Importing products from a non-EU country (2024)

File an import declaration with the Customs Administration of the Netherlands

When you bring goods from outside the EU into the Netherlands, you need to declare them at Dutch Customs. This serves to bring non-EU goods into the EU marketplace.

The declaration can be done electronically, and is usually handled by the shipping company or a customs-expeditor. You can also file the declaration yourself. To do so, contact the National Helpdesk Dutch Customs. You always need an EORI number for this.

Read more about declaring goods to customs.

Container Release Message (CVB)

Goods imports from outside the EU must be accompanied by a Container Release Message or Container Vrijgave Bericht (CVB). This goes for all goods, whether they are sent in a container, in a trailer, in bulk, or as general cargo. By pre-clearing items, you can speed up the logistics chain. Find out what is required on the Ready for the CVB website.

Use the customs tariff (DTV) for your product codes

Upon declaring your goods, Dutch Customs asks for the correct product codes, for instance, the relevant HS code. The amount of the import duties depends on the product code and the country from which you import.

In the Tariff (DTV), you will find per product code:

  • a description of the goods

  • the import duties and other taxes you need to pay upon import

  • other rules for import

Calculate the import duties

To import your goods you pay import duties to Dutch Customs. The amount of import duty you have to pay depends on the type of product, and the country you are importing from. In some cases, you are eligible for a reduction or even exemption from import duties. Some possible scenarios:

Paying VAT and claiming refunds

When you import goods from a non-EU country, you usually have to pay VAT (btw) to Dutch Customs. You can deduct the VAT you pay from your VAT return as input tax. That is, if you are eligible for VAT deduction.

If you have an Article 23 permit, you can pay the VAT following your regular VAT return, rather than directly to Dutch Customs.

Import scheme for declaring VAT

Do you import goods from outside the EU and deliver them directly to customers who do not pay VAT within the EU? This is the case with dropshipping, for example. And is the value at most €150 per delivery? Then you can use the import scheme to declare the VAT you have to pay in the countries where you deliver. You then report and pay the VAT for all deliveries monthly in one go.

Keep track of your administration

Do you also import from an EU country? Make a distinction between non-EU and EU in your business records.

Do you have to pay extra taxes or excise duties?

  • Do you import alcoholic drinks (beer, wine, spirits), tobacco products, or fuels? You will then have to pay excise duties.

  • For some non-alcoholic beverages, like fruit juices, you pay consumption tax (verbruiksbelasting). You do not have to pay consumption tax for mineral water.

You settle your excise duties and consumption tax at Dutch Customs (Douane).

Sometimes, there are a couple of other duties you may have to pay upon import of goods. For example:

  • agricultural duties

  • the motor vehicle tax (bpm), if you import cars into the Netherlands

Anti-dumping duties

To avoid products flooding the European market at dump prices, the EU has instated an anti-dumping agreement. This means that if you import non-EU products at a dump price, Dutch Customs may levy anti-dumping duties. Read more about anti-dumping measures and how to avoid them on the website of the European Commission.

Do you need an import licence?

Not all products can enter the Netherlands, because strict rules apply to them. Some are prohibited, or only allowed if you have the proper import licence or certificate. You may have to enter a register, for instance, if you want to import:

  • plants

  • flowers

  • animal feed

  • medicine

Find out more about these special products on the Dutch Customs' Safety, Health, Economy and Environment website.

Check Dutch product requirements

If you want to sell foreign products on the Dutch market, you will be dealing with several rules and regulations. A product must be safe and ready for use before it enters the market. The Commodities Act lists general rules on product safety. You will also need to observe legislation on safety, health, the economy, and the environment.

Do you sell the non-food products to consumers? If so, you must comply with EU product requirements. Exactly what you have to do for product safety and what you are responsible for depends on your role in the production chain. You can check the requirements per country using the EU portal Access2Markets.

Mutual recognition

Do you already sell your product in another EU country? Then you can also sell it in the Netherlands. This is an EU agreement. However, there may be additional product requirements. If that is the case, the producer or importer of the product will be notified by the authorised body in that country.

Read more about what this means in the article Admission of EU products into the Netherlands (mutual recognition). You can also watch a short video on mutual recognition on the website of the European Commission.

International payments

Payment methods differ per country. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency provides country information (in Dutch). This includes customs information, as well as payment methods per country. Bear in mind that if your transaction is not conducted in euros, you run a currency fluctuation risk.

Tips for importing goods

Importing products from a non-EU country (2024)


Importing products from a non-EU country? ›

There are no customs duties to be paid when buying goods coming from within the European Union.

