temporary Storage area(s) within the ETSF (AD) must be conspicuously marked internally [and externally where appropriate] to enable Temporary Storage goods to be easily identified and located and for all other goods arriving; leaving or being stored at the facility which are not subject to Temporary Storage controls to be easily identified.
  16. The Operator must make suitable arrangements to ensure that access to the ETSF (AD) is given only to those categories of person(s) whose duties necessitate their presence within that specific area.
The Operator must impose suitable checks to preclude unauthorised access and report any evidence of irregularity immediately to the UK Customs authorities.    
  17. The Operator must provide details of the facilities operational opening and closing hours / days to the UK Customs Authority prior to approval.

Prior approval and agreement must be obtained from the UK Customs authorities for any amendment to these agreed operational opening and closing times.

Operating an approved ETSF (AD) outside of these agreed working hours, including the storage of goods off site in unapproved areas whilst awaiting for a facility to open, will constitute a serious breach of approval which will result in Customs Civil Penalty action being taken.    
  18. A record of all visitors, vehicles and staff working at, or visiting, the premises must be maintained by The Operator, in the manner prescribed by the UK Customs authorities. This record must be available for inspection by the UK Customs authorities on request
  19. The approved premises and/or storage area(s) must be physically equipped with a Customs approved IT record keeping / inventory system [referred to as the “ETSF (AD) Stock Account Record”] which must have an associated Anti-Smuggling Net.

This system must be able to, and be used to:

  • provide electronic entry of all Temporary Storage goods entering into the facility [stock account records];
  • provide electronic inventory control of all Temporary Storage goods whilst in the facility;
  • provide an electronic record of all activity relating to Temporary Storage goods, particularly arrival; out-turn; discrepancies; examinations; sampling; movement within the facility; and/ or any other authorised activity;
  • provide electronic notification and receipt of the removal of goods after customs clearance;
  • provide an electronic log of the actual time goods remained within Temporary Storage whilst in the facility; and
  • transmit electronically all customs declarations for cargo in the Temporary Storage area within the appropriate timescales.
Failure to operate the ETSF (AD) Stock Account record in the prescribed manner will constitute a serious breach of this approval which will result in Customs Civil Penalty action being taken.    
  20. The Operator has elected to use [insert CSP / Traders Own System as appropriate] as the ETSF (AD) stock account record, as required at condition 19 above.

The Operator must ensure this system is used in the manner prescribed by the UK Customs authorities, as set out in Annex D for CSP users, by reference to the operational guidance as provided by the CSP provider and/or any other associated guidance as issued by the UK Customs authorities.

Access to the Operators chosen ETSF (AD) Stock Account Record and associated Anti-Smuggling Net, where separate, must be provided to the assigned Border Force Parent Port responsible for the control of goods at the ETSF [as stated in the approval letter] and/or to any other UK Customs authority office requested [e.g. LC-CITEX; LBS; the National Clearance Hub, Salford] where access to the system is required to maintain control of the goods at the ETSF (AD) by the UK Customs authorities.

Failure to deliver; or maintain sufficient delivery; or provide the required access; or maintain the approved record keeping system capability in the prescribed manner will constitute a serious breach of this approval which will result in Customs Civil Penalty action being taken.    
  21. Remote ETSF (AD) management / operations and/or ETSF (AD) Stock Account Record Management of an ETSF (AD) area within a building is not allowed and approved ETSF (AD) premises must be manned and managed by a competent person(s) on behalf of The Operator during the agreed operational opening hours and with the required ETSF (AD) Stock Account Record IT hardware also being in residence.
Where approval is for an open area; silo; tank etc the management of these areas and IT systems may be operated remotely to that area as long as they are within a suitable building within close proximity to the open area / silo / storage tanks etc and as agreed by the UK Customs Authority.    
  22. The Operator must introduce and maintain a housekeeping programme on the ETSF (AD) Stock Account Record in order to ensure that each consignment and inventory record has been correctly identified and accounted for in order to avoid significant numbers of outstanding records. This includes the correct discharge of all transit movements into and out of the facility.
Failure to conduct regular housekeeping of the stock account record will constitute a serious breach of this approval which will result in Customs Civil Penalty action being taken.    
  23. Only personal and household goods are to be authorised and permitted to be deposited in the ETSF (AD) they must, on removal from the Frontier Transit Shed be taken immediately to the receiving facility without alteration, diminution or interference or unauthorized stop-over of the vehicle, and within the timescales provided for by the type of movement of the goods used.
Except where it is allowed in accordance with EU Implementing Regulation 2447/2015 Article 296 failure to immediately remove goods to the ETSF (AD) or seeking / gaining access to the goods whilst they are travelling to a facility, or any unauthorized stop over of the vehicle will constitute a serious breach of this approval which will result in Customs Civil Penalty action being taken.    
  24. All movement of goods; vehicles and/or containers entering the ETSF (AD) must be fully controlled and documented and, where appropriate, Transit declarations must be made and/or discharged correctly and within the appropriate time scales.
  25. Any consignments arriving at the ETSF (AD) premises consisting of high duty goods, e.g. spirits, wine, cigarettes etc, must be immediately notified to the UK Customs authorities.
  26. The Operator must record details of all goods upon their arrival at the Temporary Storage facility into the ETSF (AD) Stock Account Record. This also applies to all goods declared and moved within the temporary storage approval to / from the ETSF (AD). Upon request, The Operator must provide information from that record to the UK Customs authorities within ten (10) working days when requested to.
Failure to abide by this condition will constitute a serious breach of this approval which will result in Customs Civil Penalty action being taken.    
  27. There are strict limitations on the operations that may be carried out on goods in Temporary Storage. The Operator must ensure that Temporary Storage goods shall not in any manner be interfered with (including de-consolidation), altered, unpacked or otherwise interfered with nor removed from the facility without explicit permission from the UK Customs authorities, except where this is allowed for under UCC Regulation 952/2013, Articles 147.2 and/or 140.2.

