Union transit / Common transit

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Transit is a customs procedure used to facilitate the movement of goods between 2 points in the European Union (EU) via another customs territory, or between 2 or more different customs territories.

Goods in transit are under a temporary suspension of duties, taxes and commercial policy measures. Customs clearance procedures are usually carried out at destination of the goods rather than at the point of entry into the customs territory.

Operators have to use the transit system which applies to the territories concerned and to the status of the transported goods.

Each transit procedure must be covered by furnishing a guarantee.

European businesses must declare the transit of goods electronically using the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS).

Operators can facilitate their procedures, depending on the means of transport used, by resorting to other transport documents in lieu of the standard transit procedure or by applying for a simplified transit procedure "at departure / at destination" ("allègement au départ / à destination").

Who is concerned?

Transit procedures usually involve several parties:

  • the consignor of the goods;
  • the carrier;
  • the consignee of the goods;
  • the principal, i.e. the person who commits to the customs authorities to transport the goods from the consignor to the consignee and who assumes responsibility for the transit vis-à-vis the tax authorities (e.g.: consignor, carrier, logistics company, customs agency, etc.).

An operator can fill one or more of these roles.

Businesses can apply for assistance from a customs agency.


The transport of certain goods (namely military equipment, dual-use goods), requires a transit licence from the Office for Export, Import and Transit Controls.

Businesses who must declare their transit operations need to have:

How to proceed

Transit procedures

The external Union transit (T1) allows non-Union goods to be transported between EU Member States (and Andorra and the Republic of San Marino) under duties and taxes suspension.

Example: bananas from Brazil are transported by truck under T1/Union transit from Luxembourg to their destination in Paris.

The internal transit procedure from the Union (T2) allows Union goods to be moved from one point to another in the Union customs territory and pass through a country or territory outside of the Union territory without any change in their customs status.

Example: cloth is shipped by truck under T2/ Union transit from Germany to its destination in Italy. The goods may pass through Swiss territory: the transit ends at the competent customs office in Italy.

The internal Union transit (T2F) allows Union goods to be transported between EU Member States and the special territories of the EU such as the French Overseas Departments, the Channel Islands, Mount Athos, the Aland Islands or the Canary Islands.

Example: bananas from Martinique are shipped by boat to Antwerp and then transported further by road under T2F/Union transit from Antwerp to their final destination in Paris.


The principal must contact the Central Customs Revenue Office (Recette Centrale des Douanes et Accises) and furnish a financial guarantee to the customs authorities, which covers all the duties and taxes involved, such as import duties, anti-dumping duties, excise duties, VAT, etc.

The amount of the guarantee is calculated by the Customs and Excise Agency based on an estimated volume of operations.

The bank guarantee must be submitted to the Central Customs Revenue Office for approval.

Transit declaration

The operator or legal representative must complete a Union transit / Common transit declaration online using the eDouane Import / Export application (NCTS).

In the event of unavailability of the eDouane system, the declarant may, after consultation with the competent customs office, use the "Old Transit System" (OTS).

Once the declaration has been submitted, the system generates a transit accompanying document (TAD) which is to be printed. The document will indicate whether it is a T1 or T2. It must accompany the goods from the point of departure to the point of destination.

The transit accompanying document has an identification number, called "movement reference number" (MRN) which allows to monitor the movement of the goods during transit.

Transit follow-up

When the goods leave EU territory , the customs office of transit sends an electronic message to the customs office of departure.

When the goods arrive at destination, an electronic message is sent to the office of departure and, where applicable, to the office of transit, confirming the arrival of the goods.

After the goods have been checked, a second message will confirm whether any irregularities have been detected.

The customs office of departure will forward these messages electronically to the declarant.

Within the framework of intra-Community movements via territories of third countries, the operator may need to justify the Union customs status of the goods by presenting the T2L document (T2LF for non-fiscal territories).


Air transport - Airway bill

The carrier can use an airway bill to transport goods by air.

Transport by rail - Stamped transport documents endorsing a T1 procedure

The carrier can use a CIM document (Contrat de transport International ferroviaire des Marchandises - International waybill for transport of goods by rail) to transport goods by rail.

Inland waterway transport - Rhine manifest

The carrier can use a Rhine Manifest for the transport of goods on the Rhine waterways.

Simplified transit procedure - at departure / at destination

Operators can apply for authorisation to benefit from a simplified procedure:

  • at departure;
  • and/or at destination.

In this case, the goods do not have to be presented at the customs office of departure and/or destination.

Operators who do already have the authorised economic operator status (AEO) benefit from a faster processing of their application for authorisation to use the simplified procedure.

Online services and forms

Online services

Who to contact

Central Customs Revenue Office

Related procedures and links


Legal references

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