Customs FAQ

Customs FAQ

In our customs FAQ it is easy to find answers to all questions you have about or regarding customs matters. Our customs specialists have answered the most frequently asked questions in a clear FAQ.

Our customs FAQ gives you all the information you need before settling customs matters. Here we answer the most frequently asked questions about various documents, certificates & statements. We also give you extra information that you might not have thought of yourself. For example, we answer questions such as; what is a EUR.1 certificate? Why do I need a T2L document? Or what is the AEO status you have?

Our specialists have checked all questions and answers and ensure that the information is accurate and current. If the answer to your question is not in our FAQ, simply contact one of our specialists. They are happy to help you!

Questions & Answers

The most common questions are detailed in the diagram below. The answers to the questions have been checked by our specialists for accuracy and whether they are up to date. Is your question / answer not listed? Then contact us!

What are export documents?

If you do business internationally you will have to deal with it: export documents. There are many types of export documents that are used for different purposes. Usually, the customer abroad asks for certain export documents to save on the import duties in his country. This is because the government abroad has then made trade agreements with, for example, Europe. The recipient abroad must then be able to demonstrate where the goods come from and / or were produced. The export documents serve this purpose. Customs can also ask for certain export documents when you are going to export goods. We prepare various types of export documents.

Which export documents are there?

Our customs department provides the following services:

  • Certificate of Origin - C.v.O.
  • EUR.1 Certificate
  • EUR-MED Certificate
  • Document legalization
  • Signature legalization
  • Certification of documents

In addition to the Origin documents, an Export declaration and Import declaration must of course also be made. These are things that must be declared to Customs.

  • For more information, see:
  • How does an export declaration work?
  • How does an import declaration work?

In addition, there is also ATA-Carnet and Form A documents, the latter 2 we do not prepare. We can advise you on this.

What is a EUR.1 certificate?

Your customer often asks for a EUR.1 document to reduce import duties. This is because the European Union has concluded trade agreements with a large number of countries. The recipient of the goods can then import the goods at lower import duties. Your goods must then have the Preferential EU Origin. (see the question “what is the difference between Preferential Origin and Non-Preferential Origin?”) We prepare EUR.1 certificates for you so that you no longer have to worry about it.

What is a EUR-MED certificate?

An EUR-MED certificate resembles a EUR.1 certificate and is valid in countries that have signed the Pan-Euro-Mediterrana agreement. This agreement makes it possible to count the raw materials and products of Preferential Origin from these countries for the Determination of Origin. (We call this cumulation) A EUR-MED is used instead of an EUR.1 and offers more possibilities if you re-export to a country within the country group where the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean agreement applies.

What is a Certificate of Origin (C.v.O.)?

A CoO declares in which country a product is made. You often need a Certificate of Origin if you export to countries outside the EU. Without a C.v.O. you may experience difficulties when the products are imported into the destination country. This is mainly due to certain trade embargoes that countries close against each other. With a Certificate of Origin C.v.O. can the recipient of the goods in Iraq prove that they are, for example, goods from the EU. We make a C.v.O. quickly and cheaply for you!

What is an ATR certificate?

An ATR certificate is used specifically for trade with Turkey. The conclusion of a Customs agreement between the European Union and Turkey has made it much cheaper to import and export goods between these countries. Most goods can then be imported into both areas without paying import duties. The origin (note, so not the origin - see the question “What is the difference between Origin and Origin?”) Must then be from the EU or Turkey.

What is a T2L document?

A T2L document is a so-called origin document. It shows that the products listed in it were the last to be in free circulation in the EU. This document is important when goods are shipped overseas from one customs territory to another. For example, you supply Parasols to a customer in Mallorca. The umbrellas are transported but have to be overseas. When the ship arrives in Mallorca, Customs assumes that the goods come from a third country (eg from the United States) and the recipient would have to pay import duties. With a T2L or T2LF, the customer can then demonstrate that the goods come from the EU and no import duties have to be paid.

What is a Carnet ATA or ATA-Carnet?

The ATA-Carnet is an international Customs document. You can see this as a kind of passport for your goods. This can prevent a lot of delay and administrative hassle during temporary exports. Many countries outside the EU accept such a document. You mainly use an ATA-Carnet for the following goods:

  • Samples and advertising material
  • Exhibition material
  • Tools for on-site installation or maintenance of goods.
  • Musical instruments or attributes for theater and theater as well as photo, video and film material

The big advantage of an ATA Carnet is that you do not have to pay import duties, VAT or deposits. You bring something to a third country but also collect it. Normally, customs in the country in question wants to levy import duties, but this is not necessary now because the goods leave the country again after a while. You can prove this by means of an ATA-Carnet.

