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EU ICS 2: Our Briefing & Article Collection

Find Out About the EU ICS 2 system and access our detailed articles' collection.

In A Nutshell

With its advanced cargo information system, ICS2, the EU has established a regulatory framework for customs safety and security to safeguard the single market and its citizens better.

Import Control System 2 is a comprehensive cargo information system designed to strengthen the Customs Union's defence against security and safety risks posed by the illicit trade in goods across the EU's external borders.

It is a project that the European Union is currently working on. The programme is anticipated to be fully operational by September 2025.

I Latest Updates

ICS2 Release 3 goes live on 3 June 2024.

II Essentials on ICS 2

II.1. Advanced cargo risk management platform: ICS 2

ICS2 is the advanced cargo risk management platform at the heart of the reform of the EU's Customs Pre-arrival Safety and Security programme. It is in the process of gradually replacing the existing import control system in three releases between 15 March 2021, 1 March 2023 and from 3 June 2024.

II.2. Why have advanced cargo information through ICS 2?

This preloading advance cargo information is analysed by customs to detect immediate threats to aviation security. This will provide an additional intelligence-driven layer of consignment-level risk analysis in the context of the EU civil aviation security regime. Customs and national competent authorities for civil aviation security will work closely together to achieve this.

This is particularly important for enabling customs to address a wide range of unsafe traffic in the context of massive and growing e-commerce flows. Illicit supply chains will continue to try to exploit the possibilities presented by large flows of small parcels across the globe, whether it's weapons or narcotics, fake medicines or dangerous toys.

II.3. Three Phases - we are approaching the final phase

ICS2 initially addressed mail and express shipments arriving in or departing from the EU by air before expanding to include all forms of cargo transportation and being finished by one 1 September 2025.


  1. Express carriers and postal operators within the EU have begun to provide a part of their Entry Summary Declaration data before loading goods onto aircraft bound for the EU, in Release 1.

  2.  Release 2 extended these new capabilities to general air cargo in March 2023.

  3. Release 3, which will include maritime, rail, and road modes of transport from 3 June 2024 until September 2025.

II.4. Who is concerned by ICS 2?

It will depend on the types of services these businesses provide in the international movement of goods and is linked to the three release dates of ICS2 (15 March 2021, 1 March 2023, and ICS2 Release 3 goes live on 3 June 2024 (not 1 March 2024). - UPDATED 19.01.2024

II.5 How does ICS 2 work?

Before goods are brought into the EU, information about them is gathered. Economic Operators (EOs) must provide safety and security information for ICS2 using the Entry Summary Declaration (ENS). Each EO has a separate deadline for submitting these reports.

III. Focus on ICS 2 Phase 3

A full Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) dataset must be submitted to ICS2 by economic operators transporting goods by land, sea, air, or rail. This includes postal and express carriers that use these transportation methods and other parties like logistic providers that provide transport documents to their clients. In some instances, final consignees established in the EU must also submit ENS data to ICS2.

III.1. Key Dates

III.2. Phased Roll Out

Transport mode deployment window: Economic operators need to request a deployment window from the EU Member State of EORI registration to connect to ICS2 within the allocated period.

ICS2 release 3 Maritime factsheets

Prepare your business for sending goods to or via the EU by sea and inland waterways

The third release of the European Union’s customs pre-arrival safety and security system – Import Control System 2 (ICS2) – goes live on 3 June 2024. ICS2 is an IT system that collects data on all goods entering the EU prior to their arrival.

If you’re involved in handling, shipping, or transporting goods (including express and postal consignments) to or through the EU, Northern Ireland, Norway, or Switzerland by sea and inland waterways, you need to be aware of the new ICS2 requirements and take the necessary steps to comply with them. These requirements also concern e-commerce businesses.

European Commission, Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union, ICS2, Release 3 – Prepare your business for sending goods to or via the EU by sea and inland waterways, Publications Office of the European Union, 2023,

III.4 Business Preparation

As Declarants, businesses, including freight forwarders, are legally accountable for the ENS data's timeliness, accuracy, and completeness. As a result, you should focus primarily on the following ENS data requirements:

  • the six-digit HS commodities code for items of a commercial character, or B2B and B2C: Combination Nomenclature

  • the EORI of the consignee registered in the EU, if this party was given such a number. Parties must provide the ENS declarant with their EORI number.

  • To ensure that the information is accurate, the EORI number may be verified at the EU Commission's website.


It is essential that items be adequately described in clear language and precisely enough so customs officers can identify the goods. Refer to the "Guideline for unacceptable goods descriptions".

Therefore, it is crucial that Declarants make sure they have all the information they need from their customers.

How to submit the ENS under ICS 2?

If the party submitting has access to all the required data, the data submission may be submitted in a single comprehensive ENS form. An alternative method is to use numerous submissions, in which various supply chain participants submit separate partial ENS files.

What happens if ENS are incomplete?

If ENS declarations are incomplete, the EU customs authorities have the authority to reject them. Alternatively, they may issue risk-mitigating referrals during the pre-loading or pre-arrival phase, asking the declarant to provide the relevant information, such as when data is inaccurate. As a result, there will be delays in processing the ENS upon consignment arrival and in the entry procedure.

This is because the risk assessment cannot restart and be completed until the risk mitigation recommendations are addressed and the needed information is given. Customs has the authority to apply administrative penalties to anybody who violates the ENS data obligations.

Documentation & Links

Download the ICS 2, Phase 3 General Datasheet

The third release of the European Union’s customs pre-arrival safety and security system – Import Control System 2 (ICS2) – goes live on 3 June 2024. ICS2 is an IT system that collects data on all goods entering the EU prior to their arrival.

ICS 2 - Reflease 3 Factsheet
Download PDF • 531KB

Download the ICS 3, Phase 3 Technical Datasheet

Under the third release of the European Union’s customs pre-arrival safety and security system – Import Control System 2 – all goods transported on maritime and inland waterways, roads, and railways, to or through the EU, including postal and express consignments, will be subject to new requirements. Read also our technical briefing

ICS 2 - Phase 3 - Technical Datasheet
Download PDF • 615KB

Download the General ICS 2 Datasheet

ICS Factsheet 2021
Download PDF • 3.90MB


ICS 2, Phase 3

ICS 2, Phase 2

Press release

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