Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)


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Hot news

The World Customs Organisation (WCO) is hosting the 2nd Annual AEO Conference in Madrid 28-30 April 2014 at the IFEMA Convention Centre. The UK AEO Team will be hosting a number of workshops at the event , along with colleagues from other countries.

The World Customs Organisation website


AEO application packs consisting of forms C117, C117 (Notes), C118 and C118 (Notes) are available on the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website. Your application must contain both forms to be accepted in the UK.

Notice 117 Authorised Economic Operator is also available on the HMRC website.

Postal applications can be sent to:

HMRC AEO Central Site
Fitz Roy House
Castle Meadow Road

HMRC strongly suggest that applicants sending documents by post use a recorded/registered service for data security purposes.

Email: AEOapplications
Telephone: 03000 564556

AEO draft Guidance v6 is available on request via email.

The EU Commission AEO Guidelines

Who’s authorised?

The European Commission have an AEO database which allows anyone to check who holds a certificate, which type, date of issue and country.


The amendment to the Community Customs Code (the Security Amendment), adopted by the European Parliament in April 2005, allows Customs authorities to grant the status of AEO to any business that satisfies EU criteria.

EC Regulation 648/2005, Implementing Provisions and EU forms are available on the Commission’s Europa website.

Once a Member State has granted a business (economic operator) AEO status, this status is recognised across all Member States.

AEOs will be able to benefit from facilitations for customs controls or simplifications for customs rules or both, depending on the type of AEO certificate. There are three certificate types:

  • Customs Simplifications (AEOC). AEOs will be entitled to benefit from simplifications provided for under the customs rules
  • Security and Safety (AEOS). AEOs will be entitled to benefit from facilitations of customs controls relating to security and safety at the entry of the goods into the customs territory of the Community, or when the goods leave the customs territory of the Community
  • Customs Simplifications/Security and Safety (AEOF). AEOs will be entitled to benefit from both simplifications provided for under the customs rules and from facilitations of customs controls relating to security and safety (a combination of one and two)

Conditions and criteria for granting a certificate

Criteria include an appropriate record of customs compliance, satisfactory management systems that allow appropriate customs controls and proven solvency. Additionally for Security and Safety, it includes details of the security and safety standards to be met. The applicant will need to hold an EORI number to apply for AEO.


HMRC have introduced a BTEC qualification which is also available to businesses wishing to gain a more in depth understanding of the AEO Safety and Security criteria.

More details can be obtained by contacting Senate Training.

Other courses and providers may also be available.

The EU Commission have an AEO e-learning package for anyone involved in AEO or considering making an application.

Taxation and Customs Union - AEO Course

Mutual recognition

Currently the EU has in place Mutual Recognition Agreements with:

  • Japan
  • USA

Businesses who hold an AEOS/F status will receive benefits at the frontier if they are importing into those countries – Japanese or USA businesses who hold the relevant status will receive the same benefits when importing into the EU.

Frequently asked questions EU - US Mutual Recognition Decision (PDF 352K)

Benefits for US C-TPAT businesses importing into the EU are now also available.

Switzerland is likely to complete their mutual recognition agreement early in 2014 and will be followed by China later in 2014. China is under negotiation and it is hoped this will conclude in 2013-14.

Negotiations are now commencing with Canada, Russia and Turkey.

APEO scheme

The Commission has adopted two new regulations (1005/08 and 1010/09) in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. If your business is involved in the importation/exportation of fish, fish products/processing from/to a third country a new scheme will be launched in 2010. To be eligible for the scheme a business must first hold an AEO authorisation - they may then apply for the APEO (Approved Economic Operators) scheme. More details are available on the Defra website.

Businesses involved in the import/export of fish should note that the application form C115 for Approved Economic Operator (APEO) is now available. Further details regarding eligibility are on the Defra website.

Further information

AEO Impact Assessment

The AEO Policy Team can be contacted at AEOteam for Policy enquiries.

Applications and general queries for AEO can be sent to AEOapplications for all other enquiries.

General queries (including from the press and media) about AEOs should be made to the Excise and Customs Helpline on Telephone: 0300 200 3700.

The European Commission has developed an online EU training package for businesses interested in the AEO scheme which is now accessible.

FAQ: Authorised Economic Operator

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Common format of security declarations - AEOS and AEOF

AEO Security Declaration

AEO Proven Solvency - example of legal undertaking

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