What is “temporary storage”?
Non-Union goods brought into the customs territory of the Union are in temporary storage from the moment they arrive and are presented to customs (Articles 139 and 144 Union Customs Code - UCC) until they are placed under a customs procedure or re-exported.
Under temporary storage, the customs supervision of the goods is ensured, as they are stored in an authorised temporary storage facility or at any other place designated or approved and controlled by the customs office where the goods are presented.
How does it work?
The goods are usually placed in an authorised temporary storage facility (Article 148 UCC) operated either by the importer or by a storage-keeper who is required to provide a guarantee to cover any customs debt that may arise (Article 148 (2)(c) in conjunction with Article 89 UCC). A temporary storage facility may also be operated by the customs authority itself.
In specific cases (and for a limited period), goods in temporary storage may be stored at another place designated or approved by the customs authority (Article 115 UCC DA).
Under certain conditions and subject to prior authorisation by customs authorities, goods under temporary storage may be moved between different temporary storage facilities.
However, lacking that authorisation, the transit procedure must be used for such movements. When the transit procedure has ended, the goods will be again under temporary storage and a new 90-day-period starts.
During the temporary storage, the goods may only be handled or treated in order to ensure their preservation, e.g. by cooling (Article 147 UCC) but, with the permission of the customs authorities, the importer may examine the goods or take samples (Article 134(2) UCC).
How long may it last?
The goods must (in accordance with Article 149 UCC) be placed under a customs procedure or re-exported within 90 days following their presentation to customs.
What are the consequences if the time-limit of the storage is exceeded?
If the goods have not been placed under a customs procedure or re-exported within the 90-day- period, the customs authorities shall take any necessary measures to regularise the situation, including confiscation and sale or destruction, at the expense of the declarant.
Alternatively, the goods may be abandoned to the State by the holder of the goods or the declarant, with prior permission of the customs authorities.