Union Customs Code

The Union Customs Code (UCC) is part of the modernisation of customs and serves as the new framework regulation on the rules and procedures for customs throughout the EU. Its substantive provisions entered into force on 1 May 2016.

The UCC is meant as a natural evolution towards a modern customs environment for which the results and benefits will be grasped only when it will be implemented in its full capacity by the end of 2020 with a view to:

  • Streamline customs legislation and procedures
  • Offer greater legal certainty and uniformity to businesses and Increase clarity for customs officials throughout the EU
  • Simplify customs rules and procedures and facilitate more efficient customs transactions in line with modern-day needs
  • Complete the shift by Customs to a paperless and fully electronic and interoperable environment
  • Reinforce swifter customs procedures for compliant and trustworthy economic operators (AEO)

This will enhance the competitiveness of European businesses and thereby advance the main goals of the EU strategy for growth and jobs. In addition, the changes envisaged by 2020 will protect the flow of goods transiting or moving in and out of the Union and safeguard the financial and economic interests of the Union and of the Member States as well as the safety and security requirements.


While the substantive provisions of the UCC entered into force on 1 May 2016 it is necessary to have a transition period before full implementation can be achieved. This is primarily due to the fact that there is a need to develop new IT systems or upgrade existing ones in order to fully implement the legal requirements. Therefore not all of these systems will be in place on 1 May 2016.

This transition period lasts until 31 December 2020 at the latest. The detailed rules regarding the transitional period are contained in a Transitional Delegated Act and the UCC Work Programme. Their practical application is addressed in several guidance documents produced in collaboration with Member State and Trade representatives. These rules will ensure a smooth transition from the existing customs legislative regime to the new UCC rules on a gradual basis between 1 May 2016 and 31 December 2020.

For more Information, click on the following links:

Taxation and Customs Union Website

10 Facts about the EU’s Customs Union

Guidance Documents for Exporters

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