Here you will be given an overview of the laws and regulations that apply to the establishment and operation of a customs warehouse, and the conditions you must meet as a customs warehouse keeper.
All goods that arrive in the country shall be registered by a customs warehouse keeper or by Norwegian Customs. The purpose of this is for Norwegian Customs to be able to keep track of all movement of goods to the country, and that the individual consignments of goods are assigned an identity that is comprehensible to both Norwegian Customs and the business sector.
The operator of a means of transport with goods from abroad, or whoever acts on his behalf, is obligated to register the goods with the customs warehouse keeper when they are to enter the customs warehouse. In the following cases, the goods shall be registered by Norwegian Customs
- in the event of internal transit without prior entry to the customs warehouse
- in the event of entry to the Norwegian Customs warehouse
The registration of goods takes place by the customs warehouse keeper or Norwegian Customs entering the goods number for the entire cargo or the part of the cargo that is destined for the relevant unloading/storage location.
The goods number consists of 15 characters and states the year, customs region, customs warehouse keeper, date (day of the year) and clearance number with the customs warehouse keeper on this day.
The operator of a means of transport where a foreign seal ( for example applied by an authorised consignor in accordance with the Transit Convention) or a Norwegian customs seal has been applied, shall contact the destination customs office for removal of the seal before the goods are registered with the customs warehouse keeper.
The customs warehouse keeper shall keep a journal of goods for each day and a journal of observations for each consignment.
The journal of observations shall be submitted immediately after unloading, no later than 12 noon the first business day after the completion of unloading. Journals of observations where there are no deviations (shortages/surpluses) shall not be submitted to Norwegian Customs, but only maintained as part of the customs warehouse accounts. Unless otherwise determined, the unloading list and transit documents shall be submitted along with the journal of observations.
Before the unloading of goods from the means of transport to the customs warehouse and the registration of goods can take place, unloading permission must be obtained from Norwegian Customs.
Registered goods shall be physically placed in the customs warehouse.
The customs warehouse keepers with a type A customs warehouse may, however, upon application be granted permission for direct transport. This means that you can transport the goods directly to the consignee and store them there. See a more detailed description under Section “Type A customs warehouse”.
For unloading to a customs warehouse, Norwegian Customs can grant three different forms of unloading permission. The type of unloading permission the customs warehouse keeper has is evident from the customs warehouse licence.
1. Unloading permission must be obtained in each case
This means that the customs warehouse keeper must obtain unloading permission from Norwegian Customs for each consignment of goods he receives to his warehouse. The permission must be granted by an active act. At a minimum, the warehouse keeper should send an e-mail in which he applies for unloading permission for the consignment of goods he is to unload to his warehouse, and Norwegian Customs will confirm this by replying to the e-mail.
2. General unloading permission
Here the customs warehouse keeper has upon application obtained permission to register the goods in the consignments he receives and unload these without obtaining more detailed permission from Norwegian Customs. This may apply to both unloading to ones own warehouse and direct transport (storage with the consignee).
3. Special unloading permission granted in the customs warehouse licence
This system is adapted to the individual customs warehouse keeper, and it is a combination of the two previous unloading permissions. Here, for example, general unloading permission may have been granted for individual types of goods or goods to a specific consignee, while unloading permission must be obtained in each individual case for other goods.
In connection with the application procedure for the customs warehouse, premises that are to be used for the storage of goods not cleared for free circulation shall be approved by Norwegian Customs. The same applies to any subsequent remodelling or changes to the premises. Before the premises can be approved as a customs warehouse, they must be equipped, furnished and secured so that Norwegian Customs finds that they are suitable for the purpose.
The customs warehouse keeper shall ensure that no unauthorised parties gain access to the customs warehouse. Norwegian Customs shall have access to all the buildings and areas that have been approved as a customs warehouse. The warehouse keeper is obligated to inform Norwegian Customs of who has day-to-day responsibility for the warehouse.
