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Taxation and Customs Union

EU Recognition of State-of-the-Art Customs Academic Programmes


The European Commission has opened a new cycle for applications for the EU Customs Certificate of Recognition!

This prestigious recognition, established in 2019, serves as a testament to the excellence of customs academic programmes that equip students with the optimal customs competency standards across the European Union.

The Certificate

In 2019, the European Commission took the initiative to recognise academic programmes that equip students with the optimal Customs competency standards. Since then, European Customs Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes from different Member States have been awarded with a Certificate of Recognition, acknowledging their leading role in raising Customs performance and professionalism. As such, the Certificate of Recognition serves as an EU label of excellence for high-quality, modern Customs academic programmes.

This initiative addresses today’s reality where the protection of the interests of the European Union and its citizens, whilst facilitating legitimate trade, becomes increasingly complex. Twenty-first century challenges like new security threats, the ongoing refugee crisis, digital (r)evolutions and the impact of Brexit call for intensified European Customs cooperation, as well as collaboration with the Trade community.

The current context demands a high-performing, connected, agile and future-proof European community of Customs professionals, both in the public and private sector. Customs education, training and professional development are the cornerstones required to build and nurture this community, and to stay on par with the latest developments in the world of Customs and Trade.

Impact on the Community

In the continuous war for talent, cutting-edge Customs academic programmes are the weapon of choice to attract and develop high-potential Customs professionals. State-of-the-art Customs Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes (or modules within) can greatly enhance Customs performance across the EU. Graduates of recognised programmes understand the role of Customs in the international supply chain and combine strategic and management competencies with in-depth Customs operational capabilities.

The EC role

The European Commission has developed the CustCompeu (EU Customs Competency Framework) that outlines the optimal competency profiles for Customs professionals working in the public or private sector. The CustCompeu is used as a common basis to develop high-quality and consistent training programmes for Customs professionals. Recent developments and challenges in Customs, have required the update of the Risk Domain in CustCompeu, which has been renamed as the Risk Management Domain and all risk management related Operational, Professional and Management Competencies have been enhanced.

To further facilitate this alignment, the EU has taken the initiative to devise the EU Reference Training Programmes (RTP) for Academic Customs Education. Several of its sections have been revised based on the 2018-19 pilot Recognition cycle findings (EU RTP for Academic Customs Education, 2023 sectional revision).

The EU Reference Training Programmes comprise a suggested comprehensive list of training areas based on commonly agreed Customs-specific competencies, and cover the optimal learning content for Customs professionals across various higher education programmes:

  • Customs Master’s programmes
  • Customs Bachelor’s programmes
  • Customs modules within a Master’s programme
  • Customs modules within a Bachelor’s programme

Customs academic programmes aligned with the EU RTP for Academic Education that applied for the EU Recognition, obtained the EU Customs Certificate of Recognition, a label of excellence for Customs Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes (or modules within) in Europe.

Recognised Programmes

Recognised Customs academic programmes (or modules thereof) can make use of the official EU Customs Certificate of Recognition identification statement and are included in the publicly available list of EU Recognised Customs Academic Programmes.

What’s in it for you?

Value for Academic Programme Providers

Universities, business schools and colleges can promote the programme using the official EU identification statement and certificate.

The EU Customs Certificate of Recognition is a unique chance to benchmark the academic programme against the acknowledged competencies that will enable Customs professionals to successfully deal with future challenges.

Value for Customs Students

The EU Customs Certificate of Recognition quality label reassures candidate students that the programme will equip them with the competencies needed for a successful Customs career, both in Customs Administrations and private organisations.

An EU recognised Customs Bachelor’s or Master’s degree reassures employers that the candidate is well-equipped to start, or boost, a career in Customs with an optimal competency skill set, thereby improving the employee’s career perspectives.

Value for the Customs Union

The EU Customs Certificate of Recognition is a cornerstone in promoting the establishment of higher education Customs academic programmes. As such, it drives consistency in the quality, design and delivery of these programmes throughout the European Union. This will in turn boost the performance of Customs in Europe through more unified Customs programmes that arm their participants with the competencies they need for a successful career.

Awarding process overview


The EU Customs Certificate of Recognition targets Customs-specific Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes (or modules within) offered by universities, business schools and colleges in Europe.

Application period

  • New applications for the EU Customs Certificate of Recognition should be submitted from September 2023 to February 2024!
  • Applications for the renewal of the EU Customs Certificate of Recognition should be submitted from  September 11, 2023 to September 29, 2023!

Eligible academic programmes should meet three criteria:

  • Be accredited in line with the Bologna Process (National or international accreditation for Master’s or Bachelor’s academic programmes (or modules thereof) is typically provided by governmental or officially authorised accreditation bodies. Academic programmes that have not been nationally or internationally accredited yet must demonstrate that the accreditation process is ongoing; The Bologna Process is a collective effort with the objective to: (a) introduce and implement a common three-cycle system for higher studies (Bachelor’s/Master’s/Doctorate); (b) level and strengthen quality of studies and; (c) allow for easier recognition of qualifications and periods of study.);
  • Be Customs-specific;
  • Be in line with the EU RTP for Academic Customs Education.

Application documentation

Interested parties can apply by completing the application documentation as follows:

  1. Complete the Initiation Request Document, Form 1
  2. Complete the Academic Programme Outline, Form 2
  3. Complete the Competencies Addressed by the Programme, Form 3 (A-D), depending on the type of the academic programme:
    • Form 3A for Master’s programmes
    • Form 3B for Bachelor’s programmes
    • Form 3C for modules within a Master’s programmes
    • Form 3D for modules within a Bachelor’s programmes
  1. Complete the Deviations and Motivation, Form 4.


Submit the Application Forms and accompanying documentation (e.g. accreditation documentation, course catalogue etc.) to EU-CertificateOfRecognitionatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (EU-CertificateOfRecognition[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Supporting material

To support universities, business schools and colleges in the application process, the European Commission has developed the following:

  1. a step-by-step Application Guide
  2. a pre-filled Sample Application template with extensive examples for all fields.

For detailed information, please see the EU Customs Certificate of Recognition Process


All applications are assessed by an international Assessment Board composed of training experts, academics and Customs professionals under the lead and supervision of the European Commission.

Applications that may be conditionally approved by the European Commission are required to go through the verification phase. The applicant had to take the required measures to meet the conditions set by the European Commission in obtaining recognition.

This initiative is supported by the EU Customs Programme.

More information

For more information you can contact the EU Certificate of Recognition Secretariat via:
EU-CertificateOfRecognitionatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (EU-CertificateOfRecognition[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

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