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Temporary Admission: which entity is allowed to be the declarant?

Added April 2018 – Updated November 2023

The survey was made before Brexit in 2020, which is why the UK, and the Isle of Man are included. The UK part is still relevant for aircraft flying to the UK under a UK Temporary Admission.

Most aircraft have international routes, and many non-EU operators use the Temporary Admission procedure when flying within the EU. The basic simplified rule is that an aircraft owned, operated, registered, or based outside the EU can use the Temporary Admission procedure. Unfortunately, certain grey zones often arise, one of which is: which entity is allowed to be the declarant?

The declarant is the entity whose name is mentioned on the customs form and who takes responsibility for the customs process. In the customs world, the declarant is also seen as the actual user of the aircraft. This role comes with both privileges and preconditions which must be met. For this reason, we want to establish a verification survey on how local customs authorities implement the rules for nominating a declarant using the Temporary Admission procedure. We refer to Article 212(2) in Commission Delegated Regulation No 2015/2446 (“UCC DA“).

Article 212(2) mentions: where means of transport are declared for temporary admission orally in accordance with Article 136 or by another act in accordance with Article 139, the authorization shall be granted to the person who has the physical control of the goods at the moment of the release of goods for the temporary admission procedure unless that person acts on behalf of another person. If so, the authorization shall be granted to the latter person.

Article 212 should not leave any doubt that the entity responsible for the Temporary Admission entry, the declarant, must be the physical operator. This operator is, in general, the entity that employs the crew and provides the services and oversight to keep the aircraft flying. If the aircraft is managed by a third party, that management company should be the operator. This situation often has many pitfalls as most aviation structures include many entities such as user, owner, operator, lessee, lessor, etc.

We regularly see a declarant nominated at random, not being a valid operator, or sometimes a declarant is simply chosen because it is the only non-EU entity in the owner, operator, and user structure. It is important that the declarant is acceptable as the real, physical operator and can prove this fact as well as claim responsibility as the operator. The declarant must, of course, be a non-EU-resident.

The result
The feedback is unanimous; only the physical operator can be the declarant, so cherry-picking amongst available entities will not work and can result in a considerable, unforeseen cost.

Figure 1: Corporate aircraft using Temporary Admission in various EU-member states
Which type of entity can be nominated as the declarant?
Please see the below case description where upon the survey is based

Questions Denmark Germany UK Isle of Man Ireland The Netherlands Malta
1. Will the local customs authorities allow the lessor to act as the declarant? No No No No No No No
2. Will the local customs authorities allow the lessee to act as the declarant? No No No No No No No
3. Will the local customs authorities allow the operator to act as the declarant? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
The results are based on answers from international consulting firms in the respective countries.

The replies from the different EU member states are based on this case description
An owner (lessor) leases the aircraft to a corporation (lessee). The lessee does not have its own flight department operating the aircraft and, as a result, has engaged a so-called management company (operator) to effectively operate the aircraft and provide all necessary services, including the employment of pilots. The lessee does, of course, decide where to fly, but the operator is responsible towards the aviation authorities and instructs the pilots about aeronautical decisions. All entities are domiciled outside the EU, and the aircraft registration is US (N). It is taken for granted that all preconditions for Temporary Admission are fulfilled.

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

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

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. Click here to see a list of the known grey zone areas where different interpretations of the TA procedure exist and where an operator often needs guidance to use TA safely. None of the grey zone areas create problems for using TA if correctly handled and documented.

How can we help?
If you have questions about the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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