top of page

What is an EU Binding Tariff Information (BTI), and why would you need one?

Binding Tariff Information (BTI) is an essential tool for precise customs classification in the European Union . So, what is it? How does it work? So, what are the benefits? We analyse it.

Key Points

  • A BTI is a legally binding decision in the EU.

  • A BTI provides legal certainty on the correct commodity code of a product

  • The Application for a BTI is easy and done online

  • We can support you with all aspects of the BTI application


I Introduction

Locating the correct Customs tariff number for a complex product may be difficult, time-consuming, and prone to mistakes. Companies may face customs inquiries if they use the incorrect customs tariff number in their customs declaration. So, how can businesses ensure the use of the correct customs commodity code? This is the topic of this blog entry.

What is a "Binding Tariff Information" (BTI) in Europe?

A “Binding Tariff Information” is a written, legally binding decision concerning the classification of items, to be imported or exported. It is issued by the customs authorities in the EU.

Why go for a BTI?

In short, having a BTI ensures that the items are correctly classed for tariff purposes. A BTI allows for accurate product classification, meaning an exact tariff commodity code number determination, the corresponding tax allocation, and the application of EU import and export restrictions and prohibitions.

I have heard of Advanced Tariff Rulings or ATRs. What distinguishes them from BTIs?

Not much, I would say. Advance tariff rulings (ATR) is another name for BTI, notably used in the UK. Like in the EU, an ATR gives the pertinent commodity code legal backing, which may be utilised to establish the necessary duties and taxes. Thanks to advance tariff judgements, importers and exporters may be sure of the tariff classification of commodities, just like the EU BTI.

To find out more about the UK ATR, access the UK's ATR information here.

II Benefits of Binding Tariff Information (BTI)

What are the benefits of obtaining a BTI?

Before the importation or exportation of commodities, BTIs may be sought, giving importers and exporters legal assurance on the correct classification of their items. Because different tariffs apply to different commodities, you must attribute the valid commodity code to each product. There are other reasons, too, why getting the correct commodity code is so important: Some products need import or export permits, which are – you guessed it - defined by the commodity code. It's also conceivable that there are explicit or quantitative restraints in place; a trader will be aware of this via the use of a commodity code. As a result, obtaining a BTI will alert you of any potential constraints or licencing needs before any import, preventing delays and higher expenses. It is also useful in calculating export refunds and customs costs.

III Answers To Practical Questions regarding BTIs

Is the use of a BTI a legal requirement?

Even though it is not required by law, obtaining a BTI ensures that your products have the proper commodity or Harmonised Tariff Code. Many customs authorities offer non-binding guidance information (like a helpline), too. This may be a first step for companies that are not ready for a legal BTI ruling.

Who issues BTIs in the EU?

National Customs Authorities.

Where may a BTI be used?

A BTI issued in one EU Member State is valid across all EU Member States.

How long is a Binding Tariff Information (BTI) valid?

An EU-wide BTI decision usually is valid for three years. Businesses must renew their Binding Tariff Information decision when the timeline is up. This suggests a sizable effort, particularly for companies with a large inventory. See below for the BTI service we offer to support you.

When can a Binding Tariff Information be used?

A BTI decision often applies after the decision's start date.

How many different products can a BTI cover?

BTIs are issued for specific items. For different products, another BTI must be sought.

Who is bound by the BTI?

It is binding on the holder and all EU customs administrations regardless of where in the EU it is issued.

How much does a BTI cost?

There is no cost to applying for a BTI. This is why taking advantage of the opportunity to get binding tariff information is so attractive. As a result, unless you engage a consultant, you will only pay for the “time” of your staff member having to prepare the application.

Where can I look at the application form to know what information I need to provide?

Download the application form to get a good idea of what’s required:

How can I ask for a BTI decision?

Contact us before applying for general information or guidance on BTIs in your EU Member State, as there may be specific provisions you may need to follow. A BTI judgement is the sole way to get legally binding information. All BTI-related operations have been digitised. There are two pathways to file an application for a BTI decision: The national trader portal, if one exists, or the EU Customs Trader Portal are the two choices. Member nations that run national BTI systems offer a national trader site.

Member State National E-BTI systems

Most EU Member States use an EU-wide Trade Portal for Binding Tariff Information applications. But some run national BTI systems. Get access to all systems here:

IV How to apply for a BTI successfully

Steps to follow to obtain an EU Binding Tariff Information (BTI)

3. Fill in a BTI application form and send it to the customs authorities in the EU country where you are legally established or where you intend to import/export your goods

Important prerequisites for a successful BTI application

You need to:

  • Only submit an application if you intend to conduct an import or export transaction

  • Submit a separate application for each kind of goods.

  • Give a thorough description of your products, with pictures or samples, if feasible.

  • This enables the products to be identifiable and aids customs in assigning the proper classification.

  • Make sure all the data you submit is correct and comprehensive. Any judgements made based on false or insufficient information will be revoked

V Uncertain about the exact customs tariff number? Check out EU rulings in the BTI database.

It is common for businesses to struggle to locate the proper customs tariff number. The broad rules of the Harmonised System, the Combined Nomenclature, and the TARIC of the European Union, as well as the classification of commodities by these requirements

You can discover which tariff information other firms have previously received, which tariff numbers have been issued there, and your prospects of acquiring a tariff number that is advantageous to you by consulting our binding tariff information database.

