Customs Export Procedures

Customs procedures apply upon the export of goods to places outside the European Union. The purposes are to

  • enforce restrictions and prohibitions;
  • ensure licensing requirements are met;
  • collect statistics;
  • ensure exporter relief schemes are properly operated;
  • ensure safety and security requirements have been adhered to
  • enforce VAT and in particular
  • ensure the exit and prevent the re-entry export of goods which have qualified for duty-free VAT zero rate.

Goods exported must be placed under the export procedure.  A customs declaration must be lodged electronically in the requisite form.  Upon export, the goods cease to be Community goods.

Direct exports of goods are those exported directly outside the EU. Exports which leave Ireland under a single transport contract is deemed to be a direct export.

Indirect exports are those which travel through another state before leaving the EU. These is an export and transit procedure involving the office of export and the office of transit.

Export Declaration I

A customs declaration is required for all exports to non-EU countries.  It must be made electronically since 2009.  In some cases, the declaration may be made in a simplified form. Declarations for exported goods are made through the AEP system.

Data may be submitted by direct trader input (DTI) by authorised exporters.  They may submit electronic declarations based on the SAD.A paper SAD is permitted exceptionally, where there are problems, and it is not possible to lodge a declaration electronically.

A customs declaration is an act which indicates in a prescribed form the manner in which a good is placed under a given customs procedure.

A customs export declaration is required for goods exported to a non-EU country and for goods bound for any territories of the EU which are part of the customs territory of the EU, but are not part of the fiscal territory;

Export Declaration II

A customs declaration with the requisite elements required for safety and security analysis at the point of exit must be lodged in advance, within certain periods mentioned below. This is an exit summary declaration. The full export declaration must be lodged no later than the time of the presentation of the goods at the customs office of export.

In practice the exit summary declaration may be combined with the full export declaration, so that that they are lodged as a singel document in advance. In principle, the carrier is primarily responsible for this declaration. It may and usually does delegate its making to the exporter or its agent so that it is made in conjunction with or as part of the export declaration.

The exporter must lodge the export declaration, together with any necessary licences and authorisations, at the customs office where it is established or where goods are packed or loaded for export.

The declaration is made electronically in the single administrative document (SAD) form. In Ireland, export declarations are processed using the electronic automated entry processing (AEP) system.

Indirect Export (with Transit)

In the case of an indirect export, whereby there is an export and transit, the AEP system generates an electronic notification which allows print off an export accompanying document, which should accompany the goods. A movement reference number is generated. At the same time, the office of exit is e-mailed confirming the release of the goods.

The EAD (export accompanying document) and goods are presented to the office of exit in due course. See the sections in relation to transit movements.

Goods may be released for export provided that they leave the EU in the same condition in which they were when the export declaration was accepted.  When goods are exported, they are subject to customs supervision and checks

Place of Export

Goods may be exported only at and from places approved by the Revenue or with the authority of the Revenue. The following are approved places of export

  • Customs airports;
  • postal depots;
  • sufferance wharfs (a place within a port approved by the Revenue for importation and exportation);
  • legal quays (approved by Minister for Finance)
  • transit sheds container compounds and transit depots

A transit shed is a secure building in a port or airport in which goods may be stored. A container compound is a secure enclosure within the port or airport, where goods are stored awaiting customs approval. A transit depot is a building where goods can be deposited and packed for exportation. It may be located anywhere

Transit sheds, compounds and transit depots must be approved by the Revenue. Bonds and cover notes are used to secure duties on goods that are not in free circulation

The Revenue may approve and recognise unapproved landing places for maritime traffic. Permission is generally given only in limited circumstances of necessity.

The Exit Summary Declaration

The general position is that an exit declaration must be lodged in advance of the export movement. It may be combined with the export declaration, of which it is a subset.

There are certain exceptions including the following

  • postal material
  • goods leaving by pipeline
  • goods in personal luggage goods
  • goods covered by ATA or CPD carnets
  • goods in consignments not exceeding €22

A further class of goods may avail of a more limited form of declaration.

