On the basis of Article 39 UCC, the AEO status can be granted to any economic operator meeting the following common criteria:
- record of compliance with customs legislation and taxation rules, including no record of serious criminal offences relating to the economic activity of the applicant,
- demonstration of a high level of control of its operations and of the flow of the goods, by means of a system of managing commercial and, where appropriate, transport records, which allows appropriate customs controls,
- proven financial solvency.
And depending on the type of AEO status
- practical standards of competence or professional qualifications directly related to the
- activity carried out (AEOC),
- appropriate security and safety standards (AEOS).
Compliance – 39(a)
The applicant company or the people in charge of the company should not have committed any serious infringement or repeated infringements of customs legislation and taxation rules over the last three years preceding the application. If the applicant has been established for less than three years, we will assess the compliance on the basis of records and information that are available. The applicant´s compliance with the rules will be assessed by us on the basis on our records.
The same applies if the people exercising control over the applicant company are established or resident in a third country. In this case we judge their compliance with the requirements on the basis of records and information that are available to us.
Accounting and logistical system – 39 (b)
The company shall maintain an accounting system which is consistent with the generally accepted accounting principles applied in the Member State where the accounts are held and which will facilitate audit-based customs control. To be able to carry out the necessary checks, Customs will need physical or electronic access to your customs and, where appropriate, transport records. The company shall have a logistical system which distinguishes between Union and non-Union goods. It should also be possible to create an audit trail of any business transaction in your system, from the placement of an order to the payment of the corresponding invoice.
Financial solvency – 39 (c)
By financial solvency we mean a good financial standing which is sufficient to fulfil the commitments of your company, with due regard to the characteristics of the type of business activity.
If your company has been established for less than three years, we will judge your financial solvency on the basis of records and information that are available.
Competence- 39 (d)
The applicant should be able to display competence in the area of customs. The criteria can be met either by practical standards of competence or professional qualifications. All concrete possibilities to demonstrate compliance with any of the two conditions (practical standards of competence or professional qualifications) are equally sufficient and can be chosen by the applicant. The person in charge of the applicant's customs matters can be an employee of the applicant or a contracted person. The applicant has to prove that the contracted person is actually the one in charge of the applicant's customs matters.
Security and safety – 39 (d)
The company policy shall demonstrate a high-level awareness on security and safety measures, internally and in your business activities with clients, suppliers and external service providers. Before the authorisation, you should therefore prepare a description of the present situation, with the purpose of identifying the risks and threats which might occur in the part of the supply chain in which you are operating. You should also look into the measures you have taken to minimise these risks and threats.
Documented procedures and self-monitoring
As a key part of the authorisation process, your company must be able to show that you have adequate internal procedures in place for the management of customs and/or security and safety matters. All procedures must be documented either electronically or in paper form. They must be known within the organisation, available to all users and continuously updated.
The company must also have an internal control system in place in order to ensure that all procedures covered by the certification are correct, work properly and are followed by all staff. Self-monitoring procedures must be in place and specific people must be assigned as responsible for the monitoring activities, regarding customs matters as well as security and safety. The self-monitoring activities shall include continual checks of customs declarations, checks of the traceability of goods and measures to ensure that all goods are entered into the company’s records. For Security and Safety certifications, the self-monitoring activities shall also cover IT security.
To ensure that you always use the latest version of the documented procedures, there should be guidelines in place for the versioning of them. When a procedure has been documented, the following information should always be included at the top of the document;
- The version of the procedure, for example "Version1"
- The date when it was established
- Name of the person who decided that the procedure should be used.
When the procedure is updated, you follow the same concept: ‘Version1.1´etc. in consecutive order, date of decision and decision-maker. To make it possible to follow the development of the procedures, you should also briefly describe what has been changed since the last version.
If the procedure needs to be rewritten rather than updated, you indicate this by numbering it ‘Version2´, followed by date of decision and decision-maker.