Norwegian Customs can inspect
- persons and means of transport that arrive at or leave the customs warehouse
- goods that arrive are removed from or stored in the customs warehouse
- customs warehouse keeper’s accounts and inventories
All types of goods can in principle be placed in the customs warehouse, provided that they do not represent a hazard and that there is adequate space. It is pointed out, however, that certain types of goods, such as meat, chemicals, explosives, etc., may require permission from authorities other than Norwegian Customs in order to be stored in the warehouse, and that there are different restrictions for the various types of warehouses.
For the entry of goods not cleared for free circulation to the customs warehouse, the customs warehouse keeper shall record these in his customs warehouse accounts. In certain cases, it is also required that the goods are declared into the customs warehouse by an “entry declaration”, see each type of warehouse. In addition, the customs warehouse keeper shall keep a journal of observations.
There are in principle no time limits for how long goods can be stored in the customs warehouse. In special cases, however, Norwegian Customs can limit the storage deadline. If the goods remain beyond the storage deadline, the customs warehouse keeper is obligated to immediately report this to Norwegian Customs.
If Norwegian Customs requires that goods not cleared for free circulation are entered into the customs warehouse, the customs warehouse keeper cannot refuse this. In such cases, it is important that the warehouse keeper enter into agreements with the consignee with regard to the storage fees. In each individual case, Norwegian Customs should consider whether a storage deadline should be stipulated. For example, a storage deadline should be stipulated for the entry of motor vehicles pending documentation or re-export.
Before goods can be delivered from the customs warehouse, they must be customs processed. Among other things this may involve customs clearance for free circulation, internal transit, etc. The customs warehouse keeper is obligated to ensure that the goods are customs processed before they are delivered from the customs warehouse.
- Manage the entry and withdrawal of goods to/from the customs warehouse
- Record all the goods not cleared for free circulation that are received by the customs warehouse (including direct transport)
- Ensure that the shipping documents are available upon entry to the customs warehouse
- Keep a journal of observations for each entry and submit it to Norwegian Customs in the event of discrepancies
- Keep accounts of the goods not cleared for free circulation that are received to the customs warehouse
- Ensurethat the goods are customs processed prior to delivery from the warehouse
- Give Norwegian Customs a statement of the goods that have been stored beyond the stipulated storage deadline
- Collect any storage fees
Storage fees that accrue while goods are in a private customs warehouses are irrelevant to Norwegian Customs. The individual warehouse keeper must himself ensure that they are collected. It is particularly important that the customs warehouse keeper enters into an agreement with the consignee concerning the storage fees when Norwegian Customs requires that the goods are placed in a customs warehouse.
- Responsible to the owner for the goods
- Responsible to Norwegian Customs for customs duties and public taxes
- Responsible for compliance with the current regulatory and legislative enactments related to the handling and storage of goods.
If goods not cleared for free circulation are stolen or otherwise disappear from the customs warehouse, the customs warehouse keeper must reimburse the owner for the goods. At the same time, he must pay Norwegian Customs for customs duties and other public taxes that would have been charged for the goods if they had been subjected to ordinary customs clearance.
If import or export regulated (restricted) goods disappear, Norwegian Customs shall be informed immediately.
The customs warehouse keeper can also be financially responsible if restricted goods are stored or handled in violation of the current laws and regulations.
A customs warehouse is in principle only a warehouse in which goods not cleared for free circulation can be stored pending customs clearance. Therefore there are strict rules for what can be done with goods not cleared for free circulation that are in a customs warehouse.
Unless an exception has been made (type C customs warehouse), the display, demonstration or sale of goods in the customs warehouse is not permitted.
In the customs warehouse, damaged packaging can be repaired, and any necessary treatment to preserve the goods not cleared for free circulation can be performed while they are in the customs warehouse. An example of such treatment is the removal of rotten vegetables to avoid contamination of the other fresh vegetables. Otherwise, reference is made to the types of disposal that are permitted in the various types of warehouses.
The customs warehouse keeper shall keep accounts of goods in the customs warehouse (customs warehouse accounts).
- The accounts shall provide information on the flow of goods in the warehouse that is as complete and detailed as necessary for control of the movement of goods by Norwegian Customs, as well as for the filing requirements and duty of disclosure that follow from the current Norwegian Customs Act and Regulations.
