By: Derek Bloom
Of Counsel, Marks & Sokolov, Moscow, Russia, and
Partner, Atlantic Aviation Legal Services, LLC, Washington, D.C.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Managing Director, Streamline Ops Flight Support, Moscow, Russia
Owner, Alpha One, and a 7X Chief Pilot, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Date: March 2, 2020
This article discusses the customs forms to be filed in Russia by pilots operating private flights to Russia, and includes copies of the required forms and references to the underlying regulations. Please contact any of the authors of this article if you have follow-up questions.
Prior to departing on a flight to Russia, a flight permit must be obtained from the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (“Rosaviatsia”) with the assistance of a company such as Streamline Ops, based in Moscow. See: https://stln.aero/.
It is possible for a bona fide private flight to include domestic legs within Russia and the other countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (the “Eurasian Union”, sometimes referred to as the “Customs Union”) as part of an international roundtrip. The Eurasian Union includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. International flights may be conducted to and back from one destination in Russia without question.
Problems would arise in Russia if there were an attempt to conduct a revenue-generating commercial flight within Russia while an aircraft is in Russia on flight that was declared to be private. Prior to 2019 it was common for revenue generating flights to be conducted within Russia and the Eurasian Union on aircraft registered outside of Russia and the Eurasian Union that were present in Russia for purported private use. However, these past practices were stopped suddenly in early 2019. The changes in the regulation of business aviation within Russia in 2019 are the subject of a separate article and are not addressed in this article.
Upon arrival in, and departure from Russia and the Eurasian Union, it is necessary for a pilot to file the following forms with the Russian Customs Service:
Attachment 1. Form of Customs Declaration for a Means of Transportation /
Форма таможенной декларация на трансортное средство
The Form of Customs Declaration for a Means of Transportation is in the Russian language and is filed on the arrival and again on the departure of an aircraft. Approved by Decision of the Commission of the Customs Union No. 422, dated October 14, 2010 (решение комиссии таможенного союза от 14 10 2010 No. 422).
In Box 1, the pilot is to check a box whether the filing is made on import or export of the aircraft, the means of transportation. Box 2 is for an internal registration Customs Service number to be added and the seal of the customs inspector is to be placed here. In Box 3, the aircraft make, model and registration mark are set out. In Box 4, the name of the pilot who is responsible for the import of the means of transportation is to be set out. In Box 5, the place of arrival, the airport where the filing is made. In Box 6, the name of the pilot in command. In Box 7, whether there are passengers onboard and their number should be written beside the yes or no. In Box 8, whether there are supplies onboard. In Box 9, whether there are goods onboard. In Box 10, whether there are spare parts onboard. In Box 11, a statement about the purpose of the import or export, such as “The beginning of the international carriage of passengers on a means of transportation. In Box 12, the number of the aircraft parking location. In Box 13A, a notation will be made that the aircraft has been imported as a temporary import and a date of registration of the form and a planned date of departure will be set out. In Box 13B, the customs officers will make a handwritten notation that the aircraft has been imported under a customs regime named Import 53 for a period of 30 days from the date of registration of this form.
For aircraft performing domestic flights and carrying passengers and goods within Russia or other countries within the Eurasian Union, there are two temporary importation procedures available, depending on whether the aircraft is used privately or commercially. The basis for them is found in Article 53 of the Customs Code, which sets out general rules for customs duties and taxes for goods imported into the territory of the Eurasian Union, which is why a temporary import for private use is referred to as an “Import 53″.
An aircraft may be a “temporary import” if it is to be re-exported. In the case of a temporary import for private use, an aircraft may be used for a specific period on the territory of the Eurasian Union, and may be partially or fully conditionally exempted from payment of import duties and taxes. See Chapter 29 of the Customs Code, and Section 1 of Article 219. Please note that an aircraft may be in Russia on the basis of a temporary admission for a maximum of 180 days in a calendar year, and there is a difference of opinion in different customs offices how days are counted for this purpose.
The temporary import regime referred to as “Import 53” is supplemented by three decisions of the Commission of the Eurasian Union affecting business aircraft, i.e. decisions numbered 331, 662, and 1388. These three decisions provide that a complete exemption from import duties and taxes is provided for a civilian passenger aircraft having a number of passenger seats for not more than 19 people, if the aircraft is owned by a foreign person or legal entity and is used within the customs territory of the Eurasian Union on irregular (not commercially scheduled) flights, and provided further that such use is not intended to generate revenue. A foreign owned aircraft that is imported to Russia temporarily and without any payment of import duties may not be used commercially within Russia.
