Authorised Economic Operators

The AEO approval process

Once HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has received your application, you'll receive an acknowledgment. If your application is complete and satisfactory, HMRC will visit you to verify your supplementary documentation. All the documentation referred to throughout the questionnaire and the explanatory notes must be made available for this visit, along with the necessary documented procedures.

Timescales for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) applications

If you meet the relevant criteria, your certificate will be issued within 120 calendar days. Your certificate will take effect on the tenth working day after the date of issue.

The timescales may be extended by either the business or HMRC to allow time to address any areas where the criteria fail to be met.

You should be aware that the customs authorities in other European Union member states have up to 60 calendar days to comment on your application.

Non-acceptance, rejection and withdrawal of your application

If you or your legal representative for customs purposes has been convicted of certain serious criminal offences or you're subject to bankruptcy proceedings, then your application will be automatically rejected.

If your application is incomplete it will be returned to you for completion.

If you cannot satisfy all the criteria for AEO you won't be granted AEO status, but you will be given time to get things up to standard. If you can't do this within the time allowed, your application will be refused.

You may withdraw your application at any time if you need more time to meet criteria for gaining AEO status.

If your application is refused, or you withdraw it yourself, you can reapply when you have satisfied the criteria.

You can also request a review and/or appeal if your application is turned down.

Information on how to request or lodge an appeal with HMRC.

Maintaining and revoking your status

To keep your certificate, you have to maintain the standards granted in your authorisation, and notify HMRC of certain specified material changes to your organisation, or to its personnel, systems and procedures.

If you don't do this, then your authorisation will be reviewed and can be suspended or revoked. If it's suspended, you'll be given a chance to put things right. If it's revoked, you will have to wait three years before reapplying.

Find out about maintaining your AEO status in Notice 117.