Customs status

Customs status determines the taxation of goods, application of commercial policy measures and the completion of customs formalities, depending on whether they are Estonian or foreign goods. Estonian goods lose the customs status of Estonian goods when the goods are taken out of the customs territory. Change in the customs status of goods does not change the origin of goods.

Customs status of Union goods

The EU’s single market democracy is based on the principle of free movement of goods, services, persons and capital, and the concept of the customs status of Union goods is closely linked to the above. In accordance with the principle of approach to goods having the customs status of Union goods set out in Article 153(1) of the Union Customs Code (UCC), all goods in the customs territory of the Union are to be regarded as Union goods unless it is established that they are not Union goods.
Union goods are goods falling within one of the following categories (Article 5(23) of the UCC):

A) goods wholly obtained in the customs territory of the Union and not incorporating goods imported from countries or territories outside the customs territory of the Union;

B) goods brought into the territory of the Union from countries or territories outside the customs territory of the Union and released for free circulation;

C) goods obtained or produced in the customs territory of the Union, either solely from goods referred to in point (b) or from goods referred to in points (a) and (b).

Additional information

Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council

hereinafter referred to as the UCC (Title V, Chapter 1)

Commission delegated regulation (EU) 2015/2446

hereinafter referred to as the Regulation (EU) 2015/2446 (Title V, Chapter 1)

Commission implementing regulation (EU) 2015/2447

hereinafter referred to as the Regulation (EU) 2015/2447 (Title V, Chapter 1)

Commission delegated regulation (EU) 2016/341

hereinafter referred to as the Regulation (EU) 2016/341 (Chapter V, Section 1)

Convention on a Common transit procedure Transit Manual

Union goods will become non-Union goods in the following cases (Article 154 of the UCC):

  • the goods are taken out of the customs territory of the Union and the rules on internal transit do not apply;
  • the goods have been placed under the external transit procedure, a storage procedure or the inward processing procedure;
  • the goods have been placed under the end-use procedure and are either subsequently abandoned to the State, or are destroyed and waste remains;
  • the declaration for release for free circulation is invalidated after release of the goods.


Union goods may move, without being subject to a customs procedure, from one point to another within the customs territory of the Union and temporarily out of that territory without alteration of their customs status in the following cases (Article 155(2) of the UCC; Article 119(2) of the Regulation (EU) 2015/2446):

  • where the goods are carried by air and have been loaded or transhipped at a Union airport for consignment to another Union airport, provided that they are carried under cover of a single transport document issued in a Member State;

  • where the goods are carried by sea and have been shipped between Union ports by a regular shipping service;

  • where the goods are carried by rail and have been transported through a third country which is a contracting party to the Convention on a common transit procedure under cover of a single transport document issued in a Member State and such a possibility is provided for in an international agreement.

Union goods may move, without being subject to a customs procedure, from one point to another within the customs territory of the Union and temporarily out of that territory without alteration of their customs status in the following cases provided that their customs status of Union goods is proven: (Article 119(3) of the Regulation (EU) 2015/2446 ):

  • the goods have been brought by sea or air;

  • the goods have been moved from one point in the territory of the Union to another through a territory outside the customs territory of the Union under cover of a single transport document issued in a Member State;

  • goods which have been brought from one point to another within the customs territory of the Union through a territory outside the customs territory of the Union and were transhipped outside the customs territory of the Union on a means of transport other than that onto which they were initially loaded with a new transport document being issued, covering carriage from the territory outside the customs territory of the Union, provided that the new document is accompanied by a copy of the original single transport document;

  • motorised road vehicles registered in a Member State which have temporarily left and re-entered the customs territory of the Union;

  • packaging, pallets and other similar equipment, excluding containers, belonging to a person established in the customs territory of the Union which are used for the transport of goods that have temporarily left and re-entered the customs territory of the Union;

  • goods in baggage carried by a passenger which are not intended for commercial use and have temporarily left and re-entered the customs territory of the Union.

EXAMPLES 
  • Carriage of goods by rail from Poland through Russia and back to the territory of the Union. A transport document drawn up accordingly may constitute a single transport contract.
  • Shipping from Finland to Estonia on a non-regular shipping service. The sea is considered as a third country. The shipping manifest of the corresponding goods may constitute a single transport contract.

The documents proving the customs status of Union goods and the rules on proof of customs status cannot be applied in respect of goods for which the export formalities have been completed or which have been placed under the outward processing procedure. (Article 199(6) of the Regulation (EU) 2015/2447).

Endorsement by customs of documents proving the customs status of Union goods

When proof of the customs status of Union goods (the T2L/T2LF document, invoice and transport document or shipping company manifest) are endorsed by customs authorities, the endorsement will contain:

  • stamp of the customs office
  • signature of the customs official
  • document registration number
  • date

Endorsements on the T2L document are entered in box ‘C’ of the document (the office of departure).

Proof of the customs status of Union goods by the authorised issuer and authorisation to draw up a “day-after” manifest

  • Proof of the customs status of Union goods by an authorised issuer (Articles 55 of the Regulation (EU) 2016/341 (Articles 128, 128a and 128b of the Regulation (EU) 2015/2446).
  • Authorisation to draw up a “day-after” manifest (article 204 of the Regulation (EU) 2015/2447; articles 128c and 128d of the Regulation (EU) 2015/2446 )

The customs authorities may authorise any person established in the customs territory of the Union (“the authorised issuer”) who applies to be authorised to establish the customs status of Union goods by means of an invoice or a transport document relating to goods having the customs status of Union goods which value exceeds EUR 15 000, of a T2L or a T2LF document or of a shipping company's manifest, to use such documents without having to present them for endorsement to the competent customs office.

The authorised issuer will complete and sign the form at the time of dispatch of goods at the latest, enter on the invoice or transport document or in box D of the T2L document the name and code of the customs office responsible for customs supervision, the date and include a note: “Authorised consignor” The proof of the customs status of Union goods must be stamped by the authorised issuer with a special stamp approved by the customs authorities.

The customs authorities can authorise international shipping companies meeting the conditions laid down in Article 128d of the Regulation (EU) 2015/2446 to draw up the shipping company’s manifest after departure, but in any case before the ship arrives at the port of destination (the “day-after” manifest).

Special cases

  • The T2L document can be issued to Andorra, San Marino and Turkey with which the Customs Union has concluded cooperation agreements to prove the customs status of Union goods when necessary. In the case of Turkey, the customs status of Union goods may be proved by means of an A.TR. movement certificate in the case of direct transport of goods between two parts of the customs union.
  • Belgium, Spain, Greece and Poland issue T2L documents in print from their electronic system. The printouts must be presented to the customs authorities as proof of the status of Union goods and the customs authorities will verify the validity of the T2L documents.

Last updated: 02.11.2021

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