What is a Transit?

A transit procedure is being used to move goods from the country of dispatch through one or more countries. There is no need to declare the goods in each of the crossed countries as this procedure allows goods to enter the movement of free circulation throughout the union.

If you are part of the Common Transit Convention (CTC) you can benefit from the transit procedure. The Common Transit Convention (CTC) is an agreement designed for common procedures for the international transit of goods between the EU, EFTA, Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia and the UK.

Example Transit Procedure

If you would like to transport goods from the UK to a final destination in Spain, your goods would probably need to pass through France or Andorra, depending on your location. In this situation, custom declarations would be required in the country where the movement begins (UK) and where it ends (Spain). The transit procedure would allow your goods to pass through France or Andorra without needing to declare them.


There are multiple ways in which a customs transit takes place:

  • by entering and consecutively leaving the customs territory of the Union;
  • by leaving and consecutively re-entering the customs territory of the Union;
  • by entering the customs territory of the Union and continuing the movement until a specific point in the customs territory of the Union;
  • by placing the goods under an export procedure and consecutively under a transit Procedure

Process Holders

A process holder is someone who is in charge of a specific process or procedure. In this case, the process holders can be categorized into authorized consignors and authorized consignees.

Authorised Consignors

Compared to an office of departure, an authorized consignor allows you to declare goods to transit at their premises. If there is no control inspection decision taken by the Border Force at the office of departure, you can get an automatic time-out release of goods. Depending on the conditions of authorization, this “time-out” may take place aside from the normal opening hours of the office of destination.

Authorised Consignees

Compared to the office of destination, an authorized consignee possesses the possibility to end transit movements or to provide another authorized location such as a port, airport or any other approved location at their premises. Instead of sending a hard copy, arrival notification messages are being sent electronically to the relevant office. If your goods are free of further controls or inspections by the office of destination, you can receive automatic time-out permission to unload the goods.

What types of Transit Documents exist?

Within the CTC, goods are either subjected to ‘Non-union goods’ (T1), ‘Union goods’ (T2) or Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR).

A T1 qualifies the movement of Non-union goods within and throughout the EU territory to be transported like EU goods. It enables the suspension of import duties, other charges and commercial policy measures until the goods arrive at their destination within the Union. Custom controls take place to ensure that the import duties and other relevant charges are being secured. These import charges are being collected directly at the customs Office of Destination in the Member state.


Movements where a T1 applies:

  • Non-Union Goods
  • When Union goods are being exported and pass through one or more common transit countries in which the provisions of the Convention on a common transit procedure apply as well as the Union goods, but they:
    • Have undergone customs export formalities with a possibility of refunds being granted on the export to third countries under the common agricultural policy.
    • Come from intervention stocks, are subject to control measures to their use or destination and have undergone customs formalities on the export to third countries under the common agricultural policy.
    • Are eligible for the repayment or remission of import duties under the condition that they are placed below external transit according to Article 118(4) of the Code.

T2 (Internal Transit)

A T2 allows the movement of Union goods to be transported within the EU territory. This procedure allows an economic operator to temporarily leave and re-enter the customs territory of the union while maintaining the union status of their goods.

The movement can take place from one point to another within the customs territory of the Union and pass through a country outside that customs territory without causing any changes that could affect the customs status. The T2 procedure applies when union goods are being moved to a common transit country. In this case, the transit procedure follows the export procedure. If the trade takes place with the non-fiscal areas of the union which include the Channel Islands, Canary Islands, French Overseas Departments and Mount Athos, check paragraph 14.


A TIR describes a movement across or between the union territory and one or more of the non-EU countries which belong to the TIR Convention of 1975 (Revenue, Irish Tax and Customs).


  • For instance, Ireland is a party to the Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods under the cover of TIR Carnets.
  • A TIR can only be used in the EU when the movement either:
    • starts or ends in a 3rd country.
    • when goods are being moved between 2 or more member states via the territory of a 3rd country.


The conditions of a TIR movement:

  • The goods need to be transported in approved vehicles or containers.
  • The goods are issued with TIR carnets by national guaranteeing associations, which are affiliated with the international organisation designated in the TIR convention.
  • At least one part of the transport is carried out by road.
  • TIR carnet services work as an international valid guarantee for the payment of the suspended duties and taxes.


The main difference between a common transit and a TIR movement is that the common transit is one single transit movement through one territory. A TIR movement on the other hand is a series of national procedures, using the standardised rules of the TIR Convention.


Other types of transit movements where ALS supports

ATA Convention Procedure

The “Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission” (ATA) procedure allows goods to be used in one or more countries or customs unions. This happens without needing to pay for customs duties or any other charges. However, this only applies under one condition: The goods must be in the same state as they were when entering the country or customs union, within a specific period.

Important to mention is that the legal bases for this procedure are the ATA Convention and the Convention on Temporary Admission, also known as the Istanbul Convention. Additionally, the ATA procedure requires a guarantee. 

Transit Guarantee

Customs duties and other charges which apply to goods that entered the Transit movement are temporarily suspended until the goods reach their final destination.

The Guarantee Holder is responsible for the duties that have been suspended until the Transit movement is closed correctly. Once the movement is discharged, this debt is no longer chargeable. However, this only applies if the movements are closed compliantly at their destination. In the event of an undischarged Transit document, the CCTO (Central Community Transit Office) will send a notification to the guarantee holder in the form of a Stage 1 letter.

What offices are involved in the Transit Processes?

The office of Departure can be described as a Customs office where the declaration of placing goods under transit is being accepted. At the Office of Departure, a risk analysis and control of the goods may be performed. Followingly a time limit will be set before the arrival of the goods at their customs office of destination. Additionally, the Office of Departure takes care of discharging the transit procedure as well as releasing the guarantee.

The office of Transit can be described as a location that finds the reference numbers for the departure, transit and destination offices. They take care of certifying the entry or exit of the particular goods under customs transit. If you are using an authorized consignor or consignee, they will provide you with the reference number. However, the office of Transit is not the point of destination or departure.

If an incident occurs on the route, it must be reported to the Office of Incident. They will then notify the declarant in real time instead of waiting to report the incident at the Office of Destination.

Examples of possible incidents:

  • Transshipment of goods;
  • Broken seals due to reasons that are out of the carrier's control;
  • Deviation from the prescribed itinerary

The Office of Destination can be described as a customs office where the customs declaration of placing goods under transit is being accepted. If all goods arrive within the beforehand specified time limit, controls and checks will be performed. When the verification of the goods and documents is satisfactory or considered satisfactory, the office of destination sends the results to the office of departure.

Do you need help with your transit?

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 specified needs.

We are here to support you with creating or closing transit documents. Also, we will advise you if you need a transit. Whether it’s speaking to one of our sales team, or requiring further guidance with our consultants, we offer everything to help facilitate your complete end-to-end customs.  

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