COMMERCIAL AND CORPORATE FLYING WITHIN THE EUROPEAN UNION
Theme page about full importation
We have compiled all the relevant links and information on this page for your easy access
Latest content added March 2021
Any aircraft flying into the European Union (EU) only will fly under EU customs control either using the TA regulation or full importation. There are no other options.
All private individuals and corporations regardless of nationality and residency can use full importation and act as the importer but some procedures require full payment of the VAT at 15-27% of the value of the aircraft. The full importation procedures are available in all 27 EU member states, but the practical handling and preconditions are often different. Full importation is mandatory for EU insiders which means that the aircraft is either owned, registered, operated, based or mainly used within the EU (just one criterion must be fulfilled). On the other hand, full importation is optional for EU outsiders, where the aircraft is both owned, registered, operated, based outside the EU (all criteria must be fulfilled). Non-compliance will most likely activate a direct payment of the VAT and customs duty.
We will continuously add extra resources to this theme page, so please stay tuned.
How to be ready to use full importation?
The importer will initially need to have a thorough dialogue with an importation expert in order to clarify the case details fully and look at the options. Everyone must know the exact preconditions and consequences of reclaiming the VAT or using the airline VAT exemption before a choice is made. Please be aware of that full importation includes a potential VAT/tax-liability and requires continuously correct handling of any worldwide non-business use and does typically require 5 years of correct economic activity and 7 years of record-keeping, but only as long as the aircraft is owned and/or operated by the same entity.
Always ask first
Our advice has always been to ask the local tax authorities for a binding advance tax ruling prior to any importation/admission in order to eliminate any doubt about the outcome. All cases have different details and a binding advance tax ruling will also consider all new European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgements. Even if you have a fully working set-up, we believe, an importation/admission without a binding advance tax ruling from the EU member state into which the aircraft is to be imported, is too great a risk to take. Many points/uncertainties could easily be covered by simply asking and you should walk away from any service provider that refuses to provide a binding advance tax ruling.
How can we help?
Please, ask OPMAS about the service we provide to support users of full importation. Our service covers much more than handling necessary customs paperwork. It is a turnkey solution for aircraft owners and operators who want to fly within the EU. Firstly, we analyze the owner/operator scenario to secure compliance with customs regulation and provide guidance for the correct use of full importation. Hereafter, we secure the specific set-up and take care of all supporting customs paperwork. Finally, we give specific instructions to crew and ops on how to fly within the EU including free support as long the aircraft is operated in the recommended way.
Explainer video on how to fly within the European Union…
We recommend viewing the video in full screen mode, especially if viewed on a phone or a smaller device.
Link collection for full importation
OPMAS Short & Sweet mails
Short & Sweet mail no. 3: Is a full importation needed in both the UK and the EU27? |
Should an aircraft be imported in both the UK and the EU? Is dual importation a trap or a flexible approach? What are the gains and the risks?
Short & Sweet no. 2: Flying commercially within the EU | Added Feb 2021
Can Temporary Admission be used to fly commercially? (YES!). What is the real difference between Temporary Admission and full importation in this context? Which limitations disappeared in 2016?
Short & Sweet no. 1: Flying with the CEO within the EU | Added Nov 2020
What are the consequences and the pitfalls? How to get the greatest flexibility?
Start here to get an intro to Temporary Admission and full importation.
Gives you a quick overview in aircraft importation and admission in the European Union. Please see the ‘Short Stories’ and ‘What are the 10 typical errors and misunderstandings’ for a deeper insight.
About the “airline” VAT exemption| Updated Oct 2019
Our interpretation of the judgement from the European Court of Justice which allows 0% VAT full importation for international charter operators.
About EU VAT | Updated Feb 2017
Read this review if you want to get a quick overview of the European Union VAT system.
OPMAS Short articles and stories
The short story about full importation | Updated Oct 2019
These short stories are meant to only focus on important subjects with the use of short statements in order to give the reader a quick overview and a deeper insight.
Full importation: what are the 10 typical errors and misunderstandings? | Updated Oct 2019
We have compiled the most typical errors and misunderstandings in the list below and have included a short explanation and a link to access for further information.
OPMAS Quick Guides
Private and corporate aircraft / Part 91 operators or similar | Updated Nov 2017
The Quick Guide covers the typical case where an aircraft is owned/operated by a company or legal entity and used for private and corporate purposes.
International AOC / Part 135 charter certificate holders or similar | Updated Oct 2019
The Quick Guide covers the typical case where an aircraft is operated commercially by international AOC Part 135/ charter certificate holders.