Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status is available to companies in an international supply chain that, in the course of their business, take part in interactions with customs. To become an AEO, you have to meet certain criteria relating to the reliability of your customs-related operations throughout the European Union (EU).
As an economic operator established in the European Union (EU), you must have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. Economic operators established outside the EU must also have an EORI number if they lodge a customs declaration, an Entry or an Exit Summary Declaration in the EU.
Depending on the authorisation criteria of your AEO certificate, the benefits can include easier access to certain customs simplifications, some easing in customs security and safety controls, or both.
Who can apply for an AEO certificate?
Anyone involved in the international supply chain that carries out customs related activities in the EU can apply for AEO status irrespective of the size of the business. This includes:
- freight forwarders
- warehouse keepers
- customs agents
- other (eg port, secure freight parking, airline loaders)
You can find more detail on where the international supply chain is deemed to start and end from an AEO point of view in Notice 117 on AEOs.
Your application must be submitted by a responsible person of the business, eg a partner or director, or the proprietor in the case of a sole trader. If the application is made by someone else, their actions must be sanctioned by a responsible person of the business.