Circular No.: ES/123/2021-22 2nd August, 2021
To: Members of the Council
Sub: Amendment in AEO Programme: Auto-Renewal of AEO-T1 validity for continuous certification based on continuous compliance monitoring
We would like to inform you that CBIC has issued Circular No. 18/2021-Customs dated 31st July, 2021 on the above subject.
The Board has reviewed the AEO programme and have received reports of difficulties being faced by the AEO-T1 entities in renewal of their certification especially during the on-going pandemic.
As seen, the renewal of the AEO certification is governed by para 5.1 & para 5.2 of Circular No. 33/2016-Customs dated 22.07.2016 which reads as follows -
5.1 Validity of AEO Certificate
The validity of AEO certificate shall be two years for AEO-T1, three years for AEO-T2, and five years for AEO-T3 and AEO-LO.
5.2 Renewal of AEO certificate
5.2.1 The AEOs, if they so desire to continue their AEO status and avail the benefits, must submit their application as stipulated under Section 2 of this circular, before lapse of their validity as per the following:- AEO status Time limit for submission of application for renewal before lapse of validity AEO-T1 30 days AEO-T2 60 days AEO-T3 90 days AEO-LO 90 days
5.2.2 While submitting the application for renewal, the applicant must clearly highlight the changes from the last application.
5.2.3 AEO Programme Manager will consider the renewal applications by following the procedure adopted while granting the fresh AEO status.
Later para 5.2 was amended vide para 3(viii) of Circular No. 03/2018-Customs dated 17.01.2018.
Accordingly, the following modifications have been made in some of the paras of the aforesaid circular, which are as below: (Relevant extract of the Circular)
viii. Para 5.1 may be read as “The validity of AEO certificate shall be three years for AEO-T1 and AEO-T2, and five years for AEO-T3 and AEO-LO”
When read together, these provisions provide that the validity of AEO certificate shall be three years for AEO-T1 and those AEO-T1 entities wishing to continue their AEO status must submit an application for renewal 30 days in advance of the expiry of the validity of the certification. Further, the status of the AEO-T1 entities would be reviewed every three years.
Taking into account the reported difficulties faced by the AEO-T1 (including MSME AEO-T1) entities in seeking renewal and with a view to reduce their compliance burden, the Board has now decided to allow the facility of continuous AEO certification/auto renewal for AEO-T1 entities. Thus, these entities would no longer be required to seek periodic renewal of their AEO-T1 certification.
The facility of continuous AEO certification/auto renewal for AEO-T1 entities is being made available subject to submission of annual self-declaration (enclosed) and review thereof.
Such annual self-declaration is to be filed between 1st October to 31st December each year.
All AEO-T1 entities certified on or after 01.04.2019 shall stand migrated to the auto renewal process w.e.f. 1st August, 2021.
The zonal AEO Programme Manager that had approved the AEO-T1 certification shall take the annual self-declaration, as mentioned above, on record.
However, in cases where any change in AEO-T1 compliance as per self-declaration is noticed or any adverse input is received from any field formation/investigation agency, the zonal AEO Programme Manager shall take suitable action in terms of Circular No. 33/2016-Customs dated 22.07.2016, as amended, under intimation (electronically) to such AEO-T1 entity as well as to the National AEO Programme Manager, Directorate of International Customs.
On the basis of the annual self-declaration, the concerned zone shall initiate a Comprehensive Compliance Review for the AEO-T1 entities (including MSME AEO-T1), as per para 5.4 of Circular No. 33/2016-Customs dated 22.07.2016, as amended, which is outlined in Circular No.18/2021-Customs.
For more details, members may kindly refer to Circular No. 18/2021-Customs.
Members are requested to kindly make a note of the above.