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The Supporting Document for an oral customs declaration

How does Temporary Admission work?
The use of TA is designed to be a paperless process with a voluntary option to document entries and exits using a Supporting Document (SD), meaning that a qualifying aircraft can enter the EU without any customs contact or paper declarations. It is the EU Commission’s opinion that the bare act of crossing the outer EU border counts as a customs declaration. Help with documenting or clarifying TA compliance might not be needed if the aircraft only has flights that start or end outside the EU (no internal EU trips), does not carry any EU-resident crew or passengers, and the crew and operator understand the practical usage of the TA procedure as these types of flights typically do not trigger customs ramp checks. However, we will always recommend that operators check and document full TA compliance before flying to the EU, as other factors than those mentioned might also influence compliance.

Function of the Supporting Document
The SD only acknowledges that the aircraft has arrived within the EU and is opting to fly under TA. Having the SD ready in the aircraft or actively using the SD indicates that the operator understands the use of TA, which is a good start if approached by customs, but it does not grant the aircraft free circulation status for a six-month period, nor does it approve TA compliance in advance. Both of which is a common misunderstanding. Again, no operator should fly to the EU unprepared and unable to explain and document why they are eligible to use the TA procedure, and the SD does not have this function.

The total package for the Supporting Document complex
Download the full package (including instructions) published by the EU Commission on how to use the Supporting Document for an oral customs declaration concerning TA.

Download English version
Download other languages | Choose the pop-up menu “other languages.”

Temporary Admission is supposed to be paperless, so why is documentation needed?
Unfortunately, the paperless entry and exit procedure has created a common misunderstanding that an operator is not required to present relevant documentation to prove TA compliance upon request from customs. Only the entry and exit are supposed to be paperless, but the operator must continuously live up to the preconditions of TA, handle the limitations correctly, and be able to document these at any time, even if flights are just in and out of the EU with only one visited destination. Correct documentation proving TA compliance is a make-or-break issue during customs ramp checks, and the so-called Supporting Document (if used upon entry) does not prove TA compliance alone. The lack of relevant documentation has stopped or grounded several aircraft over the years.

Be prepared to meet the EU customs
No operator should fly to the EU unprepared and unable to explain and document which customs procedure they are using. Being ready for customs ramp checks should be seen parallel to how an operator prepares for an eventual SAFA ramp check. We experience that many pilots are not trained and prepared to handle the above issues convincingly and thus fly without a ready-to-use portfolio to support the use of TA.

Prepare to use the Temporary Admission procedure

  1. Check that the basic preconditions are fulfilled
  2. Understand the limitations and situations that must be handled correctly
  3. Carry relevant paperwork onboard the aircraft to document the correct use of TA
  4. Instruct the pilots so that they are prepared to handle a customs ramp check

Correct documentation is a make-or-break issue
Operators should always consider how to document TA compliance as well as handle and secure the known grey zone areas when using TA. The relevant documentation can be conditioned without help from OPMAS, but we will be happy to help and have years of experience with this process. We offer different TA solutions depending on the risk profile and typical flight pattern. Please inquire for more details.

Put simply, an operator must choose between:
a) not preparing any documentation, taking things as they come, which we do not advise,
b) preparing the documentation in-house, or
c) ask OPMAS or any other customs service providers to generate the documentation.

Important things to know about Temporary Admission
Operators should be aware that different interpretations of the TA procedure exist between member states. Thus, it is important to have a competent customs agency outline the correct use and understanding based on the specific setup. The problem with local interpretations is often related to flights within France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and less often other places.

We recommend that operators read the following articles before starting a trip.

Short & Sweet no. 9 Part 1: Using TA – what is the Supporting Document, and how do you use it?
Short & Sweet no. 11 Part 2: Using TA – what do customs look for during a ramp check, and why?
Short & Sweet no. 14 Part 3: Using TA – in which scenarios will an operator need help or guidance?
Short & Sweet no. 21 Part 4: Using TA – how do you prepare to handle a customs ramp check?

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