Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)

AEO Project Management & Application Support

AEO status is an international supply chain quality standard, issued to businesses in the UK by HMRC. AEO was introduced by the World Customs Organisation as part of their Safe Framework of Standards, which aims to both secure and facilitate international trade.

Vartan project management services

Vartan is one of the leading AEO consultancies, and has project managed accreditations for numerous manufacturers, importers, exporters, freight forwarders, shipping lines and ports.

Our tailor made services include:

  • Complete AEO application management
  • Quality Management System design and implementation
  • Customs procedure audits
  • Customs compliance
  • Risk assessment & risk management
  • Ongoing AEO management service

How Vartan can help you

HMRC advise businesses applying for AEO status they need to have completed the application accurately and have processes and procedures in place with evidence they are being followed for the auditor.

At Vartan we do not advise any companies we work with to submit their application until we are sure all the procedure and evidence is in place and, as a result, we have a 100% successful accreditation record.

We will review your systems and, where required, take you through the steps necessary to develop your company procedures to an AEO standard. We will advise on the best way to document and present your company procedures to achieve a successful outcome to your application.

We attend during the HMRC audits to provide support and expertise, and will be on hand to deal with post audit matters.

Once approved we can provide ongoing AEO management to maintain your procedures at the required level and ensure any system changes made by HMRC are established in your company processes.

Our expert knowledge will help ensure your company has the correct policies, procedures and audit trails in place before submitting the application, leading to a successful audit by HMRC and a successful outcome to your submission to become an Approved Economic Operator.

There are two types of AEO status available, AEO-C and AEO-S. You have the option to apply for either, or both, depending on your business activities and requirements.

AEO-C: Customs simplifications


  • Competitive advantage, with faster clearance and priority examination
  • Enhanced internal control via the AEO application process
  • Reduced data requirements on customs declarations
  • Improved customs compliance
  • Reductions or waivers of mandatory guarantees such as the Comprehensive Customs Guarantee

Application scope

  • Establish internal quality management system including documentation of procedures
  • Non-conformance reporting and reviewing
  • Review internal procedures relating to customs compliance including representation, classification, origin, valuation & licensing
  • Ensure IT and documentation security measures meet AEO standards
  • Customs file auditing


AEO-S: Safety & Security


  • Improved supply chain security
  • A lower risk score – used to determine the frequency of customs physical and documentary checks
  • Enhanced internal control via the AEO application process
  • World-wide recognition as a safe and secure business partner
  • Mutual recognition with the USA, China & Japan, with more countries developing similar schemes

Application scope

  • Conduct a full risk and threat assessment which specifically addresses AEO criteria
  • Develop a business continuity / disaster recovery plan
  • Develop security plan including documented measures for people, goods and information
  • Establish security agreements with trade partners
  • Thorough review of physical security


AEO Maintenance services ensuring continued status compliance

Achieving AEO status marks the end of a lengthy internal process and successful audits by HMRC. It is easy to relax once the certificate is achieved, knowing the next scheduled AEO audit will not be due for another 3 years. We have found from experience that periodic maintenance days ensure you are keeping up to date with your newly established audit trails, ensuring you don’t get caught out down the line.

We recommend a quarterly, biannual or annual maintenance program, depending on the extent of your economic activities. Our maintenance services can be tailored to suit your business needs.

All of our maintenance days are completed with you on site. We can change the focus of the visits, depending on your needs or compliance concerns, to ensure you get the maximum benefit.


Vartan can help you maintain AEO status

Regular external audits and health checks will ensure ongoing compliance with AEO criteria, along with refresher training for staff and regular procedure reviews to keep up with your operations as they change over time. We can attend during HMRC reassessments to provide ongoing support and expertise, and will be on hand to deal with post audit matters. Our ongoing AEO management is designed to ensure your procedures and audit trails are maintained at the required level, protecting your Approved Economic Operator status.