Electronic Exit and Export Declarations 

The declarations or combined declarations may be made by the exporter or a representative such as an agent. Export procedures are generally carried out through the AEP system. Traders may have direct access to the AEP system via ROS, the Revenue online service.A trader or its agent (e.g. freight forwarder) may be approved for direct trader input by Revenue.

The time limits for the return of the exit declaration varies. In the case of containerised marine cargo, at least 24 hours’ notice is required. In other cases, such as in relation to flights, road and rail transport, the time limits are significantly shorter ranging from 30 minutes to two hours.

Where licences are required, and the electronic return has been green routed the accompanying documents and where applicable any licence must merely be retained. The declaration must be retained for Revenue inspection with the SAD number.

In the case of red routed and orange routed declarations, the accompanying documents are retained by Revenue.Where an export licence is required, the licence is endorsed and returned to the exporter.

Where they are red routed or orange routed, the goods and in the latter case, the documents only must be produced.

There are special procedures and certificates in respect of exports to countries which have preferential rates and treatment.Revenue may require exporters to produce transport documents, where appropriate. This may arise where the goods are subject to a procedure.

Oral and Simplified Declarations

Oral declarations may be made in respect of

  • non-commercial goods in personal baggage or sent by private individuals;
  • certain commercial goods below €1000 in value;
  • goods of negligible economic importance.

Where goods declared orally require the payment of duty, a certificate / receipt is issued by customs.

Simplified Procedures

There are simplified export procedures available. Simplified declarations are allowed for authorised traders. The declaration made take the form of a simplified SAD or a commercial document containing the relevant details. A supplementary declaration is made monthly of all exports.

The local clearance procedure is available to authorised traders. They may export goods without presenting to customs. They must notify the customs of export and enter the transaction in their records. A supplemental monthly declaration of all exports is returned. That traders must be authorised to use the simple declaration procedure.

The application for authorisation is made to Revenue. Similarly, authorisation is required for local clearance procedure. The premises must be approved by Revenue.

Lodgment of Exit Summary and Customs Declaration

The exit summary declaration must be lodged within certain time limits provided. Generally, it must be lodged in sufficient time to allow the authorities to undertake a risk analysis.

Holders of Authorised Economic Operators certificates may lodge reduced data. Carriers, freight forwarders and customs agent who hold an AEO certificate may use a more limited form of declaration.

Each trader involved in the import or export of goods must use a unique number. The economic operator registration and identification system (EORI) is used. The numbers are aligned to the VAT number. The EORI number must be included in the export declaration.

The movement reference number (MRN) is allocated by the AEP system when it receives and validates the declaration. It is an 18-digit declaration containing codes which identify the date, country and other matters

The customs declaration may be lodged by the exporter or certain other agents, transit companies and persons re-exporting after using certain customs procedures, such as customs warehousing, inward processing and temporary admission.

The declaration is lodged at the customs office responsible for supervising the place where the exporter is established or where the goods are packed or loaded for shipment. The customs authority must be in a position to carry out checks in an efficient manner at an early point in the process.

Time for Exit Summary Declaration

The time limits for lodging the exit summary declaration is are set out in EU legislation.

  • in the case of maritime, containerised maritime cargo, except short sea containerised shipping, at least 24 hours before commencement of loading;
  • other cargo, at least four hours before goods leave the EU;
  • movements with a duration of fewer than 24 hours between a territory outside EU and French overseas departments, at least 2 hours before goods leave the EU;
  • short haul flights less than four hours, at least 30 minutes before take-off;
  • long-haul flights, at least four hours before the aircraft leave the EU;
  • rail and inland waterways at least two hours before the goods leave the customs office of exit;
  • road traffic at least one hour before the goods leave the customs office of exit.

Declarant and Place of Lodgement

An export customs declaration is usually lodged at the Customs office responsible for supervising the place where the exporter is established or where the goods are packed or loaded for export shipment.

The declaration may be lodged to a different office, where for administrative reasons, the normal procedure cannot be applied.  In these cases, it may be lodged to any customs office in Ireland which is competent to deal with the export procedures concerned or in another EU state, where there are good reasons such as diversion of goods, loss of documents or a change of contract.

Declarations may be made by the person able to present the goods or to have them presented.  If this is not the exporter, he or she must be appointed by the exporter and have the power to act as his or her representative.

