COMMERCIAL AND CORPORATE FLYING WITHIN THE EUROPEAN UNION
Short & Sweet no. 9
Part 1: what to do when arriving in the EU using the Temporary Admission procedure?
Added December 2021
- Will an operator need to file any customs paperwork?
- What is important when using Temporary Admission?
- Is the Supporting Document always valid for a six-month period?
- Do not waste your money!
Any aircraft flying into the EU will fly under customs control using either the Temporary Admission (TA) procedure or full importation. There are no other options. The TA procedure can only be used by outsiders where the aircraft is owned (including any UBOs), operated, registered, and based outside the EU, leaving insiders with only one option, namely full importation.
We, at OPMAS, are frequently asked a great deal of questions about TA-related issues. In this article, we will dive a bit deeper into the use of the Supporting Document (SD) when the SD is used to endorse the crossing of the outer EU border. Below, we will present the full explanation, confirmed by the EU Commission several times.
Will an operator need to file any customs paperwork when flying to the EU?
The answer is no. It is the EU Commission’s opinion that the bare act of crossing the outer EU border counts as a customs declaration, and the operator is not obliged to fill out any forms, including the SD, to activate a TA. This way of flying under TA is practiced 1000’s of times every day without any problems by non-EU entities, such as private, corporate, charter, commercial operators, and international airlines.
What is a Supporting Document?
The SD is a one-page pdf document with a duplicate page produced by the EU Commission. The SD should be seen as a voluntary tool to endorse an EU entry and subsequent exit. The operator must fill out the top part, leaving the bottom to be stamped or endorsed by an EU customs agency when the aircraft arrives and exits the EU.
What is important when using the Temporary Admission?
An operator must always be ready to document these points when flying to the EU:
- Flight pattern within the EU; an operator can, of course, use the SD for this purpose, but the entry and exit points and internal flights can easily be documented by flight logs and EURO control records, etc. The use of the SD is not mandatory and should merely be seen as one of multiple ways of documenting the mentioned flight pattern.
- Compliance with the TA procedure; all criteria for using TA are met with the correct handling of all limitations. Even though the SD is used, it is obligatory that the aircraft structure is compliant with the TA procedure and that some limitations and situations are handled correctly.
The first point is easy to fulfill yet still important. However, the second point is critical for the operator not to mess up. An operator must always comply with the TA procedure when flying to and within the EU. Please, ask for our advice to secure compliance on this matter. We offer a cost-free analysis of any aircraft structure to check compliance with the TA procedure, of course, without any commitment from your side.
The use of the SD (point 1) must never mistakenly be seen as a tool to endorse compliance with the TA procedure (as in point 2). That is not how it works.
What to do if an operator wants to use the Supporting Document when arriving within the EU?
Essentially, the crew can use the SD themselves when arriving at the first airport within the EU. We will be glad to prepare the SD with the specific aircraft data, so the crew can use the SD themselves and ask local customs at the arriving airport to endorse the SD. We will not charge anything for this service.
Is the Supporting Document easy to use?
The answer is no. Even though the SD is a very simple document to fill out with relevant data, you should expect to wait hours to get the SD stamped or endorsed by local customs when arriving and departing. Feedback often mentions that some EU customs agencies are not tuned in to process the SD, and others are not willing to process the SD.
What is the Supporting Document meant to endorse?
The SD only confirms that an aircraft has arrived within or exited the EU – nothing else. No customs procedure can endorse an entry that has not yet happened. It is, therefore, a common and illogical misunderstanding that any future entries into the EU can be endorsed in advance by using the SD.
Is the Supporting Document always valid for a six-month period?
The answer is no – unless the aircraft is staying within the EU till the end of the six-month period, then it is, of course, valid throughout the six months. Also, the SD is not meant to endorse several entries. It only confirms that an aircraft has arrived in the EU and eventually exited again. Nor does the SD grant the aircraft free circulation status for a six-month period, which is a common misunderstanding when using the TA procedure.
