The EU introduced ‘Prior Surveillance’ import licensing to monitor the importation of specific products into the European Union.

 In May 2016, ‘prior surveillance’ was applied to the importation of steel and iron products. In April 2018, this was extended to aluminium products. Since then the customs clearance / free circulation of these goods on arriving in Malta or the EU is subject to the presentation of a Surveillance Document. 

The specific product categories for which a Surveillance Document is required are listed in the below regulations:

§  Steel and iron products having commodity codes listed in Annex I to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/670 as amended by Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1092​.

§  Aluminium products having commodity codes listed in Annex I to the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/640.​


  •      Can be acquired by applying online. It is issued free of charge.
  •       Is required for every customs declaration of:

o  Steel and iron products listed in Annex I of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1092.​

o   Aluminium products listed in Annex I of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/640. 

·    Is requested for every Combined Nomenclature (CN) Code. (If different CN Codes appear on the same purchase order/invoice, a separate surveillance document has to be requested for each code).

·      C​an cover various purchase orders, as long as it concerns the same CN Code and the same importer.

·       Can cover several shipments (as long as the quantities on the surveillance document are not fully used by one shipment).​


 The prior surveillance import document is not needed for:

·       Imports whose net weight is lower than 2,500 kilogrammes. For imports with HS heading 7318 the threshold is 5,000 kilogrammes. These exemptions apply to each product imported and per individual CN code, and not to the consignment in its entirety.

·       Products made in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway.

·   Products which are not entered into free circulation but into a Customs Relief Scheme.  (If the products are subsequently entered in free circulation, a licence is required).


 A Surveillance document is valid for 4 months and may be renewed for a further 4 months if not fully used.


Applications  must be made and submitted online .  The application has to be accompanied with documents supporting the information presented in the application.

For further details on how to complete the application process refer to the Guidelines How to Fill in the Form​.


The surveillance document is issued free of charge within five (5) working days from submission of a complete application by the Commerce Department.


In case of any queries please contact the Commerce Department on 21.226.688 or email

Application form


Guidelines how to fill in the application form for a surveillance document