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Here you find a glossary of all relevant terms and explanations used by economical operators. Jump directly to the section starting with:


A Top

Approved exporter (export procedure)

A person who has been authorised to use the local clearance procedure for exports, i.e. he places the goods under the procedure by entry in his records and notifies the customs authorities of the removal of the goods from his premises in the manner specified in the authorisation (Arts 283-289 CCIP)

ATA carnet

Customs document used for the temporary exportation, transit and temporary exportation, transit and temporary admission of goods for specific purpose, e.g. for displays, exhibitions and fairs as professional equipment and as commercial samples.

Authorised consignee

A person who has been authorised to receive at his premises or at any other specified place goods under a transit procedure without presenting them and the transit declaration at the office of destination.

Authorised consignor

A person who has been authorised to carry out transit operations without presenting the goods and the transit declaration at the office of departure.


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Common Transit

This procedure is used for the movement of goods between the 27 EU Member States and the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland). It is based on the Convention of 20 May 1987 on a common transit procedure. The rules are effectively identical to those of Community transit.

Community Customs Code

The provisions of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 and subsequent amendments

Community Transit

This procedure is used for customs transit operations between the EU Member States (and Andorra and San Marino) and is in general applicable to the movement of non-Community goods for which customs duties and other charges at import are at stake, and of Community goods, which, between their point of departure and point of destination in the EU, have to pass through the territory of a third country. The rules are set out in the Community Customs Code.

CPD carnet

Document facilitating transit and temporary importation of means of transport by serving both as a customs declaration and authorisation as well as guarantee in countries that are a contracting party to the Istanbul Convention (OJ 1993 No L 130 p. 12)

Customs Code

Council Regulation 2913/92/EEC

Customs controls

Acts performed by the customs authorities of the Member States with a view to ensuring that the customs rules and other applicable trade provisions are observed, such as examining goods, documents or accounts, or carrying out inquiries (Arts 4 (14), 13, 68, 78 (2) CC)

Customs debt

The obligation on a person to pay import or export duties under the provisions of the Community Customs Code and the Common Customs Tariff

Customs declaration

The act whereby a person indicates the wish to place goods under one of the customs procedures provided for by the Community Customs Code (Arts 4 (17), 59 - 78 CC)

Customs procedure

The Community Customs Code provides for 8 customs procedures: release for free circulation, transit, customs warehousing, inward processing, processing under customs control, temporary importation, outward processing, and exportation (Art. 4 (16) CC)

Customs procedures with economic impact

The following customs procedures require an authorisation and in some situations an evaluation of their economic impact (Art. 84 (1) (b) CC):

  • customs warehousing,
  • inward processing,
  • processing under customs control,
  • temporary importation,
  • outward processing.

Customs territory of the Community

The customs territory of the Community comprises of the territory of:

  • Belgium,
  • Bulgaria,
  • the Czech Republic,
  • Denmark, except the Faroe Islands and Greenland,
  • Germany, except the Island of Heligoland and the territory of Büsingen,
  • Estonia,
  • Ireland,
  • Greece,
  • Spain, except Ceuta and Melilla,
  • France, except New Caledonia, Mayotte, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna Islands, French Polynesia and French Southern and Antarctic Terrirories,
  • Italy, except the municipalities of Livigno and Campione d'Italia and the national waters of Lake Lugano which are between the bank and the political frontier of the area between Ponte Tresa and Porto Ceresio,
  • Cyprus (pending a settlement to the Cyprus problem, the application of the Community 'acquis' is suspended in those areas in which the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control),
  • Latvia,
  • Lithuania,
  • Luxembourg,
  • Hungary,
  • Malta,
  • the Netherlands in Europe,
  • Austria,
  • Poland,
  • Portugal,
  • Romania
  • Slovenia,
  • the Slovak Republic,
  • Finland,
  • Sweden,
  • the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

The customs territory of the Community includes the territorial waters, the inland maritime waters and the airspace of the Member States, except for the territorial waters, the inland maritime waters and the airspace of those territories which are not part of the customs territory of the Community as listed above.

