Advance Ruling Application (ARA)


This document is used to apply for a written decision issued by a competent authority which provides the applicant with an assessment of:

  • the classification of goods in the Customs tariff nomenclature of the respective country or Customs territory;
  • origin of the goods,
  • or the treatment which should be applied on a certain element for the determination of the Customs value,
    prior to an import or export transaction, for a specified period.


The applicant seeking advance ruling is an importer, exporter, producer or any person with a justifiable cause or a representative thereof.

The competent authority is the Customs administration or designated body responsible for the issuance of advance rulings.

Legal requirement

Article 3.1 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement outlines that each Member shall issue an advance ruling in a reasonable, time bound manner to an applicant that has submitted a written request containing all necessary information.

Standard 9.9 of the General Annex to the Revised Kyoto Convention outlines that the Customs shall issue binding rulings at the request of the interested person, provided that the Customs have all the information they deem necessary.

The WCO Recommendation on Introduction of the programmes for binding pre-entry classification information (1996).


The WCO developed technical guidelines outline all necessary information reasonably required to process a request for assessment of the classification, origin of the good or valuation.

There is not a single, universal electronic standard for advanced ruling applications. However, many countries have implemented electronic filing systems for various tax and customs rulings. In addition, some regional trade agreements have specific procedures for requesting advance rulings, some with electronic components.


  • name and address of the applicant
  • detailed description of the goods
  • classification of goods envisaged
  • legal basis for the classification of the goods
  • whether the advance ruling required is for preferential or non-preferential purposes
  • composition of the goods
  • documents available on the composition of the goods and their component materials
  • conditions enabling origin to be determined
  • description of the nature of the transaction(s), e.g., contract, terms of sale, etc.


Several WCO Members have implemented digital solutions, e.g., online application system.