AEO self-assessment

To apply for an AEO certificate 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 certificate 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 certificate you want to apply for

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

  • AEO Customs Simplifications (AEO-C)
  • AEO Security and Safety (AEO-S)
  • both certificates

To be eligible for an AEO certificate 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 Customs Simplifications certificate 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 Security and Safety certificate. However, for the AEO Security and Safety certificate 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.
  • 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.

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 the AEO application form, the management statement together with the AEO application and the self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ).

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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