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Temporary Admission: clear instructions from various customs authorities

– Is the Supporting Document valid for one EU trip or multiple EU trips within six months?

Added 2019 – 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.

We often hear from aircraft operators initiating a Temporary Admission (TA) procedure, especially at the British Isles, that (1) the validity of a Supporting Document endorsed by an EU customs agency is always six months, even if the aircraft departs the EU before the end of the six months which is the maximum period of stay, and (2) the same executed Supporting Document is valid documentation for the aircraft to continuously be accepted as under TA when arriving multiple times inside the EU within the same six months. In sum, the above opinion is that the Supporting Document should work as a kind of six months pass to fly within the EU, while this is not our view.

We have never seen the above two statements as correct use of the Supporting Document. The general guidelines have always been that an aircraft is discharged when leaving the EU, and any new EU entry must eventually be documented using a new Supporting Document, meaning that an already executed Supporting Document cannot be reused to document future EU entries after an EU exit. The mentioned six months are only meant to describe the maximum period of one stay within the EU and have never been meant to state the validity of an executed Supporting Document.

These conflicting approaches have often led to many confused aircraft operators. Consequently, we have contacted various authorities, including the EU Commission, Isle of Man customs, and HMRC (UK customs), and asked them the questions below to get their views on the above statements.

The Supporting Document is only valid if the aircraft has not left the EU and for a maximum of six months. A new Supporting Document must be processed upon the next entry even though the six months mentioned in the field “period for discharge” have not yet passed. The six months mentioned here is the maximum stay of the specific entry whereupon the form is stamped (in customs terms; period for discharge). If the aircraft has been flying outside the EU after the first entry, it is a common misunderstanding that any future entries into the EU within the first six months will be endorsed in advance by using this form – it will not.


Be ready for customs ramp checks
Ramp checks will eventually happen, so any operator ought to be prepared to avoid wasting time on the ramp. All experience shows that a convincing portfolio and well-prepared pilots will close all inspection issues effectively, while a fumbling start will often prolong an inspection for hours or days. About one-third of all recorded TA problems are related to the operators’ inability to understand and document the correct use of TA. In these cases, compliance is not an issue, only the lack of ability to prove compliance.

Correct documentation is a make-or-break issue
Even though the use of TA is simple and flexible for most operators, the documentation must not be disregarded. Correct documentation proving TA compliance is a make-or-break issue during customs ramp checks. The Supporting Document alone does not prove TA compliance. Also, operators should always consider how to 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.

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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