Where ownership or a similar right of disposal over the goods belong to a person established outside the EU pursuant to the contract on which the export is based, the exporter is considered to be the contracting party established in the EU.

Electronic Procedures

Standard exporting procedures are carried out through the AEP system which validates, processes and undertakes duty accounting and the clearance of customs declarations.  The trader must be approved for direct trader input by the AEP bureau.

Under the direct trader input (DTI) system, accompanying documents must continue to be lodged in the case of red and orange routed declarations.  In the case of green routed declarations, the declarant must retain the accompanying documents with SAD with date and number for three years. Where the electronic SAD has been green routed, export licenses are to be endorsed by the declarant and retained with the accompanying documents.

Customs may require exporters to produce transport documents and documents relating to the procedure as appropriate when the export declaration is lodged. Where a single item is presented in more than one package, a packing list or equivalent document, indicating contents may be required.

Products which originate in the EU and are being exported to a third country may benefit from a preferential rate of duty on the submission of a movement certificate or invoice declaration, as the case may be.  An application must be made in the office of export indicating that the exporter wishes to have a movement certificate.

Oral Declaration

An oral declaration may be made at the customs office of exit.  The procedure is restricted to

  • goods of non-commercial nature contained in traveller’s personal luggage presented by private individuals
  • commercial goods less than €1,000 a specified mass
  • means of transport registered in the EU and intent for re-export
  • goods of negligible economic importance authorised by Customs

Customs may require a written declaration where they are not satisfied with an oral declaration.

Where goods are declared orally are subject to export duty, Customs is to issue a receipt setting out the description of goods, the breakdown of charges collected, the invoice value and the name of the authority.

Export Movement Procedure (Indirect Export)

The export procedure may involve the customs office of export and the customs office of exit.  The export control system replaced the SAD 3, by an export accompanying declaration.

Where export SED declarations are subject made through AEP, the movement is automatically processed through the export control system. On receipt of clearance from AEP, the declarant should print the export accompanying document, which should be accompanying the goods in their movement through the EU.  The customs office of export will send a message to the office of exit that the goods are on their way.

On the arrival of the goods at the office of exit, the EAD is presented to the customs by the declarant or representative.  It allows customs to confirm the exit of the goods from the EU and inform the office of export that exit has been confirmed.

In the case of a direct export, the office of export and office of exit is the same.  In the case of an indirect export, a trader or representative submits his export declaration to the office of export, e.g. in Ireland.  This nominates the office of exit in another state.  The message is usually automatically generated and sent to the office of exit.

On the receipt of clearance from the AEP, the declarant should print the EAD which should accompany the document. On the arrival of the goods in the office of exit, the EAD is presented to customs.  This will allow the customs in the office of exit to confirm exit of the goods.

Office of Exit Matters (Indirect Export)

The customs office of exit is the one to which the goods must be presented before they leave.  It may consider whether goods are missing, in excess or do not correspond with those submitted.  If there is a discrepancy, it is reported back to the customs office of the export and export will be refused.

The customs office of exit in Ireland may accept an administrative or commercial document. Where goods under the local clearance procedure are presented at the customs office of exit in Ireland under cover of the administrative or commercial document and the document does not meet the requirements laid down, the office of exit must give its reasons for refusing to accept the document. A new export declaration must be made.

Where export goods do not leave the customs territory of the EU, the exporter or declarant must immediately inform the office of export which will invalidate the export declaration.  In cases of indirect export, the office of export is responsible for certifying the exit of the goods.

Where after 150 days, the office of export has not received exit result messages from the customs office of exit or satisfactory evidence in support of a claim of exit, it may treat the goods as not having left the EU.  In this case, Customs informs the exporter or declarant of the invalidation of the declaration.

The exporter or declarant may of his own initiative inform the office of export that the goods have left the customs territory of the EU, indicating the date and request that the exit be certified.  The office of export requests the exit message from the office of exit, which must respond within 10 days.

The exporter or declarant may provide the customs office of export with evidence that the goods have left the territory.  This may be a copy of a delivery note authenticated by the consignee outside the EU, proof of payment, the invoice or delivery note duly signed and authenticated or a declaration by the company which brought the goods out of the EU.

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