Eligibility - Who Can Apply

 

  • Anyone involved in the international supply chain that undertakes Customs related activity in India These may include exporters, importers, logistic providers (e.g. carriers, airlines, freight forwarders, etc.), Custodians or Terminal Operators, Customs House Agents and Warehouse Owners.
  • Businesses that are not involved in Customs related work / activities will not be entitled to apply.
  • AEO status will only cover the legal entity of the company and will not automatically apply to a group of companies.
  • The company should have business activities for at least three financial years preceding the date of application.
  • The other economic operators should have handled at least 25 documents i.e. Bills of Entry or Shipping bills during the last financial year
  • There should be no show cause notice issued to the company during last three financial years involving fraud, forgery, outright smuggling, clandestine removal of excisable goods or cases where Service Tax has been collected from customers but not deposited to the Government.
  • An company must be financially solvent during the three financial years preceding the date of application.
  • For more eligibility in details please refer Customs Circular.

Procedure for Issue of AEO Certificate

 

  • Submission Application should be submitted to AEO Programme Manager at registered mailing address in hard copies.
  • Return of Application If application is incomplete or deficient, the company will be suitably informed within 30 days of the receipt
  • Rejection Where the company is not eligible for grant of AEO status, or  Where the deficiency noticed in the application cannot be remedied.
  • Processing On receipt of the complete application and after ensuring that the company is eligible to apply, the information and documents submitted by the company are in place.
  • Certification If AEO status is granted, the AEO Programme Manager shall send the Certificate of AEO Status to the applicant in hard copy along with an electronic copy

Benefits of AEO

 AEO Tier-1 Certification

  • They shall be accorded high level of facilitation in imports and export of their consignments, thereby ensuring shorter cargo release time. 
  • Facility of Direct Port Delivery (DPD) of their import Containers and/ or Direct Port Entry (DPE) of their Export Containers would be available to them. However, this facility will be dependent on the volume of their Import/ Export trade in terms of number of containers.
  • ID cards to be granted to authorized personnel for hassle free entry to Custom Houses, CFSs and ICDs.
  • Wherever feasible, they will get separate space earmarked in Custodian’s premises. 
  • In case they are required to furnish a Bank Guarantee, the quantum of the Bank Guarantee would be 50% of that required to be furnished by an importer/ exporter who is not an AEO Certificate Holder. However, this exemption from Bank guarantee would not be applicable in cases where the Competent Authority orders furnishing of Bank Guarantee for provisional release of seized goods. 
  • Investigations, if any, in respect of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax cases would be completed, as far as possible, in six to nine months. 
  • Dispute resolution at the level of Adjudicating Authorities in respect of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax cases would be done preferably and as far as possible within six months. 
  • They will not be subjected to regular transactional PCA, instead of that onsite PCA will be conducted once in two years only. 
  • They will get an e-mail regarding arrival/ departure of the vessel carrying their consignments. 
  • 24/7 clearances on request at all sea ports and airports – No Merchant Overtime Fee (MOT) charges need to be paid.

AEO Tier-2 Certification

  • They shall be accorded higher level of facilitation (as compared to AEO-T1 in imports and export of their consignments. 
  • For Importers/Exporters not opting for DPD/DPE, seal verification/scrutiny of documents by Custom officers would be waived. Consignments would be given out of charge or let export order, as the case may be, without any scrutiny by the officers.
  • The containers selected for scanning will be scanned on priority, by giving front line of treatment.
  • Facility of deferred payment of duty will be provided, from a date to be notified 
  • Faster disbursal of drawback amount within 72 hours of EGM submission, from a date to be notified 
  • The BEs/SBs selected for Assessment and/or Examination will be processed on priority by the Customs officers.
  • Facility of self -sealing of export goods would be allowed without the requirement to seek case to case base permission from the authorities 
  • Faster completion of Special Valuation Branch (‘SVB’) proceedings in case of related party imports and monitoring of such cases for time bound disposal in terms of new guidelines
  • In case they are required to furnish a Bank Guarantee, the quantum of the Bank Guarantee would be 25% of that required to be furnished by an importer/ exporter who is not an AEO Certificate Holder. However, this exemption from Bank guarantee would not be applicable in cases where the Competent Authority orders furnishing of Bank Guarantee for provisional release of seized goods.
  • They will be given facility to paste MRP stickers in their premises. 
  • They will not be subjected to regular transactional PCA instead of that onsite PCA will be conducted once in three years only.
  • They will be given access to their consolidated import/export data through ICEGATE from a date that would be communicated separately.
  • They will be provided the facility of submitting paperless declarations with no supporting documents in physical form.
  • All Custom Houses will appoint a “Client Relationship Manager” (CRM) at the level of Deputy / Assistant Commissioner as a single point of interaction with them. The CRM would act as voice of the AEO within Customs in relation to legitimate concerns and issues of AEO and would assist in getting procedural and operational issues resolved by coordinating with different sections within Customs as well as other stakeholders.
  • The refund/Rebate of Customs/Central Excise duty and Service Tax would be granted within 45 days of the submission of complete documents.
  • They will get trade facilitation by a foreign Customs administration with whom India enters into a Mutual Recognition Agreement/Arrangement.

