Export and customs information

Trouble-free customs processing.

Export and customs information

Trouble-free customs processing.

Depending on the customs regulations of the country of destination and the type of goods to be transported, various documents are required in international shipping. Our export guidelines will tell you which regulations must be observed for international shipping with DPD.

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Shipping to non-EU countries

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When must goods be cleared through customs?

  • From a non-EU country to the EU.
  • From the EU to a non-EU country.
  • From a non-EU country to another non-EU country.

Please note: certain goods are subject to import or export bans or permits must be obtained for import or export shipments. Example: firearms...

More details can also be found in our information on international shipping.

The most important points briefly summarised again:

  • Please attach the customs documents directly on the parcel.
  • For collective shipments consisting of several parcels, please mark them clearly and make a note of this on the customs invoice. (For how many parcels is the customs invoice valid?)
  • Please indicate the parcel number on the customs invoice. This is the quickest way to process the shipments.
  • Please always hand over customs invoices to DPD in triplicate.

Countries that have special rules despite EU membership:

These countries are:
  • Cyprus (EU part)
  • Malta
When shipping to these countries, although they are members of the EU, an invoice is required, as the shipment is sent by air freight. For this purpose an AWB (Air Way Bill) is transmitted for each shipment. In order to create the AWB, a declaration of contents and value is required.

What must the invoice contain?

The invoice must be completed in full.

Mandatory contents:

  • Name and address of the shipper
  • Name and address of the consignee
  • Date, number and place of invoice
  • Delivery address (if different from the invoice address)
  • Terms of delivery (Incoterms)
  • Shipper\'s EORI number
  • Company ID number for shipments to Switzerland and Liechtenstein
  • Exact description of goods (if possible customs tariff number)
  • Quantity of goods
  • Currency information
  • Parcel label number(s)
  • Company stamp and signature
  • Names repeated in block capitals
  • Declaration of origin

Terms of delivery or Incoterms: What must be observed?

The terms of delivery determine which ancillary transport costs are borne by the shipper and which by the consignee. Outside the EU further fees, taxes and customs duties may apply. As a standard, DAP customs cleared is always used, unless the shipper provides other details on the invoice.


Glossary on international shipping

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The customs declaration

The customs declaration is the act by which a person indicates the intention to subject goods to a particular customs procedure.

The customs declaration for the export of goods to countries outside the European Community has become obsolete in the classic paper form, and has been replaced by a computerised NCTS customs system (ATLAS transmission) in line with the electronic declaration requirement.

  • The export procedure can be performed either online with the Internet Export Declaration Plus (IAA-Plus) or by participating in the IT procedure ATLAS Export/AES as well as verbally (goods value of less than 1,000 euros).
  • The submission of the customs declaration to the competent customs office is deemed to be an application (declaration of intent) for customs processing.
  • An export declaration must be submitted every time goods are exported to a country outside the EU with an invoice value of EUR 1,000 or more.

What are dutiable goods?

Consignments of goods are always subject to customs duties if they are exported to or come from a country that is not a member state of the European Community (EU).

If you ship within the EU, customs and customs declaration are not required.

The export of dutiable goods

When exporting goods to a non-EU country (third country), you must attach accompanying customs documents. These depend in particular on the regulations in the destination country, the value of the goods or the contents of the shipment.

This rule also applies to shipments to EU exemption areas. EU exemption areas are:

  • Denmark: Faroe Islands, Greenland
  • Germany: Büsingen, Helgoland
  • Finland: Åland Islands
  • France: Overseas Departments
  • Greece: Mount Athos
  • Italy: Campione d\'Italia, Livigno, part of Lake Lugano
  • Netherlands: Overseas territories
  • Spain: Ceuta, Melilla, Canary Islands
  • Great Britain: Isle of Man, overseas territories, Gibraltar, Channel Islands
  • Cyprus: the Turkish part belongs geographically to Europe, but is not part of the
  • EU customs territory

Customs declaration and accompanying export documents.

During the export process goods with a value of over €1000 which are exported from the EU to a non-EU country are declared electronically to the customs authorities using the ATLAS export procedure or using the IAA-Plus (Internet export declaration+, confirmation by means of ELSTER certificate). This is also required if the goods value for an individual shipping date to various consignees in the relevant country of destination exceeds €1000.

