T2L and T2L(F) forms to become electronic from March 2024

A pile of documents on a gradient taupe backround

T2L and one of its variants, the T2L (F) , are to become electric from the 1st of March 2024. Find out what these forms and other Proof of Union Status (PoUS) documents are used for in this article.

What is “Union Status”?

Goods have union status when they are obtained in the European Union, imported into the EU and released into free circulation, or produced wholly from goods which fit the aforementioned criteria.
If your goods are not released into free circulation under these conditions, then they have “non-union” status. All goods which are within the EU customs territory are assumed to be union goods because your goods obtain this status when they are released into free circulation.

Non-union goods can be found within the EU customs territory in the following circumstances:

  • The goods are held within a customs-controlled area, such as when awaiting customs clearance at a port, temporary storage area, or a bonded warehouse.
  • The goods are covered by a special procedure, such as when the goods are travelling on a T1 form until the transit clearance is completed at the destination.
  • Fishing products caught by an EU-flag-bearing vessel outside of the waters of the European Union.
  • Fishing products caught by a non-EU-flag-bearing vessel inside the waters of the European Union.

In these situations, goods are assumed to be non-union and you must be able to prove if this is not the case. When using T2L and T2L (F) forms, this is done within the Proof of Union Status (PoUS) system.

What are T2L and T2L (F) forms?

T2L and T2LF forms are used to show that goods have recently been in free circulation within the EU , but have temporarily left the community for transit purposes. Note that T2L and T2L (F) proof of union status is only valid for 90 days from registration.

What is the difference between T2Ls and T2L (F) forms?

The use of a T2L or a T2L (F) form depends on whether the EU country of destination is within the fiscal/tax territory of the European Union – which is different to the customs territory of the EU.
A T2L form is used when your goods are travelling to an EU country which is within the tax territory of the European Union.
A T2L (F) form is used when your goods are travelling to an EU country which is not within the tax territory of the European Union. These countries are part of a special tax regime which has a separate system for VAT to the rest of the EU.
The countries which require a T2L (F) form due to special tax considerations are:

  • The Canary Islands
  • French overseas territories Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, French Guiana, Réunion and Saint-Martin
  • Mount Athos
  • The Aland Islands
  • Cyprus
  • Malta

For all other destinations, a T2L form applies.

Union Status can be proved in other ways

Although many shipments do use T2L and T2L (F) forms, there are some other ways for union goods to be identified when travelling by sea:

Ocean freight via an RSS (Regular Shipping Service)

A Regular Shipping Service (RSS) is where an ocean vessel only travels between EU ports. There is no contact with other vessels for ship-to-ship transfers or visits to any ports outside of the community. Therefore, all goods transported via an RSS are proved to be of union status.

Procedure- and commodity-specific forms that identify union goods

Some commodities and procedures have a special method of identifying whether or not they hold union status, which fall outside of the two methods of proof above.
For example, an ATA Carnet document for goods leaving the EU will identify if any of the goods hold union status for reimport purposes.
Another example is for clearing a car through customs, where the vehicle’s licence plate and registration documents are proof of union or non-union status.

Why proof of union status is necessary

Your goods keep their union status when moving throughout the EU by sea, road, rail or air. However, goods that leave the EU territory are assumed to be non-union.
For example, if a vessel is arriving from international waters and is not an RSS vessel, all goods are assumed to be non-union. However, your goods could have originated in an EU country but simply have been transported via sea to the destination. 
In this case, you need a T2L or a T2L (F) to prove your goods are union goods and therefore exempted from third-country import clearance procedures and paying duty and VAT.

T2L and T2L (F) forms are going electronic  from the 1st of March 2024

From the 1st of March, any goods travelling on a T2L or a T2L (F) form must be declared electronically on the new EU Proof of Union Status (POUS) system. 
To confirm your movement has been completed, you must electronically submit the Movement Reference Number (MRN) of your clearance on arrival of the goods – not confirm closure at the customs office of origin/destination. The system for electronic submission will depend on the member state you are closing the procedure in.
Customs Support provides clearance and consultancy services in 12 countries throughout the EU. If you need help determining how the change of T2L and T2L (F) forms to electronic in March 2024 will affect you, reach out to us for assistance.