It would be prudent for a U.S. or European company operating to Russia to determine which customs broker it will call upon in Russia to make payments of customs fees well in advance of departing to Russia in order to allow time to conduct vetting procedures that may be required by such companies’ internal procedures, and to obtain and provide banking details for the movement of money for filing fees.
To digress from private flights for a moment, if an aircraft is imported into the Eurasian Union temporarily, and is to be used commercially during its presence within the Eurasian Union, then Section 3 of Article 223 of the Customs Code provides that import taxes and duties shall be imposed on such imported goods at the rate of 3% per month of the amount of customs duties and taxes which would be due if the goods were imported for free circulation, to remain permanently in the Eurasian Union. If an aircraft were temporarily imported, and placed on to a Russian AOC as a Russian-registered aircraft, or pursuant to an 83-Bis Agreement retaining its registration in Ireland or Bermuda, for example, and taxes and duties were paid at the rate of 3% per month of the cost of full customs clearance, plus interest on the deferred payments, then the aircraft may lawfully be used commercially within Russia. This approach would apply to certain larger aircraft weighing more than 20,000 kg as aircraft below this weight should qualify for exemption from Russian import duties, and there is now a 0% import VAT rate in Russia for all civilian aircraft.
Attachment 2. Application to place an Aircraft under the Procedure for Re-Export (cargo)/ заявление на таможенный пост аеропорт шереметьево (грузовой)
The Application to place an Aircraft under the Procedure for Re-Export is to be signed by the pilot in command and states that the Aircraft will be Re-exported. The application recites the name, address and passport details of the pilot in command; and states that an aircraft has been imported as a temporary import for a period up to 30 days, and sets out the end date of the period of temporary importation. It is worth noting that the maximum
Information about the aircraft make, model, registration mark, country of manufacture, country of registration, empty weight, number of passengers and value of the aircraft are set out. A customs code for this type of aircraft is set out. A list of up to 17 documents presented to customs is set out (and the pilot should bring these along with him or her), including copies of:
(1) the Certificate of Aircraft Registration (if this is a US registered aircraft, a copy of its registration on FAA Form 8050-3)
(2) the aircraft’s certificate of airworthiness
(3) the operator’s Part 91 certificate
(4) a current and valid Certificate of Aircraft insurance (not third party liability insurance, but a certificate of insurance showing the current aircraft value of the aircraft for insurance purposes)
(5) a document confirming the capacity of the aircraft, the number of seats, LOPA (Location of Passenger Accommodations – a diagram of passenger seats) on company letterhead, signed, and bearing a company stamp shown.
(6) a recent statement of the weight of the aircraft
(7) a photo of the aircraft
(8) a power of attorney to the pilot in command captain from the aircraft operator confirming that the pilot in command is authorized to sign documents on the operator’s behalf on company letterhead, signed, and bearing a company stamp shown.
(9) an obligation to re-export the aircraft
(10) a copy of the Customs Declaration for the planned flight
(11) a General Declaration (See below), plus a copy of all other General Declarations filed within the last year for any flight to/out of Russia, or any other document, that could be used as a confirmation of Operator’s (the “declarant’s”) economic activity in Russia for customs purposes.
(12) a copy of the captain’s passport
(13) a copy of the captain’s license
(14) copy of this Statement to Customs that an Aircraft will be Re-exported
(15) the Agreement of the aircraft operator to provide services to operate the aircraft
(16) a copy of the Flight Permit from Rosaviatsia for the current flight(s)
(17) a list of the aircraft equipment which contains a source of radiation, or a letter stating there is no such equipment and radiation is absent, on company letterhead, signed, and bearing a company stamp shown. Apparently, a G450 emits radiation, a 7X does not. Operators should check with their manufacturer for needed information. If an aircraft has equipment with a source of radiation, Customs officers will come onboard to perform a customs screening using a Geiger-counter, and this process could take up to 12 hours, waiting for Customs officers to show up.
The flight support and ground services company engaged to obtain the flight permit and to make all other filings for a flight will prepare the Statement to Customs that an Aircraft will be Re-exported based on its own template. The decision of the Commission of the Customs Union, dated 05.20.2010, No. 263 sets out a requirement for such a statement to be filed, but does not append a required form of such statement.
