Authorized Economic Operator Programme (AEOP)


  • CBEC vide Circular No. 33 dated 22.07.2016 decided to merge two facilitation schemes (1) Accredited Clients Programmer (ACP); (2) Authorized Economic Operator (AEO)
  • Now it is a combined three-tier AEO programmer
  • To benefit and facilitate trade i.e., import and export
  • Faster customs clearance and simplified procedures
  • To bestow a secure status to the entity involved (internationally recognized)
  • Simplified compliance regime
  • In view of the midterm review of Foreign Trade Policy in 2018, additional benefits Extended to AEO’s
  • CBIC vide Circular No. 3 / 2018 – Customs dated January 17, 2018, has made requisite modifications in Circular No. 33 of 2016
  • Decided to maximize the reach of the programmer for trade facilitation and ease of doing business
  • AEO application processing decentralized
  • CBIC vide Circular No. 26 / 2018 - Customs dated August 10, 2018, has simplified and rationalized the process of AEO-T1 Application(s)

BENEFITS UNDER Authorized Economic Operator Programme (AEOP)

  • Direct Port Delivery of Import /export Containers depending on the volume of trade
  • Higher Level of Facilitation, faster customs clearance and simplified customs procedures
  • Priority scanning for containers
  • The facility of deferred payment of duty
  • Faster disbursal of drawback amount
  • Faster processing of bill of entries
  • Faster completion of Special Valuation Branch proceedings in case of related party imports
  • Less amount for Bank Guarantee (50% or 25% as against the usual value)
  • Facility to paste MRP stickers in own premises
  • Onsite PCA instead of regular PCA
  • ICEGATE Access for consolidated data of import and export
  • Paperless declarations with no supporting documents in physical form
  • Nominated Client Relationship Manager as a single window of interaction
  • Faster processing of refund/rebate of duty (minimum of 45 days of submission of documents)


  • AEO-Tier-1 Certificate (three years)
  • AEO-Tier 2 Certificate (three years)
  • AEO-Tier 3 Certificate (five years)
  • AEO-LO [only for economic operators i.e., logistics, customs agents/custodians or terminal operators/warehouse operators] (valid for five years)


The category of AEO Certificate is linked to the benefits attached to such certificate


  • Applicant must be involved in the international supply chain
  • Should undertake customs related activity in India i.e., import or export
  • Must be an incorporated entity with a valid certificate of registration
  • Must provide evidence regarding :
    • Places and warehouses where it handles goods
    • Supply chain information
    • Existence for not less than the past 3 years with own accounts
    • Not less than 25 transactions in a financial year (leniency for MSMEs)
    • Possession of ICEGATE Login to avail benefits under the AEOP


  • Eligible applicant to comply with the following requirements of AEOP:
    • Legal
    • Managerial, Commercial and Transport
    • Financial Solvency
    • Safety and
    • Security
  • Application to be in the prescribed form with :
    • security plan
    • process map
    • site plan
    • self-assessment form
  • Information and documents of the applicant to be scrutinized and assessed for grant of AEO certificate
  • Physical verification by competent authority to ensure compliances
  • Some important indicators to be checked during an inspection:
    • Information on customs matters
    • Remedial action taken on previous customs errors
    • Accounting/logistics systems
    • Internal controls and procedures
    • Flow of cargo
    • Use of custom house agents
    • security of IT and documents
    • logistics process and
    • Storage of goods.
  • Report prepared within 60 days of completion of inspection/verification
  • Report may contain a recommendation to the AEO Programs Manager
  • Applicant informed status of AEO certificate within 30 days of recommendation
  • In case AEO certificate granted, it is activated within a week
  • AEO certificate is valid for a period of 3 years (for AEO-T1 & AEO-T2 Certificate)
  • AEO-T3 – the validity is for five years
  • Renewal within 60 days of expiry
  • Renewal subject to fulfilment of the requirements/compliances


Legal Compliances

  • No SCN issued to the applicant during last three financial years involving :
    • fraud
    • forgery
    • outright smuggling
    • clandestine removal of excisable goods or
    • Service Tax collected but not deposited to the Government
  • No case where the prosecution has been launched or contemplated against the applicant or its senior management

Managerial, Transport Records and Financial Solvency

  • Maintaining accounting system consistent with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) / International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) which facilitates audit-based Customs control
  • Having an administrative set up which corresponds to the type and size of business and which is suitable for the management of the flow of goods
  • Have internal controls capable of detecting illegal or irregular transactions;

Managerial, Transport Records and Financial Solvency

  • Satisfactory procedures for the handling of import/export licenses and authorizations
  • Satisfactory procedures for archiving the company’s records and information
  • Adequate protection against loss of information
  • Employees trained to inform Customs whenever compliance difficulties are discovered
  • Establish suitable contacts to inform the Customs authorities of such occurrences
  • Satisfactory procedures for verifying the accuracy of Customs declarations
  • Appropriate IT security measures to protect the applicant’s computer system from unauthorized intrusion and to secure the applicant’s documentation
  • Applicant must be financially solvent during the last three financial years