What to be aware of when receiving parcels from private individuals abroad

This section is only intended for private individuals who receive goods from abroad from other private individuals.

Please note!

Would you like to know where your package is? Your postal or courier company can tell you where your package is and whether, for example, the customs procedures have been completed. Customs cannot provide information about this.

I am receiving goods from abroad that have been sent by another private individual (e.g. by a family member or friend). This concerns goods that are not of a commercial nature.

The term 'not of a commercial nature' is understood to mean:

  • The shipment is incidental in nature.
  • The goods are for personal use by the addressee or personal use by the members of the addressee's family.
  • The nature and quantity are such that the shipment cannot have a commercial nature.
  • The goods have been sent by the sender and do not correspond to any payment.

Are you receiving goods from abroad? You may have to deal with the following issues:

  1. paying import duties
    In most cases, the postal or courier company that is taking care of transport will submit the report to Customs. To do so, they use information that is important for Customs, such as the value and description of the goods.  If this information is not known, the postal or courier company check this with you.
    If the costs set out below are not paid by the sender to the postal or courier company,  the postal or courier company will charge these costs to you upon delivery of the package:
    1. customs costs
      (the costs that the postal or courier company has incurred for submitting the report to Customs)
    2. processing costs
      (costs for other work that the postal or courier company has done for you)
    3. any taxes to be paid
      (import taxes, such as import duty, VAT and excise duty)
      Read more on this under Am I liable to pay import taxes?
  2. goods that you may not import
    Some goods may not be imported into the Netherlands. Other goods may only be brought into the Netherlands and/or imported if you have a permit. Read more on Restricted or prohibited to import/export (this includes tobacco products, counterfeit items, threatened animal and plant varieties, animal products and foodstuffs, plants, flowers, vegetables, fruit, weapons and munitions, toy weapons, medicines, narcotics, art and antiques).

Are you receiving goods from a country within the European Union?

Are you receiving goods from a country within the European Union? Customs will not process the shipment. Exceptions: excise goods such as alcohol and tobacco. Excise duty must be paid on products that contain alcohol. Tobacco products must bear a valid, Dutch excise seal. There is no exemption limit for excise goods, under which excise duty does not have to be paid.

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