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Security Amendment to the Customs Code | Procedures



For goods entering the customs territory of the European Union, pre-arrival declarations must be lodged electronically by the person, and within the timelines (see the guidelines on the import of goodspdf(163 Kb) Choose translations of the previous link  into the customs territory and import scenariospdf(278 Kb) Choose translations of the previous link  ) set out by customs legislation, in one of the following formats:

  • Entry summary declaration (ENS) - see the FAQspdf(768 Kb) Choose translations of the previous link  data to be sent electronically to the national system of the Member State concerned (see the acceptable goods descriptionpdf(21 Kb) Choose translations of the previous link  to be used in summary declarations) or
  • Import customs declaration, including safety and security data, to be sent to the import customs declaration systems of the Member State concerned; or
  • Transit customs declaration, including safety and security data, to be sent to the national transit system of the Member State concerned.

This means that for goods entering the customs territory of the EU under a transit procedure, the responsible person (carrier) has two options:

  • Lodge a transit declaration containing the safety and security data; or
  • Lodge a transit declaration not containing the safety and security data for the purpose of the transit procedure and lodge an entry summary declaration separately for the purposes of safety and security.

Some Member States offer economic operators the possibility to lodge an entry summary declaration at another customs office than the customs office of entry, provided the ENS is electronically communicated or made available to the customs office of entry. This other customs office is the so-called "customs office of lodgment",

Where the customs office of entry is in another Member State than the customs office of lodgment, this is only possible in cases where the Member State in which the customs office of entry is situated is equipped, and has agreed, to receive ENS data in this way. The table "ICS - Support of the Office of Lodgmentxls(28 Kb) Choose translations of the previous link  " indicates which Member States provide the above possibility.

For goods leaving the customs territory of the European Union, pre-departure declarations must be lodged electronically by the person (see the guidelines for export procedures and exit formalities) determined by customs legislation, in one of the following formats:

  • Export customs declaration, including safety and security data, to be sent to the export customs declaration systems of the Member State concerned; or
  • Exit summary declaration (EXS) - see the FAQspdf(341 Kb) Choose translations of the previous link  data (only for those cases where no export customs declaration is needed for the customs procedure, cf. below) to be sent to the national system of the Member State concerned; or
  • Transitpdf(13 Kb) Choose translations of the previous link  (new version) customs declaration, including safety and security datapdf(21 Kb) Choose translations of the previous link  , to be sent to the national transit system of the Member State concerned.

This means that for goods leaving the customs territory of the EU, to which no export declaration or exit summary declaration was lodged before the goods were placed under the transit procedure, the responsible person (the declarant) has two options:

  • Lodge a transit declaration containing the safety and security data; or
  • Lodge a transit declaration not containing the safety and security for the purpose of the transit procedure and lodge an exit summary declaration separately for the purposes of safety and security.

As mentioned above, an EXS is only required for those (re)export goods where no export customs declaration is required. When an EXS is required, it must be lodged with the relevant customs office of exit. For the purposes of EXS, the “customs office of exit” is:

  • the customs office competent for the place from where the goods will leave the customs territory of the European Union; or
  • where the goods are to leave the customs territory of the EU by air or sea, the customs office competent for the place where the goods are loaded onto the vessel or aircraft on which they will be brought to a destination outside the customs territory of the EU.

This definition of 'customs office of exit for the purposes of EXS' is of particular significance for the air and sea modes, as the relevant customs office of exit for the purposes of EXS will often in these modes not be the same as the customs office of exit for the purposes of the export procedure.

The deadline for the lodging of the EXS varies according to the transportation mode and duration:

  • Containerised maritime cargo (except short sea containerised shipping): at least 24 hours before commencement of loading on the vessel that will carry the goods to a non-EU destination;
  • Bulk/break bulk maritime cargo (except short sea bulk/break bulk shipping): at least 4 hours before the vessel that will carry the goods to a non-EU destination will leave the port;
  • Short sea shipping (as defined in the guidelines for export procedures and exit formalities): At least 2 hours before the vessel that will carry the goods to a non-EU destination will leave the port;
  • Air traffic: at least 30 minutes before the aircraft that will carry the goods to a non-EU destination will leave the airport;
  • Rail and inland waterways: at least 2 hours before the train or ship that will bring the goods out of the customs territory of the EU will depart from the place for which the last customs office in that territory is competent;
  • Road traffic: At least 1 hour before the truck that will bring the goods out of the customs territory of the EU will depart from the last customs office in that territory.

Because there are several exemptions to the principle that an EXS is to be lodged for (re-)export goods for which no export customs declaration has been lodged, the following summary provides for a filing approach that can be implemented with relative ease, yet complies fully with the applicable legal provisions:

  • Any goods “sitting” in temporary storage for more than 14 calendar days must be covered by an EXS.
  • In addition to this general rule, the following types of goods are also subject to an EXS:

(i) Any goods in temporary storage for less than 14 calendar days that, to the knowledge of the carrier, change destination and/or consignee;

(ii) Shipper owned empty containers; and

(iii) EU goods consigned to an EU-based consignee which are to be transhipped in a non-EU port or airport (for example, goods from Italy, destined for the U.K., that are to be transhipped in Morocco onto a vessel or airplane that will bring them to the U.K. must be covered by an EXS. However, if the goods are to remain on board the vessel or airplane during the call in Morocco, no EXS is required in Italy).

Finally, it must be recalled that any goods which are taken out of temporary storage for loading onto a vessel or plane that will bring them to a foreign destination, and for which no EXS is required, must be covered by a re-export notification. Such re-export notification, where required, must be lodged prior to departure – see the guidelines for export procedures and exit formalities and the Annex 5 – Scenariospdf(205 Kb) Choose translations of the previous link 

Fall back procedure or “Business Continuity Plan”

The Commission services have developed a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for allowing the continuity of activities in case of failure of the IT systems. Due to the fact that the alternative systems to be created should be proportional to the risk of such failure, and that lodgement of paper entry summary declarations should only be used as a last resort, the BCP stresses that preference should be given to other fallback instruments. Consequently, it is of prime importance to traders and customs – beforehand – to agree and respect quality criteria that will limit the business impact due to the unavailability of the IT systems concerned.
See the details of the procedures and scenariospdf(512 Kb) Choose translations of the previous link  .

Lists of contacts in national administrations are available for ICSpdf(129 Kb) Choose translations of the previous link  and NCTSpdf(163 Kb) Choose translations of the previous link  . The lists include contacts for all EU Member States as well as Croatia, FYROM and Turkey. In addition, the ICS list includes contact details for Serbia and the NCTS list includes contact details for Andorra, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, San Marino, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia, Russia and Ukraine.