AEO self-assessment

To apply for an AEO authorisation you must carry out an AEO self-assessment. This will allow you to assess the quality of the organisation’s internal control system yourself. Based on this assessment you will establish:

  • your organisation’s business risks
  • the internal measures which these risks cover (procedures, instructions, inspections, etc.)

The standards that your organisation must meet to be granted an AEO status are 'open standards', this means they are not laid down in detail.

The 6 steps of the AEO self-assessment

The AEO self-assessment consists of 6 steps

  1. Decide what authorisation you wish to apply for.
  2. Collect information.
  3. Determine the risk areas.
  4. Determine the (additional) measures.
  5. Apply for the AEO.
  6. Maintain the AEO.

Step 1: Decide what AEO authorisation you want to apply for

Decide what AEO authorisation you want to apply for. There are 3 options:

  • AEO Security and Safety authorisation (AEO-S)
  • AEO Customs Simplifications authorisation (AEO-C)
  • combined authorisation AEO-S / AEO-C

To be eligible for an AEO authorisation your organisation must meet a number of requirements:

  • Your organisation has complied with all customs and fiscal obligations during the last 3 years.
  • You do not have criminal records involving serious offences in connection with economic activities.
  • Your organisation keeps proper trading and/or transport accounts.
  • Your organisation is financially healthy.

The AEO-C authorisation has an additional requirement:

  • Your organisation has sufficient professional competence in the area of customs matters.

We do not make this additional requirement for the AEO-S authorisation. However, for the AEO-S authorisation your organisation must have taken appropriate security and safety measures.

Step 2: Collect information

Collect information based on the role of your organisation in the chain.

  • Establish whether obtaining an AEO status is realistic based on the formal requirements.
  • Register the information collected:
    • create a file
    • copy descriptions and documents
    • collect existing certifications within your organisation
  • Draw up a stakeholder analysis (what role does your organisation play in the supply chain?).

Step 3: Determine the risk areas

Determine the risk areas within your organisation. You may use the EU’s AEO Guidelines as an aid. These summarise the most frequently occurring risks per organisation process (e.g. buying in, storage and production).

  • AEO Guidelines, appendix 1 (self-assessment questionnaire, SAQ) and 2 (threats, risks and possible solutions) are the point of departure for determining potential risks. Use the 'AEO Toelichting op de vragenlijst voor de AEO-zelfbeoordeling' (only available in Dutch).
  • Establish what sections are important based on the type of organisation you have and its activities.
  • Determine whether you have identified all the risks. If not, add risks related to your organisation’s specific situation.
  • Make sure that your management supports these processes.

Use the AEO Guidelines to help you create an overview which refers to the measures taken within your organisation. Make these references as specific and concrete as possible. Mention, for instance, the chapter or page of each procedure, instruction or manual.

These internal policy rules and instructions must be available either electronically or they must be documented on paper. The rules and instructions must be known and applied within the organisation as well as being available to all users and they must be updated on a regular basis.

Step 4: Determine the (additional) measures

Determine the (additional) measures for risk control. Determine what risks are not (yet) covered.

  • Assess the risks and the existing measures.
  • Decide what action you need to take.
  • Determine what established risks you can control by existing measures.
  • Give reasons for the remaining risks (that have not yet been covered).

Step 5: Apply for the AEO

Submit the AEO application in full. This consists of:

Step 6: Maintain the AEO

You must determine yourself on a regular basis whether you still meet the AEO criteria. Examine periodically whether your risks have changed, and whether your internal control measures are still appropriate and are functioning as they should. Pass on any changes to maintain your AEO status.

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