Outward processing relief (OPR)

How to apply for OPR authorisation

To ensure that your business doesn't pay too much duty on the repaired or processed goods you're re-importing and doesn't incur any additional costs it's important to obtain your Outward Processing Relief (OPR) authorisation as soon as possible.

You should make your application for OPR authorisation at least one month before your first consignment is exported (or two months if you're applying for a Community Authorisation). There are exceptions to this, including if you:

  • are a private person handling non-commercial goods
  • are using the simplified repair authorisation

After submitting your application for OPR authorisation

Once you have made your application, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may contact you if more information is required or may visit your premises. Your authorisation number will then be issued. This process takes approximately 30 days. The period of your authorisation will also be stated. You must keep all records linked to your claims for OPR for four years after your authorisation expires.

If you intend to present your export declaration documents at one customs office, but will present the corresponding re-import documents at a different office or within another member state, this is called triangulation. Form INF 2 is sometimes used to track these movements - check with your local customs office for guidance.

Your OPR authorisation

If you need to make any changes to your authorisation you must notify your customs office in writing. Most changes can be accommodated, but if you want to add a new member state to a Community Authorisation as a place of export HMRC may need to consult with the member state involved before the amendment can be granted. This can take some time, so allow for this in your schedule. Remember, you can't gain duty relief on the re-imports of your goods until a full OPR authorisation is in place.

Changes to your business name can usually be made to your OPR authorisation, but if your business status changes to a limited company for instance, you may have to apply again for OPR authorisation as your new business.

If you need to renew your OPR authorisation it's your responsibility to contact your customs office at the appropriate time. You will not be issued a reminder.

If you require a retrospective authorisation this can be considered by HMRC on a case by case basis. Make a retrospective application on form SP4.

You can cancel your OPR authorisation by stating this in writing to your customs office.