Example: Suppose you have a theater performance in New Zealand. For this you have to bring all kinds of attributes and musical instruments to New Zealand. After the performance, the goods are returned to the Netherlands. By means of the ATA-Carnet you do not have to pay import duties when the goods arrive in New Zealand. When transporting back to the Netherlands, the same document is stamped and it is clear to Customs in New Zealand that the goods have only been there temporarily.

What is a pro forma invoice?

This is an invoice for the shipment of the goods that is sent to the recipient. The buyer is thus informed of the type of goods, weight, value and specifications of the goods to be shipped.

What is a Consular Invoice?

Certain foreign governments want to exercise more control over imports, they can do this by requiring a consular invoice to be issued. This is an invoice certified by the consulate of the country. It contains a very detailed overview of the goods to be shipped.

How does an export declaration work?

If you sell goods to a customer outside the EU, you must prepare an export declaration. You can do this yourself if you have suitable software for it, but it is often outsourced to the transporter or customs broker. We are an AEO-F certified Customs Forwarder. We can therefore prepare the export declaration for you. We do this completely digitally and are sent automatically via a link with Customs. We then receive feedback from Customs almost immediately, in which 3 variants can be distinguished:

  • The declaration has fallen WHITE: the declaration has been approved immediately and you can start transporting the goods.
  • The declaration has fallen ORANGE: the declaration has not yet been fully approved, additional information must be sent. For example an export invoice. Customs will reassess the documents. The goods may not yet be transported immediately.
  • The declaration has fallen RED: Customs is coming to inspect the goods. When making the export declaration, the location of the goods is indicated, where Customs will come to check the goods.

Customs checks less often for export declarations than for import declarations. Because we have AEO-F status, Customs checks even less often.

How does an import declaration work?

If you want to import goods from a country outside the EU, you must declare the goods to Customs if they want to end up in free circulation. For example: you are importing goods from Russia. The goods are transported by truck from Moscow to your warehouse. When the goods have arrived there, we can submit the import declaration to Customs. We will then digitally send in the import declaration, which includes the details of the shipment and the place where the goods are now. The import duties must also be paid immediately. We will then almost immediately receive feedback from Customs with one of the following reports:

  • The declaration has fallen WHITE: the declaration has been approved immediately, the declarant receives an UTB (Invitation to Payment) and there is a message “Terminated Verification” and the amount that is due in taxes. If you use our services, we briefly advance these taxes for you and then calculate this to you.
  • The declaration has fallen ORANGE: the declaration has not yet been fully approved, additional information must be sent. For example, the invoice or other documents. Customs checks this again and then determines whether the goods are WHITE or RED. During the Orange status, the goods are not yet at your free disposal.
  • The declaration has fallen RED: Customs comes to carry out a physical check, so they come to the place described in the declaration and check whether everything is correct. For example, they can take samples, count the packages and check whether you have actually stated what you actually stated on your import declaration.
What is Origin Determination?

The origin of goods is determined by the place of production. Each product or product group (raw materials, semi-finished and finished products) has been given a statistical number to facilitate international trade. Customs ultimately determines which statistical number applies to certain goods. Customs also determines the import duties on the basis of the statistical number. If the goods are made in different countries, it is better to contact one of our customs specialists by telephone. This is complex matter.

What is the difference between Preferential Origin and Non-Preferential Origin?

Unfortunately, these rules are also quite complex. To go deeply into the matter is too complicated. But we'll try to explain what the difference is by a simple example.

Imagine you are selling wooden furniture. You import the wood from Brazil and the screws from Russia and produce a cupboard from the materials here in the Netherlands. If the value of all materials from third countries used does not exceed 40% of the ex-factory price of your cabinet, your cabinet has the preferential Origin EU.

So you buy the wood for € 100 in Brazil and for € 25 the screws in Russia. In the Netherlands you have € 150 in wages for screwing together. In addition, you would like to take a profit of € 50 on the cupboard. The sales price of the cabinet ex works is then € 325. 40% of this is € 130, you stayed below that because you only imported € 125 worth of materials from third countries. Your product is therefore of Preferential EU origin. Another criterion is that the goods receive a different statistical code when the product is ready. You imported wood and screws, both of which fall under a specific statistic number, but you sell furniture. That's another statistic number.

Suppose you import the actual cabinet from Brazil instead of the parts of the cabinet, what happens then? Suppose you buy the cupboard for € 200. In the Netherlands you can paint the cabinet with Dutch paint for € 25 and you have € 50 in labor costs. In addition, you would like to earn € 50 on the cupboard. The selling price of your cupboard is therefore € 325. Your cabinet cannot receive a Preferential EU Origin because it does not meet the set criteria. It does not fall under any other statistic code and you have imported more than 40% of the materials from third countries. 40% of the ex-factory price is € 130 and you bought the material from a third country for € 200.

You can imagine that it is a complicated matter, if you make a complex machine with many different parts that are produced all over the world, there is a lot of calculation involved to determine whether or not Preferential Origin is applicable. Contact us, our customs specialists can tell you a lot more about it.