How to import a product from another country? ›

Import procedures
  1. Obtain e-IEC. ...
  2. Ensure legal compliance under different trade laws. ...
  3. Procure import licenses. ...
  4. File Bill of Entry and other documents to complete customs clearing formalities. ...
  5. Determine import duty rate for clearance of goods.
Feb 26, 2024

Are there import taxes between EU countries? ›

There are no customs duties to be paid when buying goods coming from within the European Union.

Do I have to pay VAT on goods from the US to the EU? ›

For imports, VAT is based on the customs value of your goods. The United States does not currently charge a VAT tax on imports, but you will likely have to pay this tax if you import goods into the European Union.

Does the EU trade with non EU countries? ›

The EU has over 40 trade agreements in place with close to 80 countries. In addition, it offers preferential market access to lower and middle-income countries under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences.

Do you need a license to import goods into the US? ›

In most cases, you will not need a license to import goods into the U.S. But for some items, agencies may require a license, permit, or other certification. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforces import laws at U.S. ports of entry. CBP's Tips for New Importers and Exporters provides an overview.

What are the 5 steps in the importation process? ›

The procedure is summed into quick steps as below:
  • Trade Enquiry.
  • Procurement of Import License and Quota.
  • Obtaining Foreign Exchange.
  • Placing the Order.
  • Dispatching a letter of Credit.
  • Obtaining Necessary Documents.
  • Customs Formalities and Clearing of Goods.
  • Making the Payment.

How to import from the US to Europe? ›

Your Checklist: 4 Steps To Import a Product
  1. Step 1: Find a supplier abroad. ...
  2. Step 2: Assess the import conditions and duties and ensure the product complies with EU requirements. ...
  3. Step 3: Prepare the sale and organise the transport. ...
  4. Step 4: Prepare the documents for customs clearance at the border.

Who pays the import tax? ›

In practice, import duty is levied when imported goods first enter the country. For example, in the United States, when a shipment of goods reaches the border, the owner, purchaser or a Customs broker (the importer of record) must file entry documents at the port of entry and pay the estimated duties to Customs.

How can I avoid EU VAT? ›

In most EU countries you can apply for a special scheme that enables you to trade under certain conditions without the need to charge VAT. If your company makes taxable supplies of goods or services below a certain annual limit, it may be exempt from VAT.

Do Americans pay VAT in Europe? ›

VAT at the appropriate rate will be included in the price you pay for the goods you purchase. As a visitor to the EU who is returning home or going on to another non-EU country, you may be eligible to buy goods free of VAT in special shops.

Do US citizens need to pay VAT? ›

Does the United States have a VAT? The United States is in the minority of countries that don't levy a value-added tax, though most states have a sales tax that serves the same purpose. The US also charges federal excise taxes on certain goods, including fuel, alcohol and tobacco products.

Do I charge VAT to US customers for goods? ›

The majority of goods exported to the US can be zero-rated for VAT. In other words, you don't need to charge VAT on the exported goods or extra charges such as shipping and delivery.

What are examples of non EU countries? ›

List of non-EU countries
206 more rows

Which EU countries are not in the EU? ›

All 27 EU countries are also EEA countries. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and the only countries in the EEA that are not in the EU.

What does Europe non EU mean? ›

Non-EU countries are all countries that are not a member of the European Union.

How do I import my product to USA? ›

  1. Step 1: Obtain an Importer Number. ...
  2. Step 2: Speak to a Customs Broker. ...
  3. Step 3: Determine your goods' Tariff Classification and Valuation. ...
  4. Step 4: Prepare your Commercial Invoice. ...
  5. Step 5: Complete your Importer Security Filing (only for ocean shipments) ...
  6. Step 6: Determine if you will need a Customs Bond.

Do I need a license to import from China? ›

You do not need a special Import-Export License in India to do business with China. You just need an import-export licence with an IEC Number to Importing Goods from China or any other country in the world. If your business is new, that IEC is your 10-digit PAN.

How do I import produce to USA? ›

FDA Clearance Basics: Food
  1. Register with the FDA. Prior to importation of your food shipment, you will need to register with the FDA. ...
  2. Entry Identifier. Once you have registered, you will be given a seven-digit identifier. ...
  3. FDA Product Code. ...
  4. File Prior Notice. ...
  5. Additional FDA Information.

Is import legal in the US? ›

While the CBP does not require an importer to have a license or permit in order to import goods from a foreign country, every item that crosses the border into the United States is subject to customs clearance and duties unless specifically exempted.

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