- The accounts shall contain data on all entry of goods to and release of goods from the customs warehouse, in addition to data on
- where the goods are stored
- when and where customs clearance has taken place, with reference to declarations
- the type, weight and value of the goods, along with other data needed to identify the goods
- any treatment or processing the goods may have undergone at the customs warehouse.
- The customs warehouse accounts shall contain a journal of goods with information on the consignee and address, as well as the registration code or name of the means of transport. For transports that arrive under a transit procedure, the journal shall also contain information on the exit customs office, transit number and transit date. In addition, the journal shall contain information on whether the journal of observations has been submitted to Norwegian Customs.
- Unloading permits that are not encompassed by Section 9 of the customs warehouse licence granted, shall be stored as part of the warehouse accounts.
- The customs warehouse accounts must be up-to-date at all times.
- the warehouse keeper must reconcile the customs warehouse accounts at least once every calendar year,
- the customs warehouse accounts with necessary documentation shall be retained for five years,
- the accounts shall be systematic and well-ordered and be adequately secured against destruction, loss and alteration,
- it must be possible for the accounts to be presented to the Norwegian Customs in a form that permits control throughout the period of retention,
- the material shall be available in readable form, and Norwegian Customs may require that the material be presented free of charge on paper.
The customs warehouse keeper is responsible for the customs duties and public taxes for goods that are misplaced during storage or delivered beyond the control of Norwegian Customs. The requirement may be waived, however, when in the judgement of Norwegian Customs the customs warehouse keeper cannot directly be blamed for the incident.
If the warehouse keeper keeps satisfactory track of his warehouse, and any shortages/surpluses are reported in accordance with the regulations, Norwegian Customs may upon a closer assessment of the individual case accept that the shortage/surplus has arisen prior to the consignment of goods coming under the care of the warehouse keeper. The claim for customs duties and taxes may possibly be waived when the following routine is followed:
- The Journal of observations has been kept and delivered in accordance with the applicable guidelines. It is stressed that the overview shall be kept even if there is no shortage or surplus.
- Surplus goods are entered in the journal of observations with the first available bill of lading number / position number in the transport unit.
- Other information that may be of importance to assessment by Norwegian Customs of the responsibility concerning the customs duties and taxes for the goods is entered in the journal of observations.
- The journal of observations shall be submitted immediately after unloading, no later than 12 noon the first business day after the completion of unloading. Journals of observations where there are no deviations (shortages/surpluses) shall not be submitted to Norwegian Customs, but only stored as part of the customs warehouse accounts. Unless otherwise determined, unloading lists and transit documents shall be submitted along with the journal of observations.
If the conditions laid down are not complied with or the customs warehouse keeper is otherwise guilty of misuse, the permit may be suspended or revoked. The permit can also be revoked, within reasonable deadlines, if the warehouse keeper's commercial and industrial needs for the customs warehouse no longer apply.
A type A customs warehouse is what we normally associate with a customs warehouse. This is a warehouse in which goods not cleared for free circulation can be stored pending customs clearance. Most shipping agents who receive and handle goods on behalf of others are the owners of type A customs warehouses. Individual enterprises may also be granted a licence to establish and operate a type A customs warehouse. The scheme provides an opportunity to store goods not cleared for free circulation and customs process the goods when they are to be used, and in this manner postpone the payment of taxes, among other things.
In type A customs warehouses, only
- goods not cleared for free circulation can be entered, including goods not cleared for free circulation from Svalbard and Jan Mayen.
- goods for which relief from or reimbursement of customs duties and/or special taxes is sought.
- goods for the provisioning of vessels and aircraft.
- goods for use in the North Sea.
- goods for tax free shops (type C customs warehouse)
What can be done with the goods in a type A customs warehouse?
- Repair damaged packaging.
- Other treatment that is necessary to preserve the goods.
- Repackaging or other treatment when Norwegian Customs has given special permission to do so.
Storage with the consignee (direct transport)
A licence for a general customs warehouse, a type A customs warehouse, may include a licence to transport goods directly to the consignee and store them there. Such permission is granted upon application to the regional director.
The following requirements apply to direct transport:
- The customs warehouse keeper shall at all times keep track of where the goods are located. The consignee may not dispose of the goods before they are cleared through customs.
