ICS2: What are the challenges for your imports from countries outside the European Union?
5 October 2023

ICS2: What are the challenges for your imports from countries outside the European Union?

To meet the challenges of security and territorial protection, the European Union has launched a new programme to control goods. This programme is implemented via a large-scale information system called ICS2 (Import Control System 2).

ICS2 consists of sending, by electronic message, a set of additional import information before the departure of the goods from the place of origin (loading) and before the arrival of the means of transport in the European Union (at the first point of entry).

ICS2 is being introduced according to a specific timetable, depending on the mode of transport: 

  • Effective since 1 July 2023 for air transport
  • For sea, road and rail transport it is due to come into force in June 2024 (date pending validation by the European Commission.)


When does ICS2 apply?

ICS2 is applicable to all goods originating from a third country and destined for (or in transit through) all the European Union countries plus Norway, Switzerland and Northern Ireland.


Who is responsible for declaring the additional information required?

ICS2 requires the transmission of an “entry summary declaration” (ENS) in addition to the electronic transmissions currently in force. The declaration is transmitted via your transport service provider.


What additional information is required?

Here is the list of information required for a compliant ENS:

  1. The EORI number of the final consignee of the goods (as well as the full name of the company, its address, telephone number and email contact).
  2. Customs nomenclature(s) in six-digit format.
  3. A precise description of the goods.
  4. Where applicable, the gross weight of the goods for each customs nomenclature.

It is important to ensure that your supplier(s) provide accurate and consistent information on their documents (commercial invoice, packing list, etc.), as this information will be used throughout the ICS2 declarations, the Air Waybill and the Arrival Clearance Declaration.


What is the difference between ICS2 and Customs Import Formalities?

ICS2 is a programme linked to the safety and security of the territory of the European Union. It is linked to EU Customs, which checks goods at the EU’s borders.

Customs import formalities are linked to the introduction and marketing of goods in the country of destination, and also cover the tax aspect with the customs authorities.

Both types of declarations are necessary to validate the entry of your goods onto the market.


What happens if all the information is not available? Or if it is not correct?

If the information is not available at the time of the transport booking/acceptance request your goods will not be accepted and the airline will not be able to confirm the flight details.

If the information is incorrect or inconsistent, ICS2 will not be validated by Customs and you run the risk of having your goods blocked at the point of entry into the EU, as well as having your packages physically inspected.

If the outcome of a physical check or additional customs verification is not favourable, the formalities for clearing the goods through customs in the territory cannot be completed, and the goods will have to be returned to their origin.


The implementation of these new regulations impacts every operator in the supply chain, from the supplier to the final recipient of the goods.

In order to limit the risk of delays, blockages or checks, we invite you to contact your suppliers and check that they have the correct information so that it can be transmitted as soon as the transport is set up.