Customs/Bonded warehouse

What is a customs warehouse?


A customs warehouse is a customs procedure under which goods arriving from a country outside the European Union are placed under a customs declaration in order to be stocked in the European Union. The goods are stored for an unlimited period and remain under the surveillance of customs authorities.

The term warehouse equally designates warehouses that have been approved by the authorities, in which goods are stocked under the regime.

The different types of customs warehouses


There is a distinction between public and private warehouses.

The public warehouse can be used by operators authorized by the public warehouse regime. These operators propose services to their clients. There are 3 types of public warehouses:

  • Warehouse type I: the authorization holder and the holder of the share responsibility of the procedure; approval of the warehouse by the authorities is obligatory
  • Warehouse type II: the holder is solely responsible for the warehouse procedure, approval is obligatory
  • Warehouse type III is run by the authorities

In the case of private warehouses, the authorization holder is also the procedure holder and is responsible for the warehouse procedure. There are 2 types of private warehouses:

  • The private warehouse with approval of premises, approved by authorities
  • Private warehouse with no approval: several places of are possible, whose addresses are given to the authorities

Examples and practical applications


Advantage of the customs warehouse procedure

The warehouse procedure offers several advantages:

  • The goods are not subject to import duties and taxes, nor to different trade policy measures

  • The importing company has a stock of duty-free imported goods, for unlimited duration
  • Payment of duties, VAT and other taxes is carried forward to commercialization, which represents a gain in cash flow
  • If the goods are re-exported outside of the EU, payment of duties is unnecessary
  • During , it is possible to carry out interventions (for conservation of goods, upgrading to standards, packaging, calibration…)
  • It is possible to remove the goods temporarily, mostly for execution of the usual interventions


  • A French company imports olive oil from Tunisia and Spain. It uses a service provider authorized to operate as a warehouse.

  • The warehouse is situated in Italy. As classified as a public type I warehouse, the importer shares responsibilities of the procedure with the holder. The holder is responsible for the use of installations. The importer is responsible for the , inventory and must notify any excess or deficit in his stock.

  • The Tunisian olive oil (non-EU) and Spanish olive oil (EU) are stocked in the same warehouse.
  • The importer bottles the oil at an exterior conditioning site.
  • One part of the olive oil is then sold to Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU. For these exports, the French company is not required to pay taxes or duties. The other part is sold in France. The company must pay duties and taxes for sales within the EU.

Regulatory basis


Regulation (EU) n° 952/2013 of the European parliament and Council establishing the Union code (CDU), namely, articles 210 to 223, 237, 238 and 240 to 242.

Regulation delegates (EU) n° 2015/2446 of the Commission of 28 July 2015 completing the regulation (EU) n° 952/2013 of the European parliament and of the Council, articles 163, 164, 169, 171, 173, 177 to 180, 182, 183, 201 to 203, and their annexes A, 71-02, 71-03, 71-04 and 90.

Implementing regulation (EU) n° 2015/2447 of the Commission of 24 November 2015 which establishes the modalities of application of certain dispositions of the regulation (EU) n° 952/2013 of the European parliament and Council, articles 260, 261, 263, 264, 266 to 269 and annex A.

Transitory delegated regulation (EU) n° 2016/341 of the Commission of 17 December 2015 which completes the regulation (EU) n° 952/2013 of the European parliament and Council, namely, annex 12.

General tax code, namely articles 277 A and 291.