The following territories, including their territorial waters, inland maritime waters and airspace, situated outside the territory of the Member States, shall also be considered to be part of the customs territory of the Community:

  • the territory of the principality of Monaco;
  • the territory of the United Kingdom Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, in Cyprus.

Customs value

The value of goods established according to the customs rules for the levying of ad-valorem duties (Arts 28 _ 36 CC)

Customs warehousing

Customs procedure allowing the storage of (Art. 98 (1) CC)

  • non-Community goods without subjecting them to import duties or commercial policy measures, and
  • Community goods with a view to applying measures normally requiring the export of such goods.

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Any person liable for payment of a customs debt


The person making the customs declaration in his own name or the person in whose name a customs declaration is made (Arts 4 (18), 5 CC).


One of the two variants of the inward processing procedure under which the import duties are paid at release for free circulation and refunded when the processed products or the goods in the unaltered state are re-exported. Many free-trade agreements don't allow drawback if a preferential proof of origin is issued.

Duty relief

Duty relief is provided for

  • outward processing (Art. 145 CC),
  • special circumstances as defined in Reg. (EEC) No 918/83 (Art. 184 CC),
  • returned goods (Arts 185-187 CC),
  • products of sea-fishing (Art. 188).

E Top

Electronic Customs Decision

Decision 70/2008/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 January 2008 on a paperless environment for customs and trade (OJ L 23, 26.01.2008, p. 21). This Decision provided a further significant step forward in linking national customs Information and Communication Technology systems, benefiting both customs and trade. By meeting the needs of modern logistics, a pan-European electronic customs shall increase the competitiveness of companies doing business in Europe, reduce compliance costs and improve security at the EU borders. The Decision itself sets out the basic framework (objectives, strategy and coordination mechanism for the electronic customs systems) and major deadlines for electronic customs projects. It also defines the Community and national components of the systems and the related responsibilities and tasks as well as establishes monitoring and reporting framework for the electronic customs initiative.

Electronic data interchange (EDI)

Under the conditions and in the manner which they determine, the customs authorities may provide that customs formalities are carried out by exchanging EDI standard messages; this includes the replacement of the handwritten signature by other means and a waiver from presenting written documents when the declaration is lodged

Entry Summary Declaration

The summary declaration referred to in Article 36a of the Code to be lodged for goods brought into the customs territory of the Community


The customs procedure for taking Community goods out of the customs territory in order to ensure compliance with export restrictions (Art. 161 CC)

Export duties

Export charges introduced under the common agricultural policy (Art. 4 (11) CC)


The person on whose behalf the export declaration is made and who is the owner of the goods or has a similar right of disposal over them (Art. 788 CCIP). Under other Regulations it is the person who is partner of the export contract, the holder of an export licence or who is entitled to export refunds


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Free zone, free warehouse

A territory or premises situated in the customs territory where

  • import duties and commercial policy measures are suspended for non-Community goods, and
  • Community goods can already benefit from measures requiring their export (Art. 166 CC)

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Instrument with which a customs administration can recover duties and taxes which become payable in the event of irregularities during a transit movement

Guaranteeing association

A company or organisation authorised by Customs to issue TIR carnets

Guarantee Reference Number (GRN)

Each NCTS guarantee will be referenced by an unique Guarantee Reference Number (GRN) which will be used for validation. The GRN is allocated by the office of guarantee to identify each single guarantee.


I Top

Implementing provisions

Commission Regulation 2454/93/EEC

Import duties

Customs duties payable on importation according to Reg. (EEC) No 2658/87 OJ 1987 No L 256, p. 1, autonomous tariff suspensions and tariff quotas, preferential arrangements, anti-dumping, countervailing, safeguard and retaliatory duties, as well as import charges laid down under the common agricultural policy and specific arrangements for processed agricultural products

Import goods

Goods placed under a suspensive procedure and goods that have been released for free circulation under the inward processing drawback system (Art. 84 (2) CC)

International organisation

The organisation mentioned in the TIR Convention as being responsible for the organisation and functioning of the international guarantee system


L Top

Loading list

An administrative or commercial document that may be used in place of a SAD-BIS when more than one item is being carried under transit.


