Import documents

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

You have purchased goods abroad, and you want to bring them to the Netherlands. You may need a number of documents.

Customs documents

When you import products from outside the EU, you need to declare them to the Customs Administration of the Netherlands. By filing this declaration and paying any import taxes and duties levied on the goods, you bring them in to the EU’s free circulation.

You file the declaration digitally. Usually, an expeditor or customs representative will do this on your behalf. If your business uses the correct software and obtain authorisation from the Dutch Customs National Helpdesk, you may also file the import declaration yourself.

Note: do you import goods from outside the EU via a Dutch port? Maritime imports are now subject to the Container Release Message (Container Vrijgave Bericht, CVB) obligation. This obligation applies to containers, trailers, bulk cargo, and general cargo.

Documents of preferential origin

A Certificate of Origin (Certificaat van Oorsprong or CVO in Dutch) serves as proof of a product’s origin. It states that the product comes from the country you are importing from. It contains a description of, and the origin of the product, plus the name and address details of the seller and the buyer.

  • Certificate of origin: do you import goods from certain developing countries? In some cases, you can get a discount or exemption from import duties with an Certificate of Origin.This is a declaration of origin that serves to prove that the goods were manufactured in the selling country. Read more about this certificate.
  • EUR.1 or EUR-MED certificate: the European Union has agreements with several countries to lower the import duties. An EUR.1 or EUR-MED certificate can get you a discount or exemption from import duties.
  • ATR certificate: you can import most goods from Türkiye free of duty if you have an ATR certificate (in Dutch). Your Turkish supplier must apply for the ATR certificate at the Turkish customs.
  • Invoice declaration: if you have an invoice declaration, you as importer pay fewer or no import duties. This declaration is a replacement for the EUR.1 or EUR-MED certificate. You may use this declaration for shipments if the value of the preferential origin goods does not exceed €6,000.

Transport documents

You can transport your product to the Netherlands by road, rail, water, or air. Each transportation method comes with its own transport documents.

Import licences and other documents

Apart from the invoice and packing slip, other documents may come into play. It depends on the type of product you are importing. Examples are health certificates for certain plants and plant-based products. Or import licences and certificates for certain endangered exotic animals or plants, or for strategic goods. Dutch Customs checks if the import meets the regulations for safety, health, economy, and environment.


Be aware that some documents cost money. That means extra expenses.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK