Transit, TIR

If you transport goods into the European Union (EU) from outside the EU customs and fiscal territory and no duties have been imposed on them in the EU, the goods have to undergo customs clearance.

Enterprises or individuals can use the transit procedure when they wish to move uncleared goods from one place to another. It is allowed to carry uncleared goods only with the authorisation of the customs authorities. The authorisation is granted to warehousekeepers, transport operators, forwarding agents or holders of goods.

Transit means carrying goods under the customs control. Neither customs duties nor other taxes have been paid on the goods at that period. When you do not wish to pay import duties on your goods at the place of arrival but wish to take goods to a temporary storage facility or to a customs warehouse in order to declare these later, then you will need a transit movement for this. A transit movement can be used as well, if goods are intended to export under a transit procedure from the EU or to another transit country. In addition to the Member States of the EU, the transit countries are also Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Turkey, North Macedonia, Serbia and United Kingdom.

Non-Union goods may be conveyed in the framework of the external Union transit procedure from one place to another in the territory of the EU without paying taxes and applying certain commercial policy measures. In the course of the internal Union transit procedure Union goods may be conveyed from one place to another in the territory of the EU through a country or a territory outside the EU without the change of the customs status. The rules for the Union transit procedure are provided for in the Union Customs Code (UCC), in the Delegated Regulation and the Implementing Regulation of the UCC.

The common transit procedure is used for the movement of goods to a common transit country or through a common transit country and the rules are laid down in the Convention on a Common Transit Procedure of 20 May 1987. The Convention on a Common Transit Procedure is an agreement between the EU and a country associated with the Convention on a Common Transit Procedure.

Important to know

A transit declaration bearing the data relating to security and safety shall be lodged upon import of goods to the customs territory at the border customs office and upon export therefrom, unless the transit procedure is preceded by an export customs procedure.

Upon the transit movement of goods from a temporary storage facility and/or a customs warehouse to another Member State of the EU or an EFTA country (Switzerland, Norway), the data concerning security and safety shall not be submitted.

Anyone who has ever travelled on European roads will recognize the familiar blue and white TIR plate attached to trucks and semi-trailers. For the driver, transport operator and supplier, this plate stands for fast and efficient international transportation by road. TIR - Transport Internationaux Routier  (international road transport of goods).

The main legal instrument governing the TIR procedure is the TIR Convention of 1975, drawn up under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

In the TIR procedure, goods are transported under cover of the internationally recognized customs document (TIR Carnet), which serves both as a proof of guarantee and a customs declaration at customs checks carried out in the countries of departure, transit and destination.

Under Union legislation, the TIR procedure can be used in the Union only for a transit movement that begins or ends outside the customs territory of the Union or is effected between two points in the customs territory of the Union through the territory of a third country.

In the European Union, TIR Carnet holders are obliged to send the preliminary data on goods moving under cover of TIR Carnet electronically to the customs office of departure/ customs office of entry via the transit system (NCTS).

TIR Carnets are issued by the International Road Transport Union (IRU). The IRU designates national member organisations that are required to issue TIR Carnets in their own country. The issuing organisation shall require a guarantee or cash deposit from carriers wishing to use TIR Carnets. In Estonia, the tasks of a national guarantee organisation are entrusted to the Association of Estonian International Road Carriers (ERAA).

The TIR Convention provides for the five pillars of the TIR transit system to ensure minimum interference in the movement of goods and maximum guarantees to customs authorities in all transit countries.

The five pillars of the TIR transit system:

  • Secure vehicles or containers, 
  • international guarantee,
  • TIR Carnet, 
  • Mutual recognition of customs controls, 
  • Controlled access to the TIR procedure.

To holders of transit procedure

The holder of the transit procedure is a person who organizes the transit of goods from the customs office of departure to the customs office of destination.

The transit operation is a facilitation accepted by customs authorities, which can be used by economic operators to move goods across borders or through territories without the payment of duties and taxes, which would otherwise be chargeable on the importation, or exportation of goods.  The external Union transit procedure is used for the duty-free movement of non-Union goods within the customs territory of the EU Member States. 

The transit declaration for placing goods under the transit procedure is accepted at the office of departure and the goods placed under the transit procedure are presented to customs at the office of destination to discharge the transit operation. The holder of the transit procedure is liable for the payment of any duties and charges in the event of irregularities.

The procedure for the operation of the holder of transit procedure is laid down by the Union Customs Code (UCC), UCC implementing acts, Convention on a Common Transit Procedure, Customs Act and other legislation.

Holders of the transit procedure are entitled:

  • to apply for the authorisation to use a guarantee with a reduced amount or to have a guarantee waiver, provided that: 
    • they have carried out regular transit operations;
    • they have good financial standing, which enables them to fulfil their commitments;
  • to act as the holder of the transit procedure in the customs territory of the European Union and the Contracting Parties to the Convention on a common transit procedure, if the guarantee is valid there;
  • not to provide a guarantee where the amount of duty resulting from a customs debt does not exceed 1000 euros per shipment;
  • to end the transit operation at another customs office not indicated on the transit declaration;
  • to lodge the transit declaration on a paper document if the interruption of the information system exceeds 30 minutes;
  • to get back the receipt they have filled in (TC 11) from the customs authority;
  • in justified cases, to ask for a time limit for the extended transit operation at the customs office of departure.

Obligations of holders of the transit procedure

  • at the customs office of departure, when starting a transit operation, to present:
    • a guarantee;
    • the commercial means of transport used for the transit movement;
    • the goods in transit;
    • the customs declarations required for the transit and documents accompanying the goods;
  • to securely deliver the goods in transit from the office of departure to the office of destination within the time limit set;
  • to return the comprehensive guarantee certificate or guarantee waiver certificate to the Tax and Customs Board at the end of the period of validity within 30 calendar days of the date of expiry;
  • to pay the amount of duty resulting from the customs debt when a customs debt has incurred.

Rights and obligations of the Tax and Customs Board

  • To compile a written decision on not granting the right to guarantee within a maximum of 120 calendar days;
  • to issue one or more comprehensive guarantee or guarantee waiver certificates where the customs authority has authorised the use of the comprehensive guarantee or guarantee waiver;
  • on a regular basis, to verify the adequacy of the amount of the comprehensive guarantee provided;
  • to issue a claim for a guarantee in the event of an individual guarantee deposit;
  • to issue a claim for an additional guarantee where the guarantee amount is not sufficient;
  • in order to monitor the correct implementation of the customs procedure, to keep the transit declaration under supervision after the end of the transit operation until the transit procedure has been discharged.


NCTS

The transit procedure, from the start of a transit operation to the termination of the procedure, must be carried out electronically. All economic operators engaged in transit operations in the Republic of Estonia can use the electronic system NCTS for the transmission of transit declarations.

In order to transmit transit declarations electronically via NCTS, it is necessary to create a user account and access rights beforehand according to the instructions given in the e-MTA. The legal representative of a company can authorise users in the online services environment e-MTA or at any service bureau of the Tax and Customs Board.  Sample applications and authorisation documents needed for applying for user rights at the service bureaus can be found on our website.

Holders of the transit procedure registered abroad also have the possibility to transmit transit declarations electronically at border customs offices via the Internet: Transmission of transit declarations for unauthenticated persons.
 

Direct links

Transit guarantees

In order to ensure the payment of customs duties and other taxes where a customs debt has incurred in the course of the transit procedure, the holder of the transit procedure must provide a guarantee.   No guarantee is required from state agencies. The holder of the transit procedure must provide a guarantee at the customs office of departure together with the goods and the transit declaration.

The guarantee may be an individual guarantee that secures one transit operation, or a comprehensive guarantee that covers a number of transit operations.

Comprehensive guarantee

Only the guarantee document presented to the customs authority is accepted as a comprehensive guarantee.  Only a person approved by the customs authorities may be a guarantor. The guarantor and the holder of the transit procedure cannot be the same person.

In order to be entitled to use the comprehensive guarantee, a written application and a calculation of the reference amount must be submitted to the Tax and Customs Board.  The right to use the comprehensive guarantee is granted, if:

  • you regularly use the transit procedure and you are able to fulfil your obligations in respect of this procedure;
  • you have not had repeated serious infringements of customs legislation.

Individual guarantee

As an individual guarantee, the Estonian Tax and Customs Board accepts:

  • a deposit by bank card or bank transfer into the Estonian Tax and Customs Board’s account (a cash deposit is not possible);
  • a guarantee document that covers one transit movement from the customs office of departure indicated on the guarantee document to the intended customs office of destination;
  • a voucher issued by the guarantor (not issued in Estonia).

The deposit of an individual guarantee is returned into the bank account of the holder of the transit procedure when the transit procedure has been duly discharged.  The transfer costs are borne by the holder of the transit procedure. The holder of the transit procedure is released from their obligation in respect of the transit movement when the customs office of departure has received a confirming electronic notification from the customs office of destination. 


Guarantors for transit operations are:

  • AS SEB Pank
  • Luminor Bank AS
  • Swedbank AS
  • Salva Kindlustuse AS
  • AAS BTA BALTIC INSUTANCE COMPANY Eesti filiaal

Tallinn, Uus-Sadama 19/13

Mon.-Thu.: 8.30-12.00 and 13.00-16.00
Fri: 8.30-12.00 and 13.00-15.00

Phone: 676 4758, 676 4729, 676 4747

Sillamäe, Tööstuse 14

NB! By prior appointment only! Prior agreement required for a minimum of two calendar days in advance.

Phone: 676 2562, 676 2561, 676 3618

Tartu, Sõpruse pst 4

Mon.-Thu.: 8.30-12.00 and 13.00-16.00
Fri: 8.30-12.00 and 13.00-15.00

Phone: 676 4169, 676 4166, 676 4161

Transit and TIR simplifications

The customs authorities may, upon application, authorise the use of simplifications relating to the placing of goods under the Union transit procedure or to their discharge.

The application can be submitted by persons who meet the following requirements:

  • the applicant is established in the customs territory of the Union;
  • the applicant declares that they will regularly use the Union transit procedures;
  • the applicant fulfils the criteria laid down in Article 39(a), (b) and (d) of the Customs Code.

Applications for the authorisation are lodged in the Customs Decisions System (CDS). All the applications must be accompanied by a completed self-assessment questionnaire with answers to points 1, 3 and 5.

The customs authority takes a decision on whether the application meets the requirements at the latest within 30 days of receipt of the application for authorisation. Generally, authorisations are issued or applications rejected within 120 days of the date of acceptance of the application (Article 22 of the Union Customs Code).


Contact persons

The status of authorised consignor (Union Customs Code Article 233 (4) a)) allows the holder of the authorisation to place goods under the Union transit procedure without presenting them to customs and submitting transit declarations at the customs office of departure.

The status of authorised consignor is granted only to applicants who are allowed to provide a comprehensive guarantee in accordance with Article 89 (5) of the Union Customs Code or to benefit from a guarantee waiver in accordance with Article 95 (2) of the Code.

The requirements for obtaining the status of authorised consignor are set out in Articles 191 to 193 of the Delegated Regulation.

The application must be accompanied by a plan of the territory showing the location of the vehicles (wagons) during waiting time.

The status of authorised consignee (Union Customs Code, Article 233 (4) b)) allows the holder of the authorisation to end transit operations without presenting goods and corresponding transit declarations at the customs office of destination. Authorised consignees can terminate transit operations in the new computerised transit system (NCTS) for transit declarations.

The requirements for obtaining the status of authorised consignee are set out in Articles 191, 194 and 195 of the Delegated Regulation.

The application must be accompanied by a plan of the territory showing the location of the vehicles (wagons) during waiting time.

The customs authorities may, upon application, authorise a person (the authorised consignee) to receive goods moved in accordance with the TIR Convention at an authorised place, so that the procedure is terminated in accordance with point (d) of Article 1 of the TIR Convention.

The requirements for obtaining the status of authorised consignee for TIR operations are set out in Article 187 of the Delegated Regulation.

The application must be accompanied by a plan of the territory showing the location of the vehicles during their waiting time.

Special conditions for the TIR procedure:

  • An authorisation of authorised consignee for TIR purposes may be applied by a trader on whose premises the final unloading takes place;
  • TIR operations are terminated by authorised consignees in the new computerised transit system (NCTS) for transit declarations;
  • only the customs office of destination can discharge a TIR operation in the TIR carnet.

Authorisations for the use of seals of a special type (Union Customs Code, Article 233 (4) c)) allows the holder of the authorisation to use seals, where sealing is required to ensure the identification of the goods placed under the Union transit procedure.

The requirements for obtaining the authorisation for the use of seals of a special type are set out in Articles 191 and 197 of the Delegated Regulation. The application must be accompanied by four samples of seals.

The requirements for seals of a special type are set out in Article 317 of the Implementation Regulation.

Last updated: 27.09.2021

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