January 11, 2022
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Customs status of goods in EU

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What is the customs status of goods?

‘Customs status’ means the status of goods as Union or non-Union goods. All goods within the customs territory of the Union are presumed to have the customs status of Union goods, unless it is established that they are non-Union goods. 

Why is it important?

Union goods can be moved within the EU without any customs formalities, which is not the case for non-Union goods. 

What are Union goods?

Union goods are goods that fall into any of the following categories:

  • goods wholly obtained in the customs territory of the Union;
  • goods brought into the customs territory of the Union and released for free circulation;
  • goods obtained or produced in the customs territory of the Union, using only goods from the above mentioned goods.

Union goods lose their customs status as Union goods when they are taken out of the customs territory of the Union and in some other cases.

What are Non-Union goods?

Non-Union goods are goods other than Union goods. They become Union goods when they are released to free circulation. 

Non-Union goods remain under customs supervision until their customs status is changed, or they are taken out of the customs territory of the Union or destroyed.

When is proof of Union status required?

There are situations where Union goods move from one point in the customs territory of the Union to another through the territory of a third country. When the goods re-enter the Union, customs will ask you to prove the Union status of the goods by presenting the relevant customs document.

For example, goods are brought by truck from Spain to Ireland via Great Britain. In this case, a T2 transit declaration will be required. If the goods are transported by container vessel, a T2L document (for goods with a value of up to EUR 15 000 - invoice or transport document) is required.

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