Temporary storage

How does temporary storage work and what are the benefits?

A temporary storage facility is a place situated inside or outside the approved area of a sea or airport, where non-Union goods may be placed in storage prior to being placed under a customs procedure or re-exported.

There are various ways of referring to these premises depending on their location. These are:

  • internal temporary storage facility (ITSF), which is inside the customs controlled area of the frontier (port or airport) and within the vicinity of the port or airport
  • internal temporary storage facility - remote (ITSF-R), which is outside the customs controlled area of the frontier (port or airport) but still within the immediate vicinity of the (port or airport)
  • external temporary storage facility (ETSF) which is outside the customs controlled area of the frontier (port or airport)

All of these facilities are considered to be part of the UK Border and as a result must be approved for this purpose by the Border Force.

An External temporary storage Facility Approved Depository (ETSFAD) is a temporary storage facility located outside the approved and controlled area of a port or airport where personal and household effects arriving from outside the Union under transfer of residence may be placed in storage prior to being customs cleared.

A temporary storage area may, in certain circumstances, be allowed inside other UK customs authority approved premises. Where premises are multi use, for example storing warehouse freight, the temporary storage area must be clearly demarcated. This area must be visibly identified inside the premises as well as notated on the building plan. The method of identification must meet the requirements of the local Border Force supervising officer.

Benefits of temporary storage to the trade

Some potential advantages of using temporary storage facilities to store goods imported from outside the EU are:

  • Payment of duty and taxes on the imported goods will be deferred until the goods are assigned to a customs-approved treatment or use. However, security will be required in the form of a deed of undertaking signed by the temporary storage operator for goods while they are in temporary storage.
  • Saving on storage costs at the port where traders have their own temporary storage premises.
  • Time to obtain relevant import licences or further documentation if required, prior to completing a full customs declaration.

You may also want to look into speeding up the importation of your goods through customs while delaying submission of full documentation and customs and duty payments. See Customs Freight Simplified Procedures.