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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Transport under the TIR or ATA procedure

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Transport under the TIR or ATA procedure

When goods are carried from one point of Community territory to another under cover of a TIR (TIR Convention) or ATA (ATA Convention) carnet, import or export duties and levies are suspended, provided that the arrangements have not been terminated, or a debt incurred. The implementing provisions for the Community Customs Code contain specific rules for adapting the acquis to take account of the provisions of the agreements regarding these two procedures.


Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93 of 2 July 1993 laying down provisions for the implementation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 establishing the Community Customs Code.


This regulation brings together the provisions for implementing the Community Customs Code in a single text. Part II, Title II, Chapter 9 of this regulation contains the provisions which are applicable to transport under the TIR or ATA procedures. Any matter concerning the application of this regulation may be examined by the Community Customs Code Committee provided for in the Council Regulation on the Customs Code.

Common provisions

When goods are transported inside the Community under TIR or ATA procedures, the Community is considered as forming a single territory for the purposes of the transport operation. For the purposes of using ATA carnets as transit documents, 'transit' means the transport of goods from a customs office situated in the customs territory of the Community to another customs office situated within the same territory.

Where, in the course of transport from one point in the customs territory of the Community to another, goods pass through the territory of a third country, the controls and formalities associated with the TIR or ATA procedure are carried out at the points where the goods temporarily leave the customs territory of the Community and where they re-enter that territory. Goods transported under cover of TIR of ATA carnets within the territory of the Community are regarded as non-Community goods *, unless their Community status is duly established.

The TIR procedure

The TIR procedure is an international customs transit system that applies to the transport of goods without intermediate reloading, between a customs office of departure and a customs office of destination, provided that part of the journey is made by road. The procedure allows goods to be transported across international borders without the payment of the duties and taxes that would normally be due at importation or exportation. As the Community is considered as a single territory, the TIR procedure can only be used within the Community where the movement either starts or ends in a third country, or where the goods move between two or more Community countries via the territory of a third country.

Recipients of goods sent under cover of a TIR carnet, if they are established in the Community, may at their request be granted the status of authorised consignee, if they regularly receive goods under the TIR procedure, provided they have not committed any serious or repeated infringements of customs or tax legislation.

Application of the TIR Convention in the Community

Since 1 January 2009, TIR procedure is treated electronically in the Community. Discharge of the TIR procedure in the Community must be carried out by the customs office of entry or departure after they have received confirmation from the office of destination or exit that the operation was terminated within the time limit prescribed by the customs office or entry or departure. If, after the expiry of the time limit for the office of exit or destination to give the information that the operation was terminated, the competent authorities for discharge still have no proof that the TIR operation has been terminated, an enquiry procedure is initiated.

The procedure is initiated immediately if the discharge authorities are informed in advance that the TIR operation has not been terminated, or when they suspect as much. The enquiry procedure is also initiated if it transpires subsequently that proof of the termination of the TIR operation was falsified. If the competent office does not receive the information enabling it to discharge the operation, it informs the guaranteeing association concerned and the holder of the TIR carnet, within 28 days after the start of the enquiry procedure with the customs office of destination or exit when the TIR operation cannot be discharged.

When infringements or irregularities committed during transport under cover of a TIR carnet result in a Community customs debt, the Member State identified as competent to recover duties or impose penalties initiates the procedure for recovery from the debtor.

When a TIR operation is carried out on the customs territory of the Community, any guaranteeing association established in the Community may become liable for the payment of the secured amount of the customs debt relating to the goods concerned in the TIR operation up to a limit per TIR carnet of EUR 60 000 or the national currency equivalent thereof. The guaranteeing association established in the Member State competent for recovery is liable for payment of the secured amount of the customs debt.

Where customs authorities of a Member State decide to exclude a person from the TIR procedure under the provisions of Article 38 of the TIR Convention, this decision shall apply throughout the customs territory of the Community.

The ATA procedure

The ATA carnet is used for temporary importation, transit and temporary admission of goods designed for specific purposes, duty-free and tax-free (such as professional equipment for presentations or trade fairs, for example).

Where offences or irregularities are committed during a transport operation under cover of an ATA carnet in a given Member State, that Member State is identified as competent to recover any duties and impose penalties. Where it is not possible to determine in which territory the offence or irregularity was committed, it is deemed to have been committed in the Member State where it was detected unless proof to the contrary is provided.

Findings made by the competent authorities of the different Member States, in applying this regulation, have the same force throughout the customs territory of the Community. Where necessary, the competent authorities are required to communicate to one another all information relating to TIR or ATA consignments and to any offences or irregularities noted.

Key terms used in the act

  • Community goods refers to goods:
    • entirely obtained in the customs territory of the Community, without the addition of goods from non-member countries or territories which are not part of the customs territory of the Community;
    • from countries or territories not forming part of the customs territory of the Community which have been released for free circulation in a Member State;
    • obtained in the customs territory of the Community either from the goods referred to exclusively in the second indent or from the goods referred to in the first and second indents.
  • Non-Community goods: goods other than those defined as Community goods. Goods reintroduced into the customs territory of the Community after being exported outside that territory are also considered to be non-Community goods.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93



OJ L 253, 11.10.1993

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 2454/93 have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purposes only.

Last updated: 12.04.2011