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Importing products from a non-EU country

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKTax and Customs Administration, BelastingdienstTax and Customs Administration, BelastingdienstStatistics Netherlands, CBSStatistics Netherlands, CBSNetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVOLast updated on Nederlandse versie

If you import goods from non-EU countries into the Netherlands, you have to declare them at Customs. And you will usually pay import duties and VAT. Sometimes you also pay excise duties. Always check the product requirements and regulations your product needs to comply with.

File an import declaration with Dutch Customs

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 onto 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.

Use the customs tariff (DTV) for your product codes

Upon declaring your goods, Customs asks for the correct product codes, for instance the relevant HS code. The amount of the import duties depend 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 customs. The amount of import duty you have to pay depends on the type of product, and the country you’re importing from. In some cases, you are eligible for 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 Customs.

If you bring in goods via another EU country, you will be liable for VAT in that country. You can reclaim the amount from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

Keep track of your administration

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

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 settle your at Dutch Customs (Douane).

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

To avoid products flooding the European market at dump prices, the EU has instated an anti-dump agreement.

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, economy and environment.

Always check the EU product requirements. You can also check the requirements per country using the EU portal Acces2Markets.

International payments

Payment customs 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

Statistics: import of goods

Total import value of goods from non-EU countries

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