Only minimal operations necessary to preserve the goods in an unaltered state may therefore be carried out and The Operator should contact the UK Customs Authority control officer if there are any doubts about what operations may be carried out on goods in Temporary Storage.

Failure to abide by this condition will constitute a serious breach of this approval which will result in Customs Civil Penalty action being taken.    
  28 Goods under Temporary Storage control MUST ONLY be stored within the approved, designated area of the facility (as detailed on the ETSF (AD) premises plan at Annex A to this approval) and the exact location of the goods should be easily identifiable from The Operators internal company documentation and the ETSF (AD) Stock Account Record and by the physical signage in the ETSF (AD).
No other status goods may be stored within the approved Temporary Storage area.    
  29. The Operator must ensure that all poisonous and hazardous / dangerous goods are clearly marked and are segregated appropriately from all other goods in the ETSF (AD) premises.
  30. The Operator must ensure that all goods deposited in the ETSF (AD) are assigned to a customs procedure or use within the prescribed time scales from their physical arrival into the facility and entry onto the ETSF (AD) Stock Account Record, by the method(s) agreed with the UK Customs authorities.
The Operator shall provide the UK Customs authorities with a written explanation as to why any Temporary Storage goods have not been entered to Home use within the time limits which are in [legal] force at that time, for all goods which exceed those time limits in force.    
  31. Any removal of Temporary Storage goods from the ETSF (AD) to other External or Internal Temporary Storage Facilities must be in accordance with the agreed removal procedures as stated in the Annexes to this approval.

The exact procedures to use will be dependent upon the type of approval held by the sending and the receiving ETSF (AD)/ITSF, the IT Inventory System in use at the facilities and the method used to undertake the movement.

Removal from the ETSF (AD) of goods which remain Non Union goods shall be restricted to being placed in secure containers or vehicles, locked and/or sealed at the point of departure and such containers or vehicles can only be removed when secured to the satisfaction of, and with the authority of, the proper UK Customs authority control officer.    
  32. When requested by the UK Customs authorities The Operator must produce any Temporary Storage goods deposited in the facility selected for customs examination and/or sampling purposes.

The Operator must provide samples of such goods, free of charge if requested to do so.

Personal and household goods selected for examination must be placed in the agreed examination area by The Operator.

The Operator must ensure the appropriate UK Customs authority officer is aware that goods are ready for examination and The Operator should provide sufficient staff to unpack and re-pack goods throughout the duration of the examination.    
  33. Any opening; unpacking; weighing; measuring; repacking; bulking; sorting; lotting; marking; numbering; loading; unloading; carrying or landing of goods or their containers for the purpose of [or incidental to] the examination of goods by the UK Customs authorities and any facilities or assistance required for any such examination, shall be provided by, and at the expense of, the Declarant and/or his appointed representative.
  34. Personal or household goods can not be Customs cleared and/or released to another customs procedure or re-exported before the goods have physically arrived at the facility, have been checked and entered into the ETSF (AD) Stock Account Record as having been properly accounted for in accordance with these terms & conditions and all Transit movements have been discharged correctly.
Failure to physically deliver the goods into the ETSF (AD), check and enter them onto the ETSF (AD) Stock Account Record, and/or declare them to a customs procedure or use before the goods physical arrival into the facility will constitute a serious breach of this approval which will result in Customs Civil Penalty action being taken.    
  35. The Operator must not allow removal of any goods from the ETSF (AD) until they have received permission from Customs Authorities.
The removal of goods prior to permission from Customs authorities will constitute a serious breach of this approval which will result in Customs Civil Penalty action being taken.    
  36. The UK Customs authorities may require additional and/or alternative evidence of goods clearance status, such as a Display Entry Version Detail (DEVD) print from CHIEF, Transit Accompanying Documents (TADS) for NCTS or temporary storage declarations where goods have evidence of EU status, which must be supplied to the UK Customs authorities on request.
  37. The Operator must supply the person(s) removing any goods from the ETSF (AD) with a hard copy of the relevant goods release note; systems authenticated removal authority, or have means to provide confirmation of the authenticated removal authority when sent in another approved electronic message format.
  38. The Operator must ensure that all customs cleared goods are removed from the Temporary Storage approved area of the facility as soon as possible, but not exceeding three [3] days from the date of customs clearance, to an appropriate area in the facility whilst awaiting their pick up for onward delivery.
The Operator shall provide their UK Customs authority control officer with a written explanation as to why goods have not been removed from the Temporary Storage area of the facility on customs clearance within the three day maximum, or other agreed, time limit.    
  39. The Operator must keep records and accounts of all imported and re-exported temporary storage goods activity, including customs entry and clearance / removal documentation, for a minimum of four (4) years after finalisation of the customs procedures for those goods as stated in The Customs Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1995, Reg 9.

