Immediate Release Guidelines

The WCO developed a set of release/clearance procedures in early 1990 to assist both Customs and trade with expediting the clearance of large number of small or negligible value goods across borders that were primarily being carried by courier and express mail services. These Guidelines operated on the principle of information being provided by the operator to Customs in advance of the arrival of the goods. The Guidelines also provided categorization of goods. It also identified a set of data that was to be provided for grant of release of goods under these categories as well as procedures to be followed, including the conclusion of MOU's between the Customs and trade for the implementation of these Guidelines and the procedures contained in them.

Subsequent to the revision of the Kyoto Convention and other developments such as the Data Model and taking into account other issues of concern to both the Customs and trade the original Guidelines were revised and updated. The previous version of the revised Guidelines known as the «Immediate Release Guidelines» (IRG) was adopted in March 2003 by the Permanent Technical Committee (PTC).

Several sessions of the PTC had considered and discussed the need of updating again the IRG in order to adapt it to current developments in this area. During its 201st/202nd Sessions held in November 2013, the PTC took note of latest developments and of Members’ contributions to the work of updating the IRG for certain types of consignments. The current version of the IRG was adopted by the PTC in March 2014 and includes contributions and national practices provided by Members replying to a survey conducted by the WCO Secretariat in 2013.