Guide

Temporary storage

Temporary storage facilities

Goods being temporarily stored must be kept on premises that are situated:

  • within an airport or sea port
  • outside of, but linked to, an airport or sea port

All importers can use temporary storage facilities, but you can only apply to have your premises approved as a temporary storage facility if you’re involved in the movement of goods imported from outside the EU as a:

  • freight forwarder
  • customs agent
  • warehouse keeper
  • transport company

Temporary storage facilities must be approved by Border Force and:

  • meet the requirements of the national health and safety at work legislation
  • be suitable for storing, loading, examining and sampling of goods
  • be secure and maintained in good repair
  • keep proper customs approved electronic inventory stock records

You can get full details about the conditions and criteria from the Border Force National Frontier Approvals Unit on telephone: 0121 781 7861 or 0121 781 7856.

Approved temporary storage facilities are considered to be part of the UK border.

The main types of storage facilities are:

  • internal temporary storage facility (ITSF), is a place inside the customs controlled area of the frontier (port or airport) and near the port or airport
  • internal temporary storage facility - remote (ITSF-R), is a place outside the customs controlled area of the frontier (port or airport) but still near the port or airport
  • external temporary storage facility (ETSF), is a place outside the customs controlled area of the frontier (port or airport)
  • external temporary storage facility (approved depository) (ETSFAD), is a facility that stores personal and household goods

Temporary storage facilities may include tanks and unshedded areas.

Forms of handling allowed in temporary storage

EU legislation restricts forms of handling in temporary storage to only what is necessary to ensure preservation of the goods in an unaltered state without modifying their appearance or technical characteristics.

You cannot break up individual packages in temporary storage, except for essential examination or preservation purposes. All goods covered by a temporary storage declaration, whether unloaded or not, must be shown intact and can only be unpacked after goods have been cleared to a customs procedure, re-exported or released for free circulation.