- Alcoholic beverages intended for private consumption may not be transported directly to the consignee.
- Goods that are subject to restrictions cannot be transported directly until all the formalities are in order and the necessary permits have been obtained.
- Entitlement to direct transport may also in other cases be limited to certain types of goods and consignees.
- In the case of goods that are stored with the consignee, a fully completed declaration shall be presented within 10 days of registration at the customs warehouse pursuant to Section 3-1-17 of the Norwegian Customs Regulations.
- The goods may be returned to the customs warehouse keeper’s warehouse before the 10-day time limit expires.
- The goods may not be disposed of by the consignee until they have been cleared through customs.
- The customs authorities may require that goods not cleared for free circulation to be returned to the warehouse of the customs warehouse keeper.
When the consignee receives goods transported directly from the customs warehouse keeper, it is the consignee’s duty to ensure that the goods have been cleared for free circulation before they are used. Any violations may result in sanctions in the form of the calculation of additional customs duties and taxes.
The direct transport of goods does, however, not relieve the warehouse keeper from liability.
In type B customs warehouses, only one’s own goods, or goods for a single enterprise may be stored.
If, for example, a shipping agent is to store goods for more than one enterprise in a type B customs warehouse, he must have a licence for each individual enterprise he would like to store goods for. The goods shall be destined for distribution in multiple countries, of which Norway may be one of the countries.
Only these goods can be entered into a type B customs warehouse:
- goods not cleared for free circulation, including goods not cleared for free circulation from Svalbard and Jan Mayen.
- Norwegian goods that are to be mixed or repackaged with goods not cleared for free circulation.
Entry of Norwegian goods shall be declared.
Entry of goods not cleared for free circulation may take place without an entry declaration.
What can be done with the goods in a type B customs warehouse?
Repackaging or dividing up goods when Norwegian Customs has given general permission to do so.
- Simple processing.
For type B customs warehouses, Norwegian Customs may stipulate special requirements for the keeping of warehouse accounts.
It shall be possible for Norwegian Customs to identify the goods and follow the movement of the goods.
Type C customs warehouses are tax-free shops where spirits, wine, cigarettes, etc. are sold in the departure and arrival halls of an airport with an associated warehouse at the airport. Shops that sell clothes, foodstuffs, etc. at airports, as well as tax-free shops on board ferries that go to foreign ports, are not a type C customs warehouse.
Type C customs warehouses are special because they are the only type of customs warehouse where the display, demonstration and sale of goods is permitted.
Goods that can be placed in a type C customs warehouse:
- Alcoholic beverages with an alcohol by volume percentage in excess of 0.7
- cigarettes in whole cartons
- other tobacco products in the original packaging
- chocolate and confectionery
- perfume, cosmetics and toiletries that belong under Chapter 33, Heading 34.01 of the Customs Tariff.
All goods that are to be placed in a type C customs warehouse shall be declared to Norwegian Customs by an entry declaration in TVINN.
The customs warehouse keeper may not sell larger quantities of duty and tax free goods to each individual passenger bound for a destination in Norway, Sweden, Finland or Denmark than the passenger can bring customs duty and tax free into the destination country.
Application for advance orders
Companies that would like permission for advance orders must apply for this in their customs region. If the company has a licence in multiple locations, it must send an application for each location where they would like to have advance orders. It must be evident from the the application whether it applies to departure or arrival sales, or possibly both.
The local customs office will review the application, carry out the necessary measures such as inspection of the premises etc. and make a recommendation to TAD who will make a decision on the matter.
Conditions for advance orders
The following conditions have been stipulated:
a) Licensee receives the order and packages the goods
b) Packaging shall take place in the warehouse or the shop encompassed by the licence.
c) Passengers go to the tax-free shop encompassed by the licence, pay for and receive the goods there.
d) The documentation requirements for the right to buy, quantities, and the obligation to return the goods if a flight is cancelled, as mentioned under departure and arrival sales, apply correspondingly to pre-ordered goods.
Goods that are pre-ordered are included in the total quantity that is permitted to be sold.
In connection with the introduction of advance orders, changes have been made in the licence section on reporting to SIRUS so that pre-ordered goods may also be specified.
