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What is the transit procedure and what does it include?

Transit is a concept closely related to freight forwarding and transport services. International agreements after the end of World War II contributed to the development of uniform rules for the carriage of goods and the simplification of related formalities. In this text, you will learn what international transit is and what the transit procedure is all about.

Transit – definition

Transit is the transport of people or goods from one country to another through the territory of a third country. In other words, goods or persons are transported from country X to country Y, through the territory of country Z. Loading takes place in one country, unloading takes place in another, and a route is taken through the territory of another country along the way.

Types of Transit

  • direct transit – transport of foreign goods through the territory of a third country without reloading, changing the means of transport or storing it in the transit country;
  • indirect transit – transport of goods with periodic storage of loads on the territory of the transit country;
  • internal transit – transport of loads within the customs territory of the EU;
  • external transit – transport of shipments from third countries through the territory of the European Union.

What is the transit procedure?

The transit procedure is a customs procedure where goods are transported under customs supervision without the need to pay additional fees. Its main assumption is to improve transport by reducing customs and administrative formalities related to the transport of goods. With transit, there is no need to pay additional customs duties in the transit state, even though technically speaking they are due when the goods are introduced into the territory of a given country. Customs formalities related to the transit of goods are initiated by submitting a customs declaration for the transit procedure. An important element of the transit procedure is assigning the MRW, i.e. the registration number used to mark and control international transports.

What transit procedures are in force in Poland?

There are three transit procedures in Poland:

  • domestic procedure
  • common transit procedure
  • TIR procedure

Domestic transit procedure

The domestic transit procedure occurs between:

  • border customs offices, when Poland is a transit country
  • internal customs offices when foreign goods are moved between Polish customs warehouses
  • the border customs office and the internal customs office, when Poland is the destination place of arrival of foreign cargo

Union transit procedure

The common transit procedure is a customs procedure that allows any goods to be moved from one place to another within the EU and EFTA. For transport under the CTP procedure, one SAD transit document and one guarantee should be submitted to the office of departure.

TIR procedure

The TIR procedure applies strictly to road transport, during which the cargo crosses at least one customs border. In practice, there are most often several customs borders.

T1 and T2 procedures – what is the difference?

The T1 and T2 common transit procedures depend on the customs status of the transported goods. They require the submission of a different transit declaration, i.e. a document authorizing the transport of a load between two customs offices. Simply put, the T1 and T2 procedures are opposites of each other.

T1 procedure

  • refers to land, sea and air transport
  • applies to goods originating from outside the EU
  • clearance at the first customs office after entry into the EU or suspension of customs and administrative duties until the goods are delivered with the T1 document to the community country of destination.
  • requires the T1 document

T2 procedure

  • pertains only to land transport
  • applies to community goods
  • requires the T2 document 
  • the goods do not change the customs status even if the transport passes through a non-EU country on the way

What documents are mandatory for transit procedures?

  • documents set out in customs law, e.g. SAD
  • ATA carnet, which is a transit document
  • TIR carnet, if the procedure starts or ends outside Polish customs

Transit has greatly facilitated the process of transporting goods, becoming a real expression of open borders between countries. In addition, the transit procedure lowered the costs of the transport itself, reducing administrative and customs costs to an acceptable minimum.