Records must be kept for each and every consignment received into the approved facility, which should contain, at minimum, details of the:

  • Delivery date and exact time of delivery plus hauliers name and vehicle registration details;
  • Shipping agents manifest
  • Approved CSP inventory system manifest [where applicable] detailing the consignment reference as completed by the person who unloaded the container / trailer
  • Approved inventory system out-turn report showing any discrepancies
  • Transit documentation / details
  • Customs entry details
  • Customs clearance advice
  • Gate pass showing the date and time of collection, along with the hauliers name and vehicle registration details
  • Location and particulars of any movements
  • A reference to who has the guarantee for the goods whilst moving between temporary storage facilities and
  • A reference to the number of days left of the time limit of goods held in storage.

The Operator must produce records and accounts [or provide easy access to them where records are maintained and archived in an electronic format] to the UK Customs authorities when and where required - Finance Act 1994, s23 refers.

Any act of tampering with, or falsifying documents and/or electronic records relating to ETSF (AD) records will constitute a serious breach of this approval which will result in Customs Civil Penalty action being taken.    
  40. A variety of imported goods must have checks carried out on them at their place of importation into the UK before the relevant authority (for example the Official Veterinary Officer) will permit them to be removed out of the [air]port of importation.

The Operator must not therefore remove controlled goods from the frontier which require specific clearance at the frontier, to an ETSF (AD) unless the goods have the appropriate documentation, or in the case of goods subject to plant health, horticultural or timber controls which can be carried out inland, The Operators premises have been specifically approved by the appropriate UK regulatory body for inland examinations.

For more detailed information regarding controlled goods, please see Annex G to this approval.

List of annexes within the External Temporary Storage Facility approval

A. Plan of the premises
B. Generic terms and conditions (as above)
C. Transit requirements
D. Stock Account record
E. Financial Security
F. Additional specific terms and conditions for delivery partners to impose
G. Prohibitions and restrictions, additional controls required by other government agencies
I. Additional terms and conditions for Plant Health/Conformity examinations
X. Exemptions to specific terms and conditions

Annex F

Within the ETSF terms and conditions Annex F is for local Supervising Officers to apply additional terms and conditions, these must be approved by the NFAU and signed up to by the Operator. These exemptions can only apply where an ETSF Operators commercial operation and/or capability require it and where those operations are consistent with EU/UK legislation and BF/HMRC policies.

On the initial provisional approval Supervising Officers can implement additional terms and conditions to assist traders who fall short on one or more of the operating requirements which can be rectified in a short time scale and is not an issue regarding compliance.

When an operator has a full approval Annex F can be used to record areas of non compliance, it will provide flexibility in allowing the Operator to rectify the situation. Annex F must always be used to record instances where CCP and/or C18 action has taken place.

Annex F will form an audit record of issues discovered, the agreed solution and time scale required to rectify the situation and the consequences of not meeting those time scales.

Failure to deliver the agreed solution can lead to further CCP action being taken if the Operator remains non compliant. Where a situation demands, failure of an ETSF Operator to comply with any additional conditions and/or serial repeat offences can lead to revocation of the approval.

Annex X

Annex X has been introduced to allow certain exemptions to specific terms and conditions of the generic Annexes but these exemptions can only apply where an ETSF Operators commercial operation and/or capability require it and where those operations are consistent with EU/UK legislation and BF/HMRC policies.

The NFAU will maintain a register of Annex F and X usage and will provide generic wording where necessary to provide conformity across all ETSF Annexe usage.

Annex F and X are not to be used for any kind of trader facilitation that is against EU and UK legislation.

External Temporary Storage Facility (ETSF) (AD) Approval:

Annex X - Exemptions to Specific Term(s) and Condition(s) of this ETSF (AD) generic approval.

Exemptions can only apply where an ETSF (AD) Operators commercial operation and/or capability and/or where allowed for in EU and UK legislation, dictates that they are not required to be formally bound by those specific term(s) and/or condition(s) as detailed below.

The ETSF (AD) Operator as named in this ETSF (AD) approval is therefore exempted from the following generic term(s) and/or condition(s), either in whole or in part, of this ETSF (AD) approval and where appropriate is subject to the replacement term and/or condition replacing it, in part or in whole, as detailed below.

Annexe T&C No. Reason For Exemption Applied Replacement Term or Condition where appropriate  
  B 19 CSP records  
  B 20 CSP records  
  C 6 Simplified transit  

Approved Depositories: trader’s financial security

Further information and details of the format for a Deed of Undertaking can be obtained from the NADT on:

Phone: 03000 511 048

Email: National Approved Depositories Team, ISBC MAILBOX (ISBC CITEX Operations)