Outward processing

Outward processing is a customs procedure where businesses can temporarily export Union goods from the customs territory of the Union e.g. for manufacture or repair.

Products manufactured through processing can be released for free circulation with total or partial relief from import duty.

The import duty on the products that will be manufactured of the products that are placed under the outward processing procedure (21XX) must be higher than zero when they are imported into the Union.

From 25 November 2020, an outward processing procedure that starts with export will require that an electronic INF number be provided in the export declaration.

If the import duty on these products is going to be zero due to their origin, tariff classification or other similar reason, temporary admission (22XX) has to be applied instead of outward processing. In such cases it is, therefore, not possible to use the outward processing procedure.

Points to consider

An authorisation for the outward processing procedure can be applied by a business that is established in the customs territory of the Union and that doesn’t have to carry out processing operations itself. The authorisation holder or, with the consent of the authorisation holder, another business established in the customs territory of the Union can release the goods for free circulation with total or partial relief from import duty.

In the standard authorisation procedure, an authorisation for the procedure has to be applied for in advance with customs form No. 1017e.

An authorisation for applying the procedure can be applied with a customs declaration. In that case, the required additional information is submitted with a message declaration or an online declaration. An authorisation for the procedure is granted, when the goods are released for the outward processing procedure. Agricultural products from customs tariff chapters 1–24 (goods according to annex 71–02 to the Delegated Regulation) cannot be placed under the procedure with a customs declaration.


The amount of import duty shall be calculated on the basis of the cost of the processing operation undertaken outside the customs territory of the Union as well as on the basis of certain other costs, such as the cost of transport outside the Union. In addition to the above-mentioned costs, the taxable amount for VAT also includes the amount of duty levied.


Outward processing is discharged when the processed goods are cleared for import.

The procedure must be discharged within the time limit given in the standard authorisation or in the export declaration for outward processing.


Prior import refers to the import of replacement products before the defective goods are exported. Prior import only concerns the standard exchange system (i.e. the use of replacement products).

Under the standard exchange system, a replacement product may replace a processed product. Replacement products shall have the same commodity code, the same commercial quality and the same technical characteristics as the temporarily exported goods after repair.

The procedure is subject to authorisation. In case of other than standard authorisation procedure, an accepted import declaration serves as the authorisation.


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