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Short & Sweet no. 19
The real differences between full importation and Temporary Admission

Added September 2023
  • Select the flight privileges needed

  • See the risks and liabilities involved

  • Get a basis for a decision on how to fly within the EU

  • Choose the most applicable customs procedure

We have made a simple overview of the main decision points when choosing between full importation and Temporary Admission (TA). The overview is made primarily for EU outsiders but will of course also grant EU insiders a view on the same issues.

The customs aspect of flying within the EU
Any aircraft flying into the EU will operate under customs control using either the Temporary Admission procedure (TA) or full importation. There are no other options. The TA procedure can only be used by EU outsiders where the aircraft is owned (including any UBOs), operated, registered, and based outside the EU, leaving EU insiders with only one option: full importation. EU outsiders can, of course, choose to use full importation instead of TA if they find it beneficial. However, both options can be used commercially or privately if applied correctly. 

Please have a look at the below tables and start locating the flight privileges needed and then learn about the risks and liabilities involved and thereafter take a decision on how to fly within the EU using the most applicable customs procedure.

Nature of the customs entry method Full importation Temporary Admission
How are taxes handled? Payment of all taxes 1) Suspension of all taxes
Scope of use Mandatory for EU insiders, but a full importation can be chosen as the preferred option by EU outsiders if they want a free circulation status Only possible for EU outsiders
Aircraft structure and registration Full importation Temporary Admission
Involvement of EU elements Yes No 3)
Flight pattern, period of stay, and base Full importation Temporary Admission
Flying to one EU destination Yes Yes
Flying internally within the EU Yes Yes
Maximum period of stay Unlimited Six months per stay 4)
Fixed established EU base Yes No 4)
Persons onboard allowed Full importation Temporary Admission
EU passengers on internal EU-flights Yes Yes
EU crew on internal EU-flights Yes Yes
Type of flights allowed within the EU Full importation Temporary Admission
Corporate flights Yes Yes
Private flights Yes Yes
Commercial flights, like Part 135 group charters Yes Yes
Allowed to fly commercially within EU member states without getting traffic rights (charter permits) No No

 Green  = Possible  Yellow  = Impossible

Risks and liabilities Full importation Temporary Admission
The biggest risks Wrong and unaccepted use 2) of the aircraft, e.g., non-business use of a corporate aircraft or non-commercial use of a commercial aircraft Ramp checks without the operator being ready and able to prove the TA compliance convincingly
Geographical areas that the aircraft must be used correctly according to the EU regulation Worldwide. After the importation, any future use of the aircraft, no matter where the aircraft is flying, must conform to the EU regulations Only when flying within the EU
Statute of limitation The VAT liability exists five years after the physical importation Only when flying within the EU
Is non-business use allowed inside and outside the EU for corporate aircraft (Part 91)? The answer is no unless all non-business flights worldwide are compensated correctly according to the EU regulation Yes, all kinds of use is allowed. No compensation is required at all
Is non-commercial use allowed inside and outside the EU if the aircraft was imported using the EU 0% airline exemption (Part 135)? Generally, no. However, it depends on the exact preconditions in the EU member state where the aircraft was imported. The required minimum commercial use is different between EU member states Yes, all kinds of use is allowed. No compensation is required at all

 Green  = High flexibility  Red  = Low flexibility and extra liabilities

Legal background for Temporary Admission
The Istanbul convention from 1990, regulating the worldwide usage of TA, is not very precise, and the EU Commission have been and are therefore continuously publishing various working papers and guidelines, etc., to clarify the correct understanding of TA and its usage within the EU. Especially the 2014 working paper from the EU Customs Code Committee (available in English, French and German) is important. Operators should anyway be aware off that these documents are not binding for the EU member states, which is why different interpretations exist between member states, thus also why it is important to have a competent customs agency to 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 and 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 between member states and the areas where an operator often need guidance to use TA in a safe way. Yet, none of the situations cause problems for using TA if handled and documented correctly.

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

  1. Taxes (the VAT) are typically deducted or exempted on the basis that correct use of the aircraft will happen
  2. Some business activities are not subject to VAT, such as selected real estate activities, banking and finance, insurance, gaming, and holding companies, etc. The listing is not complete. These activities will, therefore, not be seen as correct economic activities in this context
  3. San Marino (T7), Guernsey (2), and UK (G) registrations are compatible with TA
  4. The aircraft can stay up to six months per stay, and multiple entries are allowed

List of all OPMAS
Short & Sweet mails:

No. 19 – The real differences between full importation and Temporary Admission
Sep 2023 TA FI

No. 18 – Exporting an aircraft from the EU
Jun 2023 FI

No. 17 – What is the correct use of a corporate aircraft?
Mar 2023 FI

No. 16 – Which customs procedures can be used for parking an aircraft within the EU?
Jan 2023 TA FI

No. 15 – Liability and risk elements associated with EU importation and admission
Oct 2022 TA FI

No. 14 – Part 3: Arriving in the EU using the TA procedure (does an operator need help?)
Aug 2022 TA

No. 13 – Importation impacts when traveling the world in corporate aircraft
Jun 2022 FI

No. 12 – How to get the 0% airline VAT exemption meant for commercial operators
May 2022 FI

No. 11 – Part 2: Arriving in the EU using the TA procedure (be ready for customs’ ramp checks)
Mar 2022 TA

No. 10 – How to handle aircraft maintenance correct in a customs context​
Feb 2022 TA FI

No. 9 – Part 1: Arriving in the EU using the TA procedure (about the Supporting Document)
Dec 2021 TA

No. 8 – Do not fall into the operator trap when flying within the EU and UK
Oct 2021 TA FI

No. 7 – Which offshore aircraft registrations can be used with Temporary Admissions when flying within the EU and UK?
Sep 2021 TA

No. 6 – Flying with EU-resident persons onboard when using Temporary Admission
Aug 2021 TA

No. 5 – What about private use
of corporate aircraft?

May 2021 TA FI

No. 4 – What does ‘VAT paid’ mean?
Mar 2021 FI

No. 3 – Is a full importation needed
in both the UK and the EU27?

Mar 2021 FI

No. 2 – Flying commercially
within the EU

Feb 2021 TA FI

No. 1 – Flying with the

Nov 2020 TA FI

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