What is an Authorised Economic Operator?

Authorised Economic Operator

The World Customs Organisation (WCO) launched the AEO scheme in 2008 as part of its SAFE Framework of Standards. AEO is an internationally recognised mark of excellence that grants the economic operator the status of a “trusted trader”.

To define an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO), the WCO states it is “A party involved in the international movement of goods, in whatever function, that has been approved by, or on behalf of, a national Customs administration as complying with WCO or equivalent supply chain security standards”.

In principle, an economic operator authorised with AEO voluntarily meets a wide range of criteria in close cooperation with customs authorities to ensure the common goal of supply chain security. They are entitled to a special status that allows them to benefit from more favourable treatment compared to other economic operators in terms of customs controls, including fewer physical and document-based checks.

The certification as an AEO for an economic operator can bring immense commercial benefits, including:



Priority Treatment and ‘Speed’:

Greater access to priority clearance, reducing costs and time to market.

Recognised as a Trusted Trader:

Reduced administrative burden from customs and other government agencies.

Lower Costs:

Reductions or waivers of deferment and comprehensive guarantees.

Supply Chain Security:

Increased transport security and improve security between supply chain stakeholders.

Facilitation of Customs Authorisations:

Quicker access to other customs authorisations (such as Simplified and Specialised Procedures).

Mutual Recognition:

An MRA recognizes your AEO status in other markets, simplifying imports in destination countries.

Different types of an AEO

Under the AEO status, as detailed in EU Regulation 952/2013, economic operators may be granted Customs Simplification (AEO-C) and Security and Safety (AEO-S) accreditation. However, The Union Customs Code (UCC) allows economic operators to apply for and hold both AEO-C and AEO-S simultaneously, known as AEOC/S, formerly known as AEO-F.

By holding an AEO-C status, companies can benefit from these customs simplifications, enhancing efficiency, and reducing administrative burdens in their import and export operations.

AEO-C (Authorised Economic Operators Customs Simplifications) includes several simplifications offered by customs legislation that a company can take advantage of. These simplifications include:

  • A faster application process for customs simplifications and authorisations
  • Priority treatment for customs controls
  • A lower risk score, which may reduce the number of checks customs carries out on documents and goods
  • Reduction or waiver of comprehensive guarantees
  • Reduction in a business’s deferment account guarantee
  • Notification waiver when making entries into a declarant’s records
  • Moving goods in temporary storage between different member states

Different types of an AEO


AEO-S (Authorised Economic Operators Security and Safety) includes a range of security-related simplifications in customs controls within the European Union (EU). The key features of an AEO-S include:

  • A lower risk score, which may reduce the number of checks customs carries out on your documents and goods
  • Priority treatment for customs controls
  • Reduced declaration requirements for entry and exit summary declarations
  • Reciprocal arrangements and mutual recognition


The AEO-S status requires compliance with certain security procedures and appropriate security and safety standards regarding:

  • Building security
  • Personnel security
  • Access controls
  • Cargo security
  • Business partners
  • External services providers, as well as Security awareness programmes

Companies eligible for AEO status

Any economic operator established within the EU or the UK and involved in the international supply chain can apply to be an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). These include:

  • Importers
  • Exporters
  • Logistics operators
  • Freight forwarders
  • Carriers
  • Customs Agents
  • Manufacturers


Requirements for the AEO application

To qualify for an AEO status, an economic operator is required to:

  • Be a legal entity established in an EU member state or the UK
  • Be actively involved in customs operations and international trade
  • Have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
  • Have a good history of compliance with customs and tax rules and regulations

Competence and potential application failures


Economic operators aspiring to become an AEO must make sure that their business and trade can meet the relevant compliance standards. This includes the absence of any serious or repeated infringements of customs legislation and taxation rules, in addition to serious criminal offences relating to the economic activity of the applicant.

The economic operator should demonstrate a high level of control over the operation and flow of goods and manage commercial and transport records. Regardless of the type of business activity, financial solvency and financial standing should be proven. The economic operator should also demonstrate a practical standard of competence or professional qualifications related to the business activity.

The main reasons for application rejection by customs authorities include:

  • Insufficient responses on the initial application forms, supporting documents, and procedures
  • An absence of evidence during the assessment process of customs authorities
  • Lack of understanding of the criteria and a general understanding of customs legislation and customs compliance

Advantages of working with ALS as a certified AEO

The ALS group

With more than 30 years of experience, as an AEO, we stand as a trustworthy and esteemed business partner. Our AEO status ensures expedited and cost-effective customs clearances for your benefit. Moreover, we proudly hold ISO certifications alongside our AEO status. This combination of accreditations grants you access to a range of compelling advantages and benefits:

  • Reliable expertise and many years of experience
  • Individual support for complex customs solutions
  • A network of local specialists at 38 international locations
  • End-to-end customs solutions with advanced technology such as our in-house developed system, which functions as a customs control tower, enabling the entire customs process to be digitised from start to finish

Lastly, our dedicated team plays a crucial role in ensuring you maximise the benefits of working with ALS. We place great confidence in our personnel as they form the backbone of our organisation. Their expertise and skills are our greatest assets. Furthermore, our extensive network empowers us to consistently deliver exceptional performance tailored to your needs across Europe and UK.

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The benefits of choosing ALS

Your journey begins here

ALS is an innovative, neutral, and globally active customs broker. We operate as a unified entity, where every member of our team, from your dedicated contacts to our board of directors, is committed to meeting your specific needs. Through constant communication and strategic development, we continuously optimise our services. Our team embodies the ALS values of trust, expertise, integrity, and continuity.


We offer you:

  • Comprehensive customs solutions from start to finish
  • Reliable expertise backed by years of experience
  • Personalised support for complex requirements
  • A network of local specialists across international locations
  • Enhanced efficiency through advanced technology


By choosing ALS, you gain a competitive edge in international trade, benefiting from our expertise, network, technology, and unwavering commitment to your success.

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At ALS, your customs path starts hereAt ALS, your customs path starts here
At ALS, your customs path starts hereAt ALS, your customs path starts here