Customs transit is of particular importance where one customs territory is linked to more than one tax territory. It allows goods in transit to be moved from entry into the Union to the point of customs clearance, where both customs and national tax obligations will then apply.
Different transit systems are used in the European Union.
TIR – International Road Transport
With more than 66 countries using the procedure, the TIR system is the international customs transit system with the broadest geographical coverage.
Like other customs transit procedures, the TIR procedure allows goods to move under customs control across international borders without paying duties and taxes that would usually be due upon import (or export). A condition of the TIR procedure is that the movement of goods must involve road transport.
Goods are moved from a customs office of departure in one country to a customs office of destination in another country under cover of an internationally accepted customs transit document, the TIR Carnet, which also provides a financial guarantee for the payment of suspended duties and taxes. Currently, an international organisation manages the guarantee system, the International Road Transport Union (IRU).
Although each EU Member State is a contracting party to the TIR Convention, the European Union is considered a single territory for the TIR procedure. This means that TIR can only be used within the Union for international transport, i.e., when the transport begins or ends in a third country or when goods are transported between two or more EU Member States via the territory of a third country.
ATA – Temporary Admission
The ATA carnet also acts as a transit document, allowing goods to move within the customs territory of the EU from the point of entry to the place where they are used for temporary admission and vice versa to the end of the exit.
Union and Common Transit
• Union Transit
The Union transit procedure is used in customs transit operations between EU Member States (plus Andorra and San Marino) and generally applies to movements of non-EU goods where customs duties and other import charges are at stake and EU goods must pass through the territory of a third country between their point of departure and destination in the EU.
• Common Transit
The common transit procedure applies to movements of goods between the EU Member States, EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), Turkey (from 1 December 2012), the Republic of North Macedonia (from 1 July 2015), Serbia (from 1 February 2016) and the UK (from 1 January 2021). The procedure is based on the Convention of 20 May 1987.
• T1/T2/ – For this type of transit procedure, special documents are used in transit between countries that are parties to the Convention on a common transit procedure. Only companies with a general guarantee in the transit procedure may give a warranty or security in transit. It is much less common practice to protect the form of cash. It is recommended that if you are transporting goods that will be placed under a transit procedure, this should be handled by a specialised company that will do so efficiently and flawlessly. Contact us; we are happy to help with your questions regarding transit procedures.