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ICS2: new import control system for entry of air freight in the EU

Do you import air freight from third countries with the Netherlands as first destination? In that case, you must comply with the Import Control System 2 (ICS2), the new process Entry of air freight, from 1 October 2023 at the latest.


The Import Control System 2 (ICS2) is a large-scale cargo information system that applies to the whole EU. This system provides for the security and safety of the EU internal market and the EU consumers, because of the pre-arrival customs controls on risk-based goods. If you import goods by air from third countries into the European Customs Union, an Entry Declaration according to the ICS2 will be required from the 1 October 2023.

With the ICS2, the European Commission wants to reform current processes, improve data quality, and optimise prior risk analysis by customs authorities. The ICS2 is an automated process that also improves the data exchange between EU Member States. The system comprehensively supports the following activities:

  1. Submission of Entry Summary Declaration (ENS);
  2. Safety and security risk analysis by Customs;
  3. Notification of Arrival by means of transport; and
  4. Notification of goods and any inspection by customs authorities.

However, the ICS2 does not act as an import system for processing import declarations (the release for free circulation). The ICS2 receives cargo information before the entry of goods into the EU. The entry of goods into the EU is a five-step process:

  1. Submission of Entry Summary Declaration (ENS);
  2. Notification of Arrival by means of transport;
  3. Announcement of the arrival of means transport;
  4. Temporary storage of the goods;
  5. Placing the goods under a customs procedure.

The ICS2 contains the first three out of five steps.

Air freight

The ICS2 requires from air freight declarants to provide certain new and/or additional information when filling in an Entry Summary Declaration. More information about this part can be found on this website.

In The Netherlands the ICS2 will enter into force on the 1 July 2023. You can therefore already use the ICS2 from the 1 July 2023 for filling the Entry Summary Declaration (ENS). This only applies to goods entering the EU by air, as first entry into The Netherlands. There is a transition period (Deployment Window) from the 1 July 2023 until the 1 October 2023.

The transition to ICS2 will take place in phases in consultation with Customs:

  • Carriers: 1 July 2023 – 1 August 2023
  • Postal operators, express couriers and other house filers: 1 August 2023 – 1 October 2023.

Until the 1 July 2023, the current practice in The Netherlands will remain unchanged and ENS will be done by ICS1. Postal companies, express couriers and other house filers will also continue making their ENS declarations by ICS1 until the 1 October 2023.

ICS1 and ICS2

The ICS2 is not an upgrade with regard to the ICS1. The new system replaces the old system with a completely new business process in line with the (new) legal requirements from the Union Customs Code. In this manner, step by step, the process of Entry will be unified across the entire EU. This will start with the entry of goods at the first EU airport of entry. After the final release of ICS2, ICS1 will be phased out. This means that for a certain period, both systems will operate in parallel.

Meer informatie

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