Updated December 2, 2014

Once an aircraft arrives in the EU, it is automatically granted temporary admission and eligible for conditional relief from VAT and customs duties so long as the following conditions are met:

  • Aircraft must not remain in the EU for more than six months in a twelve month period.
  • Aircraft must be owned outside of the EU and not made available for use within its boundaries by EU residents (see below for additional details).
  • The aircraft is flown for private use, not commercial use.

In general, temporary admission is only available to aircraft in private use and is not available to aircraft in commercial use within the EU. Commercial use is defined as “the transport of persons for remuneration or the industrial or commercial transport of goods, whether or not for remuneration.” While private use is defined as, “the transport exclusively for personal use by the person concerned excluding commercial use”.

One of the challenges with temporary admission is that definitions of private and commercial use relied upon by customs authorities in the EU do not always line up with definitions provided by authorities such as the FAA and ICAO. Also, the varying interpretations of the customs code within the EU also make it difficult to understand if temporary admission is available to traditional private business aircraft operations conducted by a corporate operator.

Transport of EU Residents

Customs regulations typically provide that transport of EU residents within the EU territory is not subject to duty and tax so long as the travelers are employed by the aircraft owner or otherwise authorized to be on board. If the EU passengers are not employed by the aircraft owner, it is recommend that the aircraft owner prepare a letter stating that the EU passengers are authorized to be on board. If the aircraft is leased, the letter can be prepared by the lessee.

In addition to EU residents that are carried on board for a business purpose, it is possible to carry EU residents for non-business purposes. Again, the aircraft owner must prepare a letter stating that the EU residents are authorized to be on board.

If the transportation of EU residents meets the conditions described above, operators are still generally permitted to use the temporary admission process.

Learn about Private vs. Commercial Definitions