Outward processing procedure

Under the Outward processing procedure, you may temporarily export Union goods from the customs territory of the Union in order to use them in one or more processing operations (processing, modification, destruction or repair). After that, you can bring the compensating products into free circulation without having to pay (full) import duties.

Under this procedure, you can have operations or processing of Union goods carried out outside the EU. For example, processing operations which are too complex or for which there is no appropriate method in the EU. Lower wage or production costs in the third country may also play a role.

The customs debt for the compensating products shall be calculated, at the time of release for free circulation, on the basis of the processing costs in the third country.

You are not obliged to release the compensating products for free circulation.

It is therefore up to you to decide what to do with the goods after the export of the Union goods or their processing. You can, for example, also sell them in the third country where they were processed or resell them directly from that third country to a buyer outside the customs territory of the Union. You do not need to inform Customs of this.

Applying for an authorisation

If you wish to use the Outward processing procedure, you need an authorisation. You apply for the authorisation via the EU Trader Portal. For more information, go to the 'Completion instructions EU Trader Portal - Outward processing authorisation (OPO)' (only available in Dutch).

Please note!

Customs authorisations offer facilities to which Customs attach certain conditions, such as set standards for your administrative organisation and internal control. You also have to provide a guarantee. Prior to applying for an authorisation, make the proper preparations. It is possible to get help from an external advisor or a customs agent.

If it is the first time that you apply for an authorisation, call the Customs Information Line.

Simplified application

In a number of cases, you can apply for this authorisation in a simplified manner. You can make this simplified application by lodging a declaration for placing goods under the procedure using the standard declaration procedure. The customs declaration shall be considered as an application for the authorisation. You then provide additional details using the 'Statement Additional information and requirements when applying for an authorisation (for a special procedure by means of declaration)'.

Cross-border authorisation

You can also apply for a cross-border authorisation for the Outward processing procedure. More information on this can be found at the Expertise Centre for Cross-border Authorisations.

Standardized Information Exchange (INF)

Standardized Information Exchange (INF) is the exchange of information between market participants and customs authorities for goods which have been placed under various processing procedures (inward and outward processing procedures).

INF is an obligation in respect of:

  • the outward processing procedure EX/IM which involves one or more EU Member States
  • the outward processing IM/EX (prior to the importation of compensating products or replacement products) involving more than 1 EU Member State. More than 1 Member State is involved, if you - or your representative - submit a customs declaration for free circulation in a Member State other than the Member State in which the customs declaration is placed under an outward processing procedure

For more information on Standardized Information Exchange (INF), go to 'bijlage 2: Gestandaardiseerde uitwisseling van inlichtingen (INF)' (only available in Dutch) of the Handboek Douane (Customs Manual).

The electronic INF system via the EU Customs Trader Portal

To use INF, you make use of the electronic INF system. This electronic system replaces the paper information sheets (INF 1, INF 2, INF 5 and INF 9).

If you are a holder of an authorisation, you will get access to the electronic INF system by logging into the EU Customs Trader Portal. You - or your representative - will need eHerkenning (digital recognition login) with assurance level 3.

For more information go to 'Log in with eRecognition'

More information

Read more about the Outward processing authorisation (OPO) in the Information and general conditions (only available in Dutch) and in the 'Passieve veredeling' (Outward processing procedure) section of the Customs Manual (only available in Dutch).

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