Outward Processing

Customs Procedures | A quick guide to Outward Processing to claim full or partial duty relief when the goods are re-imported to the UK


Outward Processing allows traders from the United Kingdom to temporarily export goods from the UK for processing or repair in an EU country or any other country in the rest of the world. The process enables the traders to claim full OR partial duty relief when the goods are re-imported to the United Kingdom.

Who is eligible for using Outward Processing

If you are an established business in the United Kingdom, you may apply for an outward processing authorisation. Another person or entity may also do so with your permission. You are not required to own the goods exported, nor are you required to be the person re-importing them.

Additionally, you must be financially sound, have a track record of adhering to customs regulations, and maintain or keep the relevant records. You cannot apply for outward processing if you’re a freight forwarder, fast parcel operator or customs agent.

Which commodities are excluded from relief

Traders cannot apply Outward Processing for any of the following:

  • Where the export results in repayment or remission of import duty
  • Prior to export, the products were released into free circulation at an end-use rate, but they were not placed to an authorised use (other than repair)
  • Products whose export results in a refund
  • When the export of the goods results in any other financial benefit under the UK Agricultural Policy

Steps to consider before applying for Outward Processing

Before beginning the application procedure, you should determine whether you require the following:

  • a guarantee
  • an import license

Additionally, you will require the following information:

  • your EORI (Economic Operator Registration Indicator) identifier
  • specifics about the location of your records or how they will be preserved 
  • where the commodities will be exported from
  • whether simplified declarations will be used; and details of any guarantees (if applicable)
  • how long the products will remain outside the UK
  • specifics about the goods being processed (commodity codes, description, value)
  • the quantity of items you intend to export; specifics on the process to be followed

Additionally, you must demonstrate the number of products to be re-imported (rate of yield). The rate of yield indicates how many products you produce in relation to the number of goods exported

Obtaining an authorisation for Outward Processing

There are four types of authorisations you can get to use outward processing:

  • full authorisation
  • retrospective authorisation
  • authorisation by declaration
  • authorisation covering Northern Ireland and the EU

For a detailed understanding of each authorisation type, please refer to our article on Inward Processing Authorisations.

Calculating your duty payments

Once you are authorised and ready to use Outward Processing, it is essential to note that correctly calculating the duty payment is the trader’s responsibility. The amount depends on the costs of processing or repairing the exported goods and bringing them back into the UK. Traders are responsible for working out the duty they want to claim, and they need to show HMRC the calculations they have used.

Exporting your goods

Following are the steps you need to follow once you are ready to export using the Outward Processing: 

  • Include your export declaration’s outward processing relief authorisation number. 

If you intend to re-import your items in separate consignments, you must submit an INF form. Each commodity code requires its own form. The form should include characteristics about your goods, such as their description and quantity identifying numbers, or any other information that would enable HMRC to match your imports and exports and the estimated yield rate.

Re-Importing your goods

Your import declaration must include your outward processing authorisation number. Additionally, HMRC will require documentation establishing that the products you’re re-importing were exported via Outward Processing; and that you’ve calculated the amount of duty relief you’re claiming appropriately.

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