We are looking for new colleagues! View our vacancies here!

The Benefits of an AEO Certificate for Customs Compliance


Companies engaged in trade with third countries can apply for an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) license with Customs. An AEO certificate offers various benefits for customs compliance and helps companies manage their international trade activities more efficiently.

AEO certificate

What is an AEO Certificate?

AEO stands for Authorized Economic Operator. This concept, introduced by the EU in 2008, aims to enhance the security of the international supply chain and facilitate legitimate trade. Companies that obtain an AEO certificate operate according to the standards set by the World Customs Organization (WCO). This includes manufacturers, importers, exporters, carriers, warehouses, and distributors.

Requirements for an AEO certificate

To obtain AEO status, a company must meet specific criteria based on the Union Customs Code. There are three types of AEO certificates, each with its own requirements and benefits:

  • AEO-C (Customs): Focused on customs simplifications.
  • AEO-S (Safety): Focused on safety and security.
  • AEO-F (Full): Combination of customs simplifications and safety.

Benefits of an AEO Certificate

AEO-C (Customs)

  • Companies with an AEO-C certificate benefit from:
  • Fewer physical and document inspections.
  • Priority treatment during inspections.
  • Customs controls at specific locations upon request.
  • Simplified customs procedures.
  • Reuse of research data in simplified procedures.
  • Lower guarantees.

AEO-S (Safety)

The benefits of an AEO-S certification include:

  • Fewer physical and document inspections.
  • Priority treatment during inspections.
  • Customs controls at specific locations upon request.
  • Advance notice of inspections.
  • Recognition of AEO certification by non-EU countries.

AEO-F (Full)

This is the most comprehensive certification and combines the benefits of both AEO-C and AEO-S.

The certification process

Obtaining an AEO certificate can take six to twelve months, depending on factors such as:

  • The type of goods.
  • The role in the supply chain.
  • Internal involvement.
  • Knowledge and experience with customs-related procedures.
  • Well-documented processes.
  • A robust IT infrastructure.
  • Clear contracts and SLAs with third parties.
  • External certifications such as ISO and ELA.

You can apply for an AEO license via the EU Customs Trader Portal. Before applying for an AEO license, you must conduct a self-assessment, the AEO self-assessment. This allows you to evaluate the quality of your company's internal control system. 

Importance of AEO monitoring

Holding an AEO certificate requires continuous compliance with the criteria. Companies must maintain and regularly review their internal control measures. Any changes in processes or systems must be reported to Customs. This ensures that the company remains compliant and retains the benefits of the AEO certificate.

With Gateway's customs clearance software, companies can more easily stay compliant and fully benefit from AEO advantages within their customs processes. Gateway's built-in validation and check functions ensure that companies effectively meet customs requirements.

Do you want to become more competitive in the international market through customs process optimization? Then feel free to contact us.

More articles that may be of interest to you

Gateway your leading partner in customs software Gateway your leading partner in customs software
What can we help you with?

© 2024 Gateway