Customs transit

Transit procedures are one of the things that contribute to increased international trading opportunities. After the Second World War, international entities hoped for simplifying the process of transporting goods, especially in Europe. As a result, the TIR transit procedure and others were established. Therefore, there are many types of customs transits.

Customs transit

Customs transit is a customs procedure under which goods are carried, under customs control, between two or more different customs territories. It is also the movement of goods between two points of a customs territory via another customs territory. It allows for the temporary suspension of taxes, duties, and trade policy measures imposed at import.

We explain three main transit systems:

  • Union and Common transit
  • TIR – International Road Transit
  • ATA – Temporary Admission.

Common transit

Common transit is a customs procedure within the European Economic Community (EEC). It allows the movement from one point to another (at least three countries) within the EEC without such goods being subject to import duties.

For example, the goods are dispatched from Germany to Slovakia through the Czech Republic. In this model, the transit country is the Czech Republic.

A detailed description of the common transit procedure is available in the Transit Manual.

Union transit procedure applies to goods that are moved from one point in the EU to another.

Types of Common transit

The Common transit procedure can be categorized into two types. The main difference is a different legal basis.

The first type is the Community transit procedure, based on the Community Customs Code. External Community transit procedure is T1, while the external Community transit procedure is T2. The legal basis of the Community transit procedure is the Convention on a common transit procedure. The Convention has been signed by the EU, Norway, Lichtenstein, Turkey, Iceland, and Switzerland.

T2 internal Community transit procedure

T2 is used for the movement of Community (Union) goods. It means that the internal Community transit procedure applies within the customs territory of the European Union and signed countries. It does not change the customs status of the transported goods. This is because Community goods are moved from one country to another through a third country.  They remain within the customs territory of the Community at all times. One customs document and guarantee are sufficient. The change of vehicle is possible.

T1 external Community transit procedure

T1 is used for the movement of non-Community goods. It means that the external Community transit procedure applies to goods that the customs status must change. They are moved within the customs territory of the Community but without being subject to import duties, VAT, and excise duties.

Customs transit TIR – International Road Transit

The TIR (Transport Internationaux Routiers) procedure only applies to road transport when the goods are moved between at least two customs territories. It uses an international guarantee system that is based on a chain of national guaranteeing associations. Means of transport can be changed; however, cargo must reach its destination by road. Part of the route runs through the territory of a foreign country. A cargo under the TIR Convention shall be exempt from customs clearance at the border if:

  • the vehicle has a certificate allowing for road transport between countries with customs seals.
  • customs seals must fulfill certain criteria.
  • the customs authorities have accepted the designated route.

The primary legislation of the TIR procedure is the Customs Convention on the International Transport of goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention 1975).

ATA – Temporary Admission

ATA carnet is a carnet for the temporary admission of the goods. It is a customs document used for the temporary export, transit, and temporary admission of goods for specific purposes. The goods could be used for displays, exhibitions, fairs, professional equipment, and commercial samples. Overall, it is similar to TIR but is limited to certain types of goods. In terms of the European Union, it is considered a single territory.

The legal basis of the ATA carnet is the Customs Convention on the A.T.A. Carnet for the temporary admission of goods.

Customs transit in a nutshell

To sum up, customs transit is a procedure that mainly allows the movement of goods between countries (of different customs territories) under customs control. Some of the types of transit are Union transit, Common transit, TIR, and ATA.

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