The accompanying export document replaces the previous declaration on the single administrative document (form 0733). You will receive the accompanying export document with the Movement Reference Number (MRN) required for the export after the export declaration has been successfully processed by your customs office. In simple terms: a T1 (Transit document 1)

If special customs regulations or sanctions apply in the case of the particular country, even shipments with a goods value of below €1000 have to be declared. In such cases the required permits and any other relevant documents have to be available during customs clearance. More information is available from the Customs or your Chamber of Commerce.

The export declaration should be implemented at the latest 24 hours before the shipment is handed to the DPD dispatch depot.

As was previously the case, small shipments with a value below €1000 which are not subject to prohibitions and restrictions do not need to be declared electronically.

The export process and customs offices.

Because parcels are not necessarily processed at customs offices with the status of an office of exit, we recommend that shipments should be exported via the two-stage normal procedure (customs office at the company location). After that the shipment with all further export documents and the accompanying export document is handed to DPD.

The EU’s TARIC information system provides you with details of goods numbers, value limits and descriptions of goods.

Trade within the EU.

The EU internal market has significantly facilitated trade within the 28 member countries, and this has also been helped by the introduction of the VAT identification number within the EU. At the same time new regulations have been introduced for trade with non-EU countries. Accordingly internal EU commerce is differentiated from the worldwide export trade.

There are no customs duties on goods movements between EU countries. Customs formalities have also been lifted for exports, which means that no customs documents are required anymore for the shipment of goods from one member state to another, unless the goods are subject to excise duties (e.g. alcohol, tobacco, oil) or are politically sensitive and subject to export controls.

The relevant permits are obtained from the Federal Office for the Economy and Export Control (BAFA).

The INTRASTAT declaration for goods movement within the EU is mandatory for companies which are subject to VAT and ship or receive an annual volume of goods in excess of €500,000. This enables the Federal Statistical Office to record the movement of EU goods between member countries. It is not to be confused with the summary statement with which each company has to declare its internal EU sales to the Federal Central Tax Office.

EORI number

The EORI number (Economic Operators´ Registration and Identification) is the successor of the customs number at the European level. It serves to identify economic operators and to simplify automated customs processing.

EORI numbers are allocated by the customs authority and are required for customs processing within the European Union.

The EORI number can contain up to 17 digits. It begins with the two-digit country ISO code of the relevant member state. You can check on the central EU database if an EORI No. has already been generated for your company.

Indicating their EORI number is mandatory for economic operators. Private individuals are not obliged to enter an EORI number in customs declarations. If the goods to be exported require a permit, however, then even private persons have to enter an EORI number.

In cross-border parcel shipping the EORI number is mandatory for customs processing.

EU customs clearance

EU customs clearance is the tax-exempt clearance for free circulation on the basis of subsequent tax-free, intra-Community supply. A prerequisite for this: The goods are transferred to another EU country after customs clearance and the declarer and the recipient of the goods have a valid value-added tax identification number (in short: VAT ID number).  The declarer can be registered for tax or be represented by a fiscal representative in the country of clearance. Please note: the EU customs clearance option only applies to purely taxable goods and EC duties. It is not possible in the case of national taxes such as excisable goods (alcohol, tobacco, etc.). The reason: excise duties are domestic taxes and therefore always have to be paid in the country of destination.

Movement Reference Number (MRN)

The Movement Reference Number (MRN) is the registration and identification number of the customs authority. You can use this number to monitor the status of your shipment at any time. The MRN is displayed as an 18-digit number and letter string and as a barcode in the top right-hand corner of the export accompanying document that was sent to you by your customs office. Only with this number is the export procedure opened and the parcel ready for dispatch. No export certificate can be issued without the MRN.

Incoterms (Frankaturen)

Terms of delivery or Incoterms determine: Who pays what and who bears the risk.

DAP: delivered at place - freight, import, export the shipper, taxes and customs duties the consignee.

DDP duty paid, not taxed: freight, import, export are borne by the shipper but taxes by the consignee.

DDP duty paid, tax paid Here everything is borne by the shipper.

This is why you need a commercial invoice

In accordance with the applicable customs regulations, every shipment of goods or documents outside the EU must be declared. This means that the goods have to be accompanied by a commercial invoice or a pro forma invoice.

  • A commercial invoice is drawn up when the goods have commercial value.

  • A pro forma invoice is drawn up if the goods have no commercial value.

Whether it's a commercial invoice or a pro forma invoice, the document indicates the consignor and consignee, contains a full description of the contents of the shipment and details of their value. It is then signed by the consignor, who sends the original and three copies with the parcel.

This online form enables you to create your commercial invoice or pro forma invoice and print it out on your company stationery.