What does an invoice statement entail?

Sometimes it is not necessary to prepare a Eur1 document. If the value of the goods is less than € 6000, - (or for Tunisia € 5110, -), an invoice statement will suffice. The importer of your goods in the relevant contracting country will then already be entitled to a reduction or even exemption from the import duty. The goods must then comply with the rules of origin. Do you want to know what you need to state to comply with these rules? Get in touch with us!

Which countries / areas are there?

The EU has made agreements with, among others, the following countries or regions:

  • Africa
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Caribbean and South Pacific
  • Ceuta
  • Chili
  • Egypt
  • Faroe Islands
  • Gaza Strip
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Kosovo
  • Croatia
  • Lebanon
  • Liechtenstein
  • Macedonia
  • Morocco
  • Melilla
  • Mexico
  • Montenegro
  • Norway
  • Serbia
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • West Bank
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
Which countries have signed the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Agreement?

This is important to know if you need to attach a EUR-MED form. The following countries are covered by this agreement:

  • All countries of the EU
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Faroe Islands
  • Liechtenstein
  • Switzerland
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Algarve
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Israel
  • Palestinian Territories
  • Turkey
What is the difference between Community Status and Non-Community Status?

Customs divides goods into 2 types of status: namely Community Status and Non-Community Status. The difference is as follows:

Goods must meet the following Community Status criteria:

A - The goods are wholly obtained in the European Union. These are goods that originated directly in the EU, such as milk that is given by Dutch cows or Wood that comes from German forests, etc. Products made from those goods also have Community status, for example the Yoghurt that is made from the Dutch milk or the table made from German wood. B - Goods imported from a country that is not part of the European Union and then released for free circulation AND for which import duties and other taxes have been paid. These goods may then be traded in free circulation in the EU without further interference from Customs. C - Goods made in the EU, or combination of goods and products from points A and B.

All other goods have a non-Community Status. These goods are under Customs supervision.

What is a supplier's declaration 1207/2001?

This is a statement from a supplier indicating preferential origin. Suppose you sell a machine made in Portugal to a customer in Egypt. Portugal is part of the EU and you must send a EUR1 certificate for the customer in Egypt. You can demonstrate by means of a supplier's declaration 1207/2001 that the supplier of the goods does indeed come from the EU, namely Portugal.

What is an AEO (Authorized Economic Operator) status?

The status Authorized Economic Operator actually arose after the attacks of September 11 in the US. International attention to security has sharpened considerably in the time after the attacks and the concept of “security” has been given a place in European Customs legislation. All companies that have goods movements with countries outside the EU have to deal with this. It is also the next step for Dutch Customs to achieve more cooperation with the business community. Customs wants to work with the business community to achieve safe and ethical cross-border flows of goods.

You don't get an AEO Status just like that, you have to meet a whole range of requirements that are continuously checked. But if you can comply with this, you can receive an AEO certificate and you will be considered reliable by Customs.

There are 3 types of AEO certificates:

  • The Customs Simplification certificate
  • The Safety certificate
  • The combined certificate (Both Customs Simplification and Security)

TTS Quality Logistics is proud of the fact that we were one of the first Customs Forwarders in the Netherlands to receive the combined certificate (AEO-F).

The certificate offers many advantages. Among other things, legal benefits (such as fewer physical checks), Commercial Benefits (Proof that you are doing business with a reliable partner), International benefits (in the future 1 unanimous Customs security program will be developed of which the AEO is part) as well as Efficiency Benefits (improved work processes and better tracking of goods and capital).

Which Incoterm should I use?

If you sell goods, you must also agree on the delivery conditions, which you do by means of the so-called Incoterms. The latest version of the Incoterms are those of 2020. We have specified all Incoterms on a special page. Click on: Incoterms 2020 explained and we will tell you exactly how it works.

What is the office of exit?

You must enter the office of exit when drawing up an export declaration. The office of exit is the Customs office where the goods leave the European Union. There could be many. The transporter always knows the office of exit, because it also depends on which route is being taken. We will explain this with an example:

Imagine you are going to transport goods to Russia by truck. The goods have to leave the EU somewhere, at which point a Carnet-TIR, for example, is drawn up and the car is “closed” by means of a TIR cord. It is then no longer possible to load and unload goods. This TIR-Carnet can be drawn up at many times. This is possible at the border of Poland with Belarus, but also at the border in Oldenzaal. When the TIR carnet is drawn up, the goods have left the EU and that customs office is then the office of exit.

Another example: Suppose you are going to transport goods by ship from the Netherlands to Malaysia. The goods will then leave the EU in Rotterdam. Rotterdam will then be the office of exit stated in the export declaration.


TTS for customs matters and transport

TTS not only takes care of your customs matters, but can also arrange transport. TTS has a customs department and a transport department. This allows us to take care of your entire logistics process!

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