Attachment 3. Application to Close a Temporary Import Procedure /
заявление таможенной процедуры реэкспорта (закрытия)
The Application to Close a Temporary Import Procedure requests permission from the Russian Customs Service to close the temporary import (admission) of an aircraft. This form repeats same identifying information about the applicant and the aircraft as set out in the Application to place an Aircraft under the Procedure for Re-Export and is signed by the pilot in command. This application may also include a statement that at the time the application is submitted the operator does not have any debt for customs duties or any unpaid administrative fines. The application will be signed by a customs officer who will place his seal on the document.
In practice, it is best for a flight to depart Russia and/or the Eurasian Union from the same airport at which it arrived in Russia or in the Eurasian Union. Problems may arise if an aircraft departs from a different airport, particularly if the airport of departure is in another country in the Eurasian Union other than Russia because the different customs services do not efficiently share information and their data bases.
Attachment 4. ICAO General Declarations
As noted above, a General Declaration (Outward/Inward) in the form of ICAO Annex 9, Appendix 1 must be prepared and submitted to the Russian Customs Service as an attachment to the Application to place an Aircraft under the Procedure for Re-Export (cargo) at the time the aircraft arrives in Russia. The same form must be submitted at the time of departure. For more information, see: Annex 9 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Appendix 1 (https://www.icao.int/WACAF/Documents/Meetings/2018/FAL-IMPLEMENTATION/an09_cons.pdf)
Attachment 5. Passenger Manifests
In addition to the above customs filings, the flight support and ground services company engaged to arrange a flight, such as Streamline Ops, will prepare and file disclosure of the identity of passengers and crew with a Russian government agency named “Rostransnadzor” which is the shortened name of the Federal Service for Transportation Oversight, a branch of the Russian Federation Ministry of Transportation Supervision.
The Russian Ministry of Transportation Order that created the ACDPDP system is Order No. 243, originally dated July 19, 2012. Order No. 243 had an original effective date of July 1, 2013 which was subsequently amended to be December 1, 2013. The name of the Order is “The Procedure for Creation and Maintenance of an Automated Centralized Data Base of Personal Data about Passengers, and the Delivery of Information”.
Order No. 243 provides that required information is to be submitted to a state enterprise which is the designated agent of the Ministry of Transportation (“Zaschitainfotrans” or “ZIT”). The Order provides that all air carriers must submit to ZIT personal data about passengers and crew. The information required is, in general, all the information that a commercial airline requires when registering a passenger for a flight, plus information about a planned flight. See Paragraph 51 of the Order.
The main point for business aviation is found in Paragraph 44 of the Order (previously Paragraph 49) which, in its current version provides that: “An air carrier that operates scheduled international carriage of passengers, and also non-scheduled flights of passengers to the Russian Federation, from the Russian Federation, across the territory of the Russian Federation, and for carriers that are residents of the Russian Federation also within the boundaries of the territory of the Russian Federation according to a charter agreement for an aircraft (an air charter), shall transfer to the ACDPDP system information about passengers collected during the process of registration of passengers, not later than 15 minutes before the departure of the aircraft. A subject of transportation infrastructure that is carrying out registration of passengers of an air carrier, carrying out regular, and also non-scheduled carriage of passengers from the Russian Federation shall submit to the ACDPDP system information about passengers collected during the process of registration of passengers, not later than 15 minutes before the departure of the aircraft.”
The guidelines for disclosure of the identity of passengers and crew are international and are set out in Annex 9 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, p. 9-1. See: https://www.icao.int/WACAF/Documents/Meetings/2018/FAL-IMPLEMENTATION/an09_cons.pdf.
In closing, anyone planning a flight to Russia should consult with a flight support company such Streamline Ops based in Moscow and with a customs broker based in Moscow as to which customs procedure and which accompanying forms will be required to be filed depending on a flight’s route, passenger load, the purpose of the flight and other factors. The information presented in this article is background information for readers, and unanticipated issues may be confronted case-by-case, including a new, but inconsistent requirement that filing fees be paid through Russian customs brokers, and individual airports in Russia and elsewhere in the Eurasian Union have their owner peculiarities which are oftentimes unforeseeable and require an ad hoc solution on the spot.
Please let us know if you have further questions about these matters.