VI What to do if you applied for a BTI, but customs gave you the “wrong” customs tariff code?

You might have previously asked for and received a BTI, but now that the result is known, you object to the classification provided by customs. You ought to appeal to the BTI; we can help. False binding tariff information has highly negative consequences. Additional customs costs may come from this. Any appeal must be submitted on time since there are deadlines involved.

Important Note: Even if the BTI is “incorrect” in your view, the current statutory framework prohibits using your “correct” customs tariff number for customs clearance because the binding tariff information is binding on the applicant and the customs authorities. Businesses must thus take measures to correct false tariff information. If a declaration is lodged with a commodity code different from a BTI, customs may subsequently assume “intent” and lodge punitive proceedings, since the economic operator was aware that a BTI had been issued.

VII What tools are available to assist with an AOR or BTI application?

Instant Access Self BTI Online Guidance

Customs authorities and the EU Commission have published guidance. You can easily access these through our dedicated category with many classification guides, classification quizzes, BTI application guides, documents etc:

Customs Classification Training

We provide ongoing training on the subject of customs classification here:

On-Demand Guides and Videos

Purchase a wide range of classification support videos on-demand (that you can watch anywhere and anytime) here:

Customs Manager’s Bespoke BTI service

As a result, we offer companies a bespoke Customs Manager’s BTI service. Please let us know if you need assistance managing your binding tariff information, and we'll take care of it – and automatically contact you to remind you when it's due for renewal. Then, we make sure that. The application process is professionally managed. And if the commodity code in the BTI is not "correct", we launch and manage appeal procedures with the customs authorities.

We would happily apply for binding tariff information on your behalf and guide the process with our wealth of knowledge, advice, and deeds. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want assistance. To discuss, book a call with an expert at ⇉ Book Expert Call – Top-Right Corner. Or contact us, email at or give us a call at +44 79 14 650 183.

VIII Conclusion

An EU Binding Tariff Information (BTI) is a legally binding decision by the EU Customs Authority regarding the classification of goods. BTIs provide legal certainty on the correct commodity code of a product, alerting importers and exporters of potential constraints or licensing needs before imports, preventing delays and higher costs. BTIs are issued by National Customs Authorities and are valid for three years. Applicants must thoroughly describe their products and apply online to apply for a BTI. Tools to support BTIs applications are available below; get in touch for live and OnDemand classification training or bespoke advice.

More Information & Links

EU Binding Tariff Information (BTI): EU & National Customs Portals

Most EU Member States use an EU-wide Trade Portal for Binding Tariff Information applications. But some run national BTI systems. Get access to all systems here.

EU Binding Tariff Information (BTI): Guidance, Application Forms, Links

The EU has published a wide range of BTI guidance. Download the EU Binding Tariff Information (BTI) application form, too.

Customs Classification Collection

For all information on Customs Classification, see our detailed category on customs classification, where we cover all aspects of customs classification and the determination of commodity codes:


About Customs Manager’s Customs & Global Trade Intelligence Services

The Premium Professional Legislative Monitoring Service (PLM) is a research and curation service which checks for legislative updates from official government websites based on the selected jurisdictions and topics. Paid Plan subscribers can access regular law change notifications to ensure they never miss a significant legal change on – a website dedicated to customs & trade intelligence. At the same time, they save valuable time by engaging our dedicated trade specialists to carry the monitoring out for them. Premium subscribers also unlock all content on the Customs Manager’s Ltd. website, including our Customs & Trade Blog on , providing vital thought leadership development services to empower them to trade effectively, efficiently and, of course, compliantly, across borders. Premium Subscribers can add jurisdictions and topics for an additional charge.

About Customs Manager Ltd.

We aim to empower people with import, export and transport responsibilities with helpful advice, insightful training and relevant trade intelligence services. We devote all our passion and energy to helping businesses grow faster cross-border. Working with us means having your own multilingual Customs Manager on standby to help you trade effectively, efficiently and, of course, compliantly wherever you want to go. Includes Brexit support and the ability to lodge customs declarations + Rules of Origin

Stay in Touch

· Twitter: @customsmanager

Important Notice

Customs Manager Ltd. owns the copyright in this document, except for external documents and links we refer to or make available.

You are not allowed to use this information in any way that infringes its intellectual property rights. You may have to hold a valid licence to use this information. A licence can be obtained by becoming a Paid Plan subscriber to the Customs Managers’ Customs & Trade Intelligence service, also known as Professional Legislative Monitoring (PLM). As a Paid Plan subscriber, you may download and print this information which you may then use, copy or reproduce for your internal non-profit-making purposes.

However, you are not permitted to use, copy or reproduce this information to profit or gain.

In addition, you must not sell or distribute this information to third parties, not members of your organisation, whether for monetary payment or otherwise.

This information is intended to serve as general guidance and not constitute legal advice. The application and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. This information should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking action, consult a Customs Manager Ltd. professional.

In no circumstances will Customs Manager Ltd be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information contained within this document or for any consequential, special or similar damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.


Sep 09, 2023

Super Information. Thank you!

Arne Mielken
Arne Mielken
Sep 11, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for the positive comment!


Sep 09, 2023

Very good guide!

bottom of page