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The date that the Union Customs Code entered into force, 1 May 2016, is now behind us. The "new" European customs legislation has therefore replaced the applicable regulations of the Customs Code (CC) and the associated Implementing Act. You can find a brief compilation of the individual legal regulations that have applied for the organisation of customs processes since 1 May here:


Extract from the official text on the EU website:

  • Streamlining of regulations and processes relating to customs matters
  • Increased legal certainty and uniformity for companies
  • Increased clarity for customs officers across the entire EU
  • Simplification of customs regulations and processes, and simplification of more efficient customs processes in accordance with the current requirements
  • Complete migration of customs authorities to a paperless, purely electronic working environment
  • Increased use of accelerated procedures for legally compliant and reliable economic operators (approved economic operators)


  • Part I: General provisions
  • Part II: Fundamental principles for the assessment of taxes (e.g. origin, transaction value etc.)
  • Part III: Customs debt and securities
  • Part IV: Introduction into the customs territory of the Union
  • Part V: Customs status, transportation, review, transfer and exploitation of goods (e.g. types of customs declarations)
  • Part VI: Release for free circulation and exemption from import duty
  • Part VII: Special procedures (e.g. shipping, customs warehouse, inward processing etc.)
  • Part VIII: Bringing goods out of the customs territory of the Union
  • Part IX: IT, simplifications, delegation, Committee procedure, final provisions
  • UCC appendix: Correlation table (comment: Comparison between new articles and the corresponding articles from the "old" legislation)


The basic legislation in the UCC is formalised by two additional legislative acts. The creation of two separate legislative acts is based on the Lisbon Treaty. It was agreed here that a simplified and accelerated procedure must be found for "non-essential" changes or adaptations to the basic legislative act. For this reason, a separation was established between the procedure at EU level (EU Commission + Parliament/Council) and the "lengthy" Committee procedure with the direct involvement of the member states.

Delegated Act

The Delegated Act regulates in detail the passages of the legislation covering questions relating to "what" and "when" (e.g. deadlines, data content etc.). This Act includes provisions relating to general customs features such as evaluations and rules of origin. It also includes comprehensive regulations on the digitalisation of customs processes.

The Delegated Act was officially published on 29 December 2015 with the Official Journal of the European Union No. L 343.

Implementing Act

The Implementing Act regulates the uniform conditions for the implementation of the UCC (i.e. questions relating to "how") in accordance with Article 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.

Appendix B to the Delegated Act and the Implementing Act

In order to submit customs declarations and to submit the associated prescribed data in a legally compliant manner, the content and respective format must be clearly regulated. Appendix B to the Delegated Act/Implementing Act will be responsible for this in future. Appendix B sets out the data requirements for the individual customs declarations. Why is this Appendix attached to both legislative acts? For the Delegated Act, Appendix B regulates the actual content of the individual data fields (e.g. details of the gross mass). For the Implementing Act, Appendix B sets out the stipulations for formats and field lengths (for example, the number of digits or decimal places for the gross mass = here: n..16.6).

Appendix B is also included in the Official Journal L 343/2015 for the Delegated Act/Implementing Act.


One of the important changes (Article 6 of the UCC) is the policy that all declarations, decisions and notifications must be made electronically. To this end, comprehensive IT solutions must be created in the future, or existing systems adapted to meet the new requirements. All of the necessary IT systems are listed in the "UCC Work Programme" As well as the descriptions of the individual projects, the list also contains various dates. The date specified for the end of the development phase and the associated start of real operation is of particular importance. The date specified in this list forms the basis for the real operation for all involved parties, i.e. the EU + member state systems + applications with economic operators. National planning (for ATLAS in Germany) must therefore be based on this date.

Current status: In consultation with the member states, the UCC Work Programme was adopted during a meeting of the Customs Code Committee on 8 March 2016. The final text has now been published, and can be found in the Official Journal of the European Union L099 from 15.04.2016.


In order to transfer all existing processes, simplifications and open transactions from the "old" customs world to the "new" UCC era in a sensible manner and without any major inefficiencies, various transitional provisions have been put in place for the UCC.

Administrative transition

Within the respective final provisions of the Delegated Act (Art. 250 et. seq.) or the Implementing Act (Article 345 et. seq.), transitional mechanisms were defined; in particular ones that describe in more detail how to handle or continue with existing permits and open procedures. Regulations have also been set out there in relation to how permit re-evaluations should be performed, and by which defined deadlines.

Technical transition

As the guiding principles for the use of electronic systems have been set out, but these systems are in part not yet available or do not meet the new requirements, comprehensive transitional regulations must be made explicitly for this area. To this end, European legislature has created the so-called Transitional Delegated Act – TDA. The transitional regulations within this act govern the procedure for the application of the individual legal requirements of the UCC up until the point where the necessary IT solutions have been established.

The TDA has been adopted by Parliament and the Council, and the official publication of the TDA took place in the Official Journal of the European Union L69 on 15 March 2016.


To support the interpretation of the new legislation and to allow for better understanding of the regulations, the EU Commission is creating comprehensive guidelines. To this end, the differences between the new and the "old" legislation are presented in details for various different areas (simplifications, import/export, special processes, securities etc.). The guidelines also contain clarifications designed to ensure uniform application of the legislation

The complete guidelines on UCC + Delegated Act/Implementing Act will be provided on 1 May 2016, the day on which the UCC takes effect


Incomplete extract of the most important changes within the new customs legislation

  • Sum for one-off guarantee = now EUR 10,000
  • Temporary storage
    • 90-day deadline for all modes of transport
    • Permit required
    • Security must be provided (exemption from security provision requirement, where applicable)
    • "Custodian changeover“ possible with very tight limits; one criterion = AEO C is required
  • Entry with exemption from the provision of goods is also only to be granted under strict conditions
    • AEO C required
    • Practically infeasible with exports, as only possible if no risk data needs to be sent
    • No longer applicable for procedure 42/45/63
  • Additional simplifications
    • Centralised customs clearance
    • Self-assessment
  • Processing under customs surveillance merged with inward processing
    • No more compensatory interest
      • Still only suspension system
  • No more first sale for export = the "last" sale for export to the EU is binding for the transaction value
  • Simplifications are heavily linked to the status of the AEO