Please note: certain elements in this document may have changed recently.
On 1 May 2016, the Union Customs Code (UCC) and its implementing provisions replaced the former Community Customs Code (CCC).
Recent issues of the Bulletin Officiel des Douanes (Official Customs Bulletin) and UCC fact sheets are available on the following web page: CDU - Bibliographie des nouveautés depuis le 1er mai 2016 [French version].
Export procedures are only necessary when you are shipping goods to non-EU countries or to France's overseas départements. Goods shipped to another EU Member State are part of intra-Community trade, which is not subject to customs export procedures (see "Formalities for intra-Community trade").
Export procedures relating to exported goods must be accomplished in a customs office, known as a clearance office. Exit procedures must be accomplished in an office of departure, or an office that is authorised to carry out such procedures.
Customs export procedures to accomplish in a clearance office
Unless there is justifiable cause, at the time of export, customs procedures need to be completed at the customs office with which the exporter is registered, or where the goods have been packaged or loaded into a container or the means of transport.
The export declaration must be filed online. In certain cases, your export declaration must include data required for safety and security purposes.
The clearance office processes the export declaration and sometimes inspects the goods. It then issues an authorisation to remove the goods, known as a mainlevée (release permit). The goods are then taken to the office of departure. Their arrival must be notified by the holder of the goods, to allow the office of departure to monitor the actual exit of the goods.
The goods in question must leave the customs territory of the EU in the condition in which they were presented at the time the export declaration was approved.
Regardless of the means for transporting the goods and the place where they are cleared for export (depending on whether the clearance procedure was local or office-based), they must be accompanied by one of the following documents up to the point where they leave the customs territory of the Community:
- The Export Accompanying Document (EAD) or copy 3 of the Single Administrative Document (SAD) in the case the fall-back procedure is used;
- The Accompanying Document (AccDoc) as part of the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) for goods exported to EFTA countries (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland) and placed under the Community/common transit procedure, or copies 4, 5 and 7 of the SAD, or two copies of the AccDoc in case the NCTS fall-back procedure is used;
- The TIR Carnet, or any other document authorised as part of a simplified transit procedure or a re-export procedure of third-party products as part of special customs procedures known as "economic regimes".
The exporter is the person responsible for the entire operation, right up to the exit certificate, which is issued electronically. Exporters are required to monitor the export operations and to ensure that the supply chain is secure so that customs procedures can be correctly carried out.
Monitoring the exit of goods from the EU via the office of departure
The customs office of departure is the office from which goods leave the customs territory of the EU. The office is tasked with ensuring that goods which have been the subject of a normal export declaration have effectively left EU territory. It is also in charge of ensuring that goods do not leave EU customs territory without having been through the export procedure.
The holder of the goods notifies the customs office of departure of the arrival of goods for which a release permit for export has been issued.
The customs office of departure ensures that the goods that are presented correspond to the goods that were declared.
The carrier notifies the office of departure, by electronic means, of the exit of the goods. The office checks that the goods have physically left EU territory, and notifies the export office of this. When it receives this exit confirmation, the export office issues an electronic exit certificate. Exporters use this exit certification to justify a request to the tax authorities to be exonerated from paying VAT.
Cases where the clearance office is also considered to be the office of departure:
- When the clearance office is also a border office. The procedures are the same as those accomplished in any office of departure.
Cases where an office other than the effective office can be considered as the office of departure:
- When the goods are covered by a transport contract terminating in a non-EU country (single transport contract) that was drawn up by a rail transport company, the postal authorities, a maritime company or an airline, the office where the single transport contract was drawn up shall be considered to be the office of departure.
There are two main aspects of single transport contracts:
- Only one transport company (railway, maritime, air or postal) is responsible for transporting the goods to their destination in a non-EU country;
- The transport company is party to the contract and assumes its responsibilities, i.e. legal liability with respect to the customs authorities, particularly in the case of irregularities.
In such cases, the office where the single transport contract was drawn up shall be authorised to carry out the exit procedures described above.