The establishment of a type D customs warehouse is permitted for an individual enterprise or for an enterprise that will store goods for multiple enterprises.
Goods not cleared for free circulation, including goods from activity on the Norwegian continental shelf, may be placed in a processing customs warehouse. In addition, goods for which relief from or repayment of customs duty or special taxes is to be applied for, may also be placed in such a warehouse. Other goods may also be placed there if they are to be mixed or processed with goods at the customs warehouse.
Goods in a processing customs warehouse may be divided up, repackaged or processed. If it is commensurate with the nature of the goods, and the costs incurred by the customs authorities and control requirements indicate it, the customs authorities may give permission for industrial activities in which raw materials are processed into finished products. The processing or production must take place inside the customs warehouse separately from the goods that are intended for the Norwegian market.
In practice, it is possible to give an entire production area status as a type D customs warehouse, even if domestic production also takes place there. Separate series must then be produced “in a type D customs warehouse”, for example, one day a week, while the production is for the Norwegian market (domestic production) the rest of the week.
Relationship to the free trade agreements
The general rule in most of our free trade agreements is that if the exporter applies for a refund, forgiveness or exemption from customs duties in full or in part for the input materials, the right to preferential origin and the opportunity to issue a certificate of origin will lapse. Goods exported from a type D customs warehouse will come under this general rule. The manufacturer/exporter must make a choice between whether to use the scheme for relief from or reimbursement of customs duties through use of a type D customs warehouse, or to retain the opportunity to issue origin documentation for export goods and thus the possibility of preferential customs processing (duty-free status / reduced duties) on importation to the consignee country. For exportation to countries that Norway/EFTA does not have a free trade agreement with, and where it is not relevant to issue origin documentation, it will not be of any importance whether the goods come from a type D customs warehouse.
Customs warehouse licence
The establishment and operation of the customs warehouse is dependent on a special licence from Norwegian Customs. The individual enterprise must document a need, and the premises must be approved by Norwegian Customs. Detailed conditions for the security and operation of the warehouse are stipulated in the customs warehouse licence. In addition, strict requirements are stipulated for the warehouse accounts. There are in principle no restrictions with regard to the types of goods for which a customs warehouse licence application can be submitted or to how long the goods can be stored in a type D customs warehouse.
The warehouse keeper must keep warehouse accounts in accordance with the guidelines established for all the goods in the customs warehouse. The warehouse accounts shall be kept such that Norwegian Customs can identify the goods and follow the movement of the goods.
Entry and withdrawal from type D customs warehouses
As a general rule, an entry declaration must be submitted to Norwegian Customs for the entry of goods into a type D customs warehouse.
Goods that are withdrawn from a type D customs warehouse shall be declared on the forms prescribed at any given time.
Goods can be withdrawn from a processing customs warehouse for:
- export directly to a consignee abroad
- export directly to Svalbard or Jan Mayen
- internal transit to another customs warehouse.
Goods from a processing customs warehouse may be cleared for free circulation, with the exception of processed goods. The customs authorities may nonetheless permit processed goods to be cleared for free circulation if special reasons so warrant.
Applications for the establishment of a customs warehouse (regardless of the type) shall be submitted on the prescribed application form to the customs region where the applicant is domiciled.
Applications for the establishment and operation of a type C customs warehouse shall be processed by the Norwegian Directorate of Customs. The applications shall, however, be reviewed and prepared by the customs region where the applicant is domiciled, before being forwarded to the Norwegian Directorate of Customs for processing.
- Application form for the establishment of a type A customs warehouse
- Application form for the establishment of a type B customs warehouse
- Application form for the establishment of a type C customs warehouse
- Application form for the establishment of a type D customs warehouse
- See Section 3-1-18 (2) of the Customs Regulations
Supplemental documentation/information for a type C customs warehouse
- That the airport has international status
- That the international air traffic at the airport in question is regulated
- The traffic volume, i.e. the number of aircraft movements in and out, as well as the passenger numbers
- Whether the application is for both departure and arrival
- Drawings and a description of the flow of goods from the warehouse to the shop and any return flow
Supplemental documentation for a type D customs warehouse
- A statement of what form of processing and refinement is to take place in the warehouse. For example, that meat in whole carcasses enters and the goods that are taken out of the customs warehouse are finished meat products.
