Taxation and Customs Union

Export procedure

What is the purpose and scope of the procedure?

The export procedure is obligatory for Community goods leaving the EC customs territory (Article 161 Customs Code - CC), with very few exceptions. This is due to the fact that this procedure must ensure the correct application of all export measures, e.g.:

  • export restrictions and surveillance measures, and
  • payment of export refunds for agricultural products.

How and where are goods entered for the procedure and when does it end?

The export procedure foresees, in principle, two stages:

  • First the exporter/declarant presents the goods, his export declaration and, where necessary, his export authorisation or licence at the customs office responsible for the place where he is established or where the goods are packed or loaded for export (Article 161 (5) CC).
    If, for administrative reasons, this provision cannot be applied, the export declaration may be lodged with any customs office which is competent for the operation in question (Article 790 of the Customs Code Implementing Provisions - CCIP). Finally, an export declaration may also be accepted by a customs office other than that normally responsible, provided there are duly justified good reasons .

    If no simplified procedure is used, the export declaration is made on the Single Administrative Document (SAD) or its electronic equivalent. An oral (or sometimes implicit) declaration may also be made (at the customs office of exit) in certain circumstances. However, neither an oral nor an implicit declaration may be made for goods in respect of which export refund or repayment of duties is claimed or which are subject to restrictions or other special formalities.

    The customs office to which the goods and the export declaration have been presented releases the goods for export on condition that they leave the EC customs territory in the same condition as when the declaration was accepted (Article 162 CC).

  • Subsequently, the goods and a copy of the export declaration are presented to the customs office of exit which satisfies itself that the goods presented correspond to those declared and supervises their physical departure (Article 793 CCIP).

    In the case of goods exported by rail, post, air or sea, the customs office of exit may be the office competent for the place where the goods are taken over under a single transport contract for transport to a third country (e.g. port, airport, railway station).

    The customs office of exit endorses copy No 3 of the SAD or any other document replacing it  (Administrative Arrangement of 1994 ) and returns it to the declarant or his representative (this serves as proof of export and can be used for exemption from VAT and excise duty).

    Though goods declared for export are under customs supervision (Article 59 (2) CC), completion of the procedure (i.e. presentation of the goods and the declaration at the customs office of exit) is not monitored by customs, given that Community goods can move freely throughout the customs territory.


Where non-Community goods placed under a customs procedure with economic impact (as defined in Article 84 (1) (b) CC) are re-exported, the formalities for the export procedure apply (Article 182 (3) CC).