AEO Tier-3 Certification

  • The following benefits would be provided over and above the benefits offered in T2: 
  • They shall be accorded highest level of facilitation, as compared to AEO-T2, in imports and export of their consignments. 
  • Their containers will not be selected for scanning except on the basis of specific intelligence. Further when any container is selected for scanning, top most priority will be given for scanning. 
  • The assessing/examining custom officer will rely on the self-certified copies of documents submitted by them without insisting upon original documents.
  • They would not be required to furnish any Bank Guarantee. However, this exemption from Bank guarantee would not be applicable in cases where the Competent Authority orders furnishing of Bank Guarantee for provisional release of seized goods. 
  • An approach based on Risk based interventions, in case of requirements originating from the Acts administered by other Government Agencies/Departments, will be adopted for providing better facilitation in imports and export of their consignments. 
  • On request, they will be provided on-site inspection /examination. 
  • The refund/Rebate of Customs/Central Excise duty and Service Tax would be granted within 30 days of the submission of complete documents.

AEO-LO Certification

  • Logistic Service Providers 
  • (a) Waiver of bank Guarantee in case of trans-shipment of goods under Goods imported (Condition of Trans-shipment) Regulations, 1995. 
  • (b) Facility of Execution of running bond. 
  • (c) Exemption from permission on case to case basis in case of transit of goods. In case of international trans-shipped cargo (Foreign to Foreign), for the pre-sorted containers wherein Cargo does not require segregation, ramp to ramp or tail to tail transfer of cargo can be affected without Customs escorts. 
  • Custodians or Terminal Operators 
  • (a) Waiver of bank Guarantee under Handling of cargo in Customs Area Regulations 2009. 
  • (b)Extension of approval for custodians under regulation 10(2) of the 'Handling of cargo in Customs Area Regulation 2009 'for period of 10 years. 
  • Customs Brokers 
  • (a) Waiver of Bank Guarantee to be furnished under regulation 8 of the CBLR, 2013. 
  • (b) Extended validity (till validity of AEO status) of licenses granted under regulation 9 of the CBLR 2013. System Manager to incorporate date of validity of AEO from time to time in the System Directory 
  • (c) Waiver from fee for renewal of license under sub regulation (2) of regulation 11 of CBLR,2013. 
  • Warehouse Operators 
  • (a) Faster approval for new warehouses within 7 days of submission of complete documents 
  • (b) Waiver of antecedent verification envisaged for grant of license for warehouse under circular 26/2016
  • (c) Waiver of solvency certificate requirement under circular 24/2016 
  • (d) Waiver of security for obtaining extension in warehousing period under circular 21/2016
  • (e) Waiver of security required for warehousing of sensitive goods under circular 21/2016.

Post Certification

Validity

The validity of AEO certificate shall be

  1. AEO T1 - Two Years 
  2. AEO T2 - Three Years
  3. AEO T3 - Five Years
  4. AEO LO - Five Years

Renewal

 Time limit for submission of application for renewal before lapse of validity 

  1. AEO T1 - 30 Days
  2. AEO T2 - 60 Days
  3. AEO T3 - 90 Days
  4. AEO LO - 90 Days

Maintenance

The holder of a Certificate of AEO Status is required to notify any significant change in business and processes which may affect the AEO status to the AEO Programme Team.  

These changes may include the following: 

(i) Change to the legal entity. 

(ii) Change of business name and/or address. 

(iii) Change in the nature of business i.e. manufacturer / exporter etc. 

(iv) Changes to accounting and computer systems. 

(v) Changes to the senior personnel responsible for Customs matters. 

(vi) Addition or deletion of locations or branches involved in international supply chain.

Review

The AEO Programme Team will review AEO status periodically to ensure continued adherence to the conditions and standards of grant of Certificate of AEO Status.  Thus, it is recommended that the AEO status holder should continue to re-assess its compliance with the conditions of certification and act upon any identified problems as soon as they aris 

Suspension

Where any non-compliance with the conditions or criteria for the Certificate of AEO Status has been detected; 

In the case of a Custodian or Custom Broker or Warehouse Operator, where the basic license as a Custodian or Custom Broker or Warehouse Operator, as the case may be, has been suspended by the competent authority.

Revocation


  • Where the Certificate of AEO Status is already suspended and the AEO holder fails to take the remedial measure within 60 days to have the suspension withdrawn; or
  • Where there is a reasonable belief that an act has been perpetrated that is liable to lead to prosecution and /or is linked to an arrest of person under Customs Act, 1962 as mentioned in Para 3.2.2;
  • A show cause notice has been issued to them involving fraud, forgery, outright smuggling, clandestine removal of excisable goods or cases where Service Tax has been collected from customers but not deposited to the Government as mentioned in Para 3.2.1; 
  • here the AEO status holder requests the authorization be revoked.