- Product recipes specifying the ingredients in the finished products. This is retained by the regional director in the customs region where the warehouse keeper is domiciled together with a copy of the customs warehouse licence. Any new product recipes shall be sent to the regional director before the start of production.
- How the production is to take place so that the requirement for type D customs warehouses that production shall take place in separate series, or in another manner, that clearly differentiates processing under the customs warehouse procedure, and such that domestic production can be safeguarded if the production is to be for both markets.
- See Section 4-30 of the Customs Act
- See Section 4-30-2 of the Customs Regulations
There is no requirement for mandatory provision of security for customs warehouse keepers. Security requirements are considered based on the applicant’s creditworthiness, and viewed in the context of the quantity and type of goods that are in the customs warehouse at any given time.
Everyone who applies for a customs warehouse licence will be subject to a credit assessment. If the application is granted, the customs warehouse keeper can be subjected to a new credit assessment during the licence period, for example, in a possible audit of the warehouse accounts.
The question of whether the provision of security shall be required as a condition for approving an application for the establishment and operation of a customs warehouse, and possibly the requirement of security during the licence period, depends on an individual assessment of the creditworthiness of the individual customs warehouse keeper. Security will be in the form of a guarantee from a bank or other financial institution.
If the customs warehouse keeper is not regarded as being creditworthy, it will be a condition for granting a licence for the establishment and operation of a customs warehouse that adequate security is provided for the liability he may incur in relation to Norwegian Customs.
In the cases where the customs warehouse keeper is granted a licence without any requirement for security in full or in part, the regional director can require that security is provided or additional security added if the warehouse keeper’s creditworthiness weakens during the licence period.
Amount of the guarantee
The customs region will make a concrete assessment based on the information disclosed in the application and stipulate the amount of the guarantee. The amount of the guarantee will be stipulated based on the potential liability that may arise in relation to the applicant’s / warehouse keeper’s general creditworthiness.
The individual applicant has an independent responsibility to provide correct information in advance on the amount of goods not cleared for free circulation that are expected to be in the warehouse at any given time, differentiated by category and value. In principle, the guarantee shall cover any tax claims that can arise at any given time due to non-fulfilment, i.e. shortages in the warehouse. The customs warehouse keeper is responsible for the customs duties and public taxes for goods that are misplaced during storage or are delivered beyond the control of Norwegian Customs. The guarantee amount is stipulated by Norwegian Customs based on the information on the goods that are found in the warehouse at any given time. Customs duties and taxes, included value added tax, are included in the basis of calculation.
In addition, the guarantee amount can be reduced based on the creditworthiness of the customs warehouse keeper, and if the regional director finds the opportunity for satisfaction to be sufficient seen in the context of the liability that can arise.
Standard guarantee text requirement
Security shall be provided in the form of an absolute guarantee from a bank, insurance company or other financial institution, which has been granted a licence to do business in and is subject to regulatory supervision in Norway or other state that is encompassed by the European Economic Area (EEA).
When a licence is granted, it will be required that the stipulated security be provided before the warehouse can become operational. The standard guarantee text, which is to be used at all times, will be attached when the security requirement is despatched.
If commercial and industrial considerations so indicate, the King with the consent of the Storting can grant permission for the establishment of free zones or free ports.
A free zone / free port is a physically delimited area on Norwegian territory where goods not cleared for free circulation can be stored, divided up, repackaged or possibly processed.
Applications for a free zone / free port shall be submitted to the Ministry of Finance. More detailed information is available from the regional customs offices.
Customs warehouse keepers may send goods not cleared for free circulation domestically from their own customs warehouse without any special application to the customs authorities. The following has been stipulated for this simplification:
- For internal transit from one's own customs warehouse to another customs warehouse, the customs warehouse keepers shall use the “Domestic Consignment Note”.
- For internal transit from another customs warehouse to one's own customs warehouse, the customs warehouse keeper can use the “Domestic Consignment Note”.
- See Section 4-21-1 of the Customs Regulations