The SD is only valid as long as the aircraft has not left the EU and for a maximum of six months. A new SD must be processed upon the next entry even though there is still some time left out of the six months mentioned in the field “period for discharge”.The six months mentioned here is the maximum stay of the specific entry whereupon the form is stamped (in customs terms; period for discharge). Again, 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.
Will the Supporting Document protect against missing TA compliance and wrong handling of the TA limitations?
The answer is no. The SD cannot endorse TA compliance even though the SD is processed correctly by an EU customs agency. The operator is still obliged to comply with the TA procedure continuously when flying within the EU, and the SD does not grant the aircraft free circulation or a fly freely status for a six-month period, which is a common misunderstanding when using the TA procedure.
Do not waste money on the Supporting Document
The use of the SD can be beneficial as it shows customs that the operator has some kind of understanding of the use of the TA procedure. However, as discussed above, the use of the SD has very limited value, and there are several other cheaper and simpler methods available to document entries or exits.
In the past, operators have, by some advisors/importing companies, been offered a so-called six-months TA pass based on the SD when arriving within the EU. It is our impression that many operators have had the understanding that they bought an approval of TA compliance and/or an endorsement of several entries for six months. In these situations, charging money for such a service seems dishonest as the reality and the real legal understanding of the elements in this six-month TA pass do not correspond with the buyer’s expectations.
We have several times asked the EU Commission and many other EU customs agencies for clarity of this issue, including the HMRC (UK) and Isle of Man customs when these were still a part of the EU. All the above-mentioned elements in the so-called six-month TA pass have, by all parties asked, been rejected as being wrongful use.
So, the conclusion is clear
- The SD does not grant a free circulation status for a six-month period.
- The SD cannot endorse TA compliance or several entries for the six-month period.
- The use of SD alone will not protect the operator against TA non-compliance.
Consequently, it is a far better investment to secure continuous compliance with the TA procedure from the beginning.
The secure approach when using Temporary Admission
Our Secure Temporary Admission procedure is the best tool to quickly prove compliance with the TA procedure if the aircraft is stopped and checked on the ramp in an EU airport, eliminating any unnecessary waiting time while EU customs are perusing the TA compliance. We offer a cost-free introduction and analysis of the owner, user, and operator scenario to find the best option for you when flying within the EU. Please, feel free to contact us at any time.
What is right and wrong?
We acknowledge that there are many different opinions concerning this issue. Still, we are completely confident that the above explanation is strictly correct as it is based upon dialogues and various working papers from the EU Commission, backed by multiple EU customs agencies. Throughout the years, we have seen a tendency to talk down the use of TA in favor of the full importation procedure, which is also available for EU outsiders. Yet, the TA procedure holds numerous advantages compared to full importation if applied correctly.
If you have any doubts about this explanation, simply ask the EU Commission or a competent EU customs agency for guidance instead of consulting importing companies, such as OPMAS. We have ourselves asked for guidance from capable EU regulators several times, and we have never received a reply that did not support our descriptions. Moreover, the TA procedure has since 2014 continuously become a very well-defined customs procedure, especially for corporate and commercial aviation.
How to become ready to use the Temporary Admission procedure?
- Check that the basic preconditions are fulfilled
- Understand the limitations and subjects that must be handled correctly
- Have the relevant paperwork ready onboard the aircraft to document the correct use of TA
- Instruct the pilots so that they are ready to handle a customs ramp check
How can we help?
If you have questions about the above, please do not hesitate to contact us. We offer a cost-free introduction and analysis of the owner, user, and operator scenario to find the best option for you when flying within the EU. Please, feel free to contact us at any time.
List of all OPMAS
Short & Sweet mails:
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 – Temporary Admission is easy and flexible if you know how to use it
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: what to do when arriving in the EU using the Temporary Admission procedure?
Mar 2022 TA
No. 10 – How to handle aircraft maintenance correct in a customs context
Feb 2022 TA FI
No. 9 – Part 1: what to do when arriving in the EU using the Temporary Admission procedure?
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
CEO within the EU
Nov 2020 TA FI