Three types of AEO certification – which is right for you?

An Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) certificate is a quality mark that is internationally identified. AEO certificates are to prove that your goods and are coming from a safe source, and that you are fully compliant with customs procedures and controls.

Although AEO is not required by law, it is recommended for commercial businesses, as it provides many benefits when dealing with customs, which can include fast tracking shipments through certain security measures, and simplifying the customs procedures, making shipments reach their destinations sooner.

Perhaps you’re considering what certification is best for your business. If this is the case, the information provided here should help lead you to a well-educated decision.

ContainersWho Should Consider an AEO Certificate?

Businesses that are eligible for AEO status include properties established in the EU with a valid EORI (Economic Operator Registration Identification) number that are actively involved in international trade and customs operations. In special circumstances an AEO certificate can be issued to a company founded outside of the EU.

The European Commission (EC) provides an AEO database containing information on every business that holds an AEO certificate.

Business, regardless of size, put in an application for AEO status if they are in business with international supply chains that include freight forwarders, carriers, manufacturers, warehouse keepers, importers and exporters.

AEO Certificates – Which type is right for my business?

There are 3 different forms of AEO certificates available, each offering different benefits which are described below.

Customs Simplifications AEO Certificate

A customs simplifications AEO certificate can be given to any company that meets the required criteria. Criteria are based on the company’s financial solvency, their ability to keep accurate records and their customs compliance.

Having such certification speeds up the authorisation process when applying for certain custom procedures such as:

  • Simplification for regular shipping services
  • HMRC Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP), local clearance procedures and national export systems
  • Simplified declaration procedures under NES and CFSP

Security and Safety AEO Certificate

Security and Safety AEO certificates are issued to businesses that fulfil the required criteria for a custom simplifications certificate, in addition to being required to submit to and maintain all appropriate safety and security standards. The many additional benefits to holding this certificate are as follows:

  • Fast tracked consignment shipments
  • Reduced conditions for ENS and EXS declarations
  • Lowering risk scores used to reduce frequency of customs checks
  • Prospective future industry relationships outside of the EU

Combined Customs Simplifications/Security and Safety AEO

The combined certificate can be awarded to any company that is able to meet all of the requirements of both other certifications, and wishes to take advantage of the combined benefits of both.

Regardless of the type of certificate your business chooses to obtain doing so will bring you a well-known industry mark useful for marketing your business and building reputation, as well as a recognised status throughout the EU.

How do I get AEO?

Businesses have to meet certain qualifications to be granted certification and are outlined as follows:


Three years of records in regards to customs and tax requirements are required; HMRC will be looking for infringements on customs rules involving your business, any employees of the business, managers and legal advisors. Procedures are also required to be in place for controlled goods and errors.

Record Keeping

You will have to prove you have an appropriate system of handling records, have the proper staff for administration, are available for customs review, and have technology security measurements in place as well as a full accounting report with paper trail.


Proof of meeting financial commitments and having been financially solvent for at least three years prior to application will be needed.


Security procedures will have to be in place against all potential risks, and you will be required to comply with all health and safety regulations, complete assessments and provide staff training. Shipping safety procedures are also mandatory.


If all this seems overwhelming, don’t worry. Chances are you’re doing some, or all of these things already. For a full review and help with AEO accreditation, contact Synergos Consultancy on 01484 817444 or email We can ensure that you are working your way towards AEO accreditation the right way.


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Jenny Kilburn
Jenny Kilburn
Completed my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in 2012 I was looking to start my own business. With over 10 years improving and streamlining business systems, I grasped an opportunity to assist a local business to improve their quality and communication processes by researching the requirements of a quality management system based upon ISO 9001 and conducted my first internal audit that resulted in 97 improvement recommendations. After a successful outcome, I was recommended again and again with glowing reviews and in February 2014, Synergos Consultancy was born. I now have the role of regularly reviewing and planning the strategic direction of the business to ensure that Synergos continues to develop, whilst at the same time, still actively working closely with some of our clients. In my spare time I love to attend the theatre to watch musicals, dance productions and plays. In 2019, I attended the theatre a whopping 24 times. I follow a plant-based diet which I absolutely love. A keen tick-tock follower, I have picked up a lot of interesting recipes. A firm favourite is Brussel sprouts and sriracha sauce baked in the oven. Delicious!
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