M Top


For maritime and air transport, the document listing the cargo on board the means of transport. The document may be used for customs purposes, subject to prior authorisation, when it contains the necessary particulars, in particular with regard to the customs status of the goods and their identification.

Modernised Customs Code

Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 (Official Journal L 145, 04.06.2008, p.1. ). This Regulation lays down the general rules and procedures applicable to goods brought into or out of the customs territory of the Community. This new code aims to facilitate trade by simplifying and computerising customs procedures and ensuring the interoperability between the IT systems of the 27 customs administrations, while ensuring a high level of safety and security at the external borders. It will become applicable and thus replace the Community Customs Code (see the Community Customs Code) as soon as the relevant implementing provisions are adopted (on 24 June 2013 at the latest). In the meantime, the current Community Customs Code remains applicable.

Movement Reference Number (MRN)

The MRN is a unique number that is automatically allocated by the customs office that accepts the declaration. It contains 18 digits and is composed of following elements: Last two digits of the year of formal acceptance of export movement (YY)

Identifier of the Member States from which the movement originates.

Unique identifier for the export movement per year and country


N Top

New computerised transit system (NCTS)

Electronic data interchange system which was introduced as the transit declaration and is due to replace the traditional paper procedure in the Community as well as in the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland)

Notification of arrival

The operator of the active means of transport entering the customs territory of the Community or his representative shall notify the customs authorities of the first customs office of entry of the arrival of the means of transport. This notification of arrival shall contain the particulars necessary for the identification of the entry summary declarations lodged in respect of all goods carried on that means of transport. (Art. 184g CCIP).


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Presentation of goods

Goods which, pursuant to Article 38 (1) (a) Customs Code, arrive at the customs office or other place designated or approved by the customs authorities shall be presented to customs by the person who brought the goods into the customs territory of the Community or, if appropriate, by the person who assumes responsibility for carriage of the goods following such entry (Art. 40 Customs Code).


The person who places goods under the transit procedure, even where this is done by an authorised representative.


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Customs treatment of non-Community goods that are taken out of the customs territory (Art. 182 CC)


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Form used to supplement the copies of the SAD when more than one item is being declared.


Amount that might be requested by the customs authorities to ensure payment of customs debt.

Sensitive goods

A range of goods for which the Community guaranteeing associations have withdrawn the TIR guarantee

Single Administrative Document (SAD)

This is a multi-copy form which is used throughout the Community and EFTA countries for the control of imports, exports and goods in transit.


T Top

TAD (Transit Accompanying Document)

The TAD accompanies the goods where a transit declaration is processed at an office of departure by the NCTS. Copies A and B of the TAD replace copies No 4 and No 5 of the SAD. The TAD corresponds to the specimen and notes in Appendix III, Annexes D3 and D4 Convention/Annex 45a IPC.

TIR carnet

Document facilitating transit by serving both as a customs declaration and as a guarantee in countries that are a contracting party to the TIR Convention (OJ 1978 No L 252, p. 1)

TIR carnet

holder The company authorised by Customs to use TIR carnets

TIR Convention

The Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets, 1975

TIR guarantee

The amount of the security covering the duties and taxes at risk. The TIR Convention recommends the amount of the guarantee should be $50,000 per TIR carnet. The Community has fixed the amount at 60,000 EURO per TIR carnet

Security Amendment to the Customs Code

Security Amendment to the Customs Code

The security amendment to the Customs Code aims to ensure an equal level of protection through customs controls for all goods brought into or out of the EU. This section contains all the legislation, procedures and information relevant to the amendment.