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Import Guide for Beginners

This guide is intended for representatives of companies that will start importing goods into Norway. It provides the general rules relating to imports and directs you to more detailed information on the various topics.

It is important to note that everyone bringing goods into Norway must tell Norwegian Customs at the border what they are bringing in, and how much. This also applies to goods imported for personal use.

Index

How to import and obtain customs clearance for goods

Customs clearance for goods

Taxes that must be reported and paid

     Paying and reporting duties and taxes

     Goods that are subject to customs duty

     VAT

     Excise duties

Restricted and prohibited goods

Exemptions and relief from the obligation to declare, notify, and present goods upon import

Provisional declaration

Temporary import

Refund of duties and taxes

Transporting goods through other countries

     Transport of goods from the border to a different location in Norway

How to import and obtain customs clearance for goods

When goods ordered from overseas arrive, they usually arrive with a shipping agent that places the goods in a customs storage facility on arrival.

Note that Svalbard, Jan Mayen, and the Norwegian dependencies are considered as overseas for customs purposes, and goods from these places are treated as overseas goods.

Customs storage facilities are not owned by Norwegian Customs but are facilities approved by Norwegian Customs for the storage of uncleared goods until customs clearance is obtained. Forwarding agents usually own such facilities.

In order to retrieve goods from the customs storage facility for use, they must be cleared through customs. The most common way of clearing goods through customs is customs clearance.

Customs clearance for goods

Usually a forwarding agent can get customs clearance for goods on your behalf. A forwarding agent is a person or company that can provide transport, customs clearance, and the like on behalf of others. The forwarding agent declares the goods electronically by submitting information to Norwegian Customs’ customs clearance system, TVINN.

The declaration from the forwarding agent and response from Norwegian Customs are both electronic. Neither the importer nor the forwarding agent needs to meet physically with Norwegian Customs to declare the goods.

Even if you use a forwarding agent, you the importer are responsible for ensuring that the import and customs clearance are carried out in accordance with the regulations.

You can link up to TVINN yourself instead of using a forwarding agent.

It is also possible to obtain customs clearance for goods yourself without linking up to TVINN. You will have to complete a Single Administrative Document (also known as a SAD form) and have a physical meeting with Norwegian Customs.In addition to the Single Administrative Document, you must bring all necessary documentation, such as invoices, shipping documents, and any permits and the like.

Taxes that must be reported and paid

When importing goods, you must notify Norwegian Customs of the import.
There are essentially three types of tax that may be payable on imports:

  • duty
  • VAT
  • excise duties

All goods are classified by a commodity code in the Customs Tariff.

Any customs duty rates, taxes, charges, or restrictions are always related to this commodity code.

The NOK 350 limit

If you order goods from abroad where the shipment has a value of less than NOK 350 including freight and insurance costs, it is free of duties and taxes.

Paying and reporting duties and taxes

You the importer are responsible for paying and reporting duties and taxes. If you are registered in the VAT register, you must calculate and report the import VAT to the Norwegian Tax Administration by way of the new tax return. If you are not registered in the VAT register (private individuals, foreign companies, etc.) you must pay import VAT to Norwegian Customs on import.

If you have been granted a customs credit by the Norwegian Tax Administration, you can use your customs credit account as a payment option in the usual manner.

Goods that are subject to customs duty

Most goods are free of customs duty. Put simply, customs duty apply only to textiles (e.g. clothing) and foodstuffs (food and drink). If duty is to be paid on the goods, this must be paid upon import. Customs duty rates may vary for foodstuffs during the year. The customs duty rate for clothing depends on several factors. You must know the commodity code in the Customs Tariff in order to find out the customs duty rate – this will tell you how the individual item is classified.

VAT

You will generally report or pay VAT on all goods you import into Norway, even if you do not pay customs duty on the goods.

The Norwegian government sets the rate of VAT each year. VAT is currently 25 per cent. One exception is foodstuffs, for which the rate is 15 per cent.

Be aware that duties and any excise duties that must be paid for customs clearance are also included in the VAT calculation.

Excise duties

Excise duties are due on some goods. The Norwegian government sets the rates each year. The excise duties rates and how to calculate them vary. If an excise duty is due on the goods you are importing, you must familiarise yourself with the regulations for this excise duty.

Excise duties apply to, for example,

(Links to The Norwegian Tax Administration - information in Norwegian)

Possibility of reduced duty or duty relief

Norway has free trade agreements with several countries. This means that goods subject to duty may be entitled to a reduced customs duty rate or duty-free status if the goods are covered by a free trade agreement. It is mainly foodstuffs and textiles that are subject to customs duty when imported into Norway.

Free trade agreements do not apply to VAT or any excise duties.

Read more about

Restricted and prohibited goods

The import of some goods may be prohibited or restricted. The Norwegian authorities may require documentation or permits to import these goods into Norway. Check the regulations from the competent Norwegian authority before trading such goods.

Overview of restricted goods 

Restricted goods

Competent authority

Alcohol

Norwegian Tax Administration and Norwegian Directorate of Health

Tobacco

Norwegian Tax Administration and Norwegian Directorate of Health

Foodstuffs, plants, seeds, animals

Norwegian Tax Administration and Norwegian Food Safety Authority

Endangered animal and plant species (CITES goods)

Norwegian Environment Agency

Medicines 

Norwegian Medicines Agency

Waste 

Norwegian Environment Agency

Explosives, fireworks and hazardous substances 

Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency   Planning

Weapons, weapons parts, and ammunition

Norwegian Police

Cultural monuments, antiques 

Norwegian Directorate for Cultural HeritageNorwegian Ministry of Culture 

There may also be restrictions in the exporting country that require you to have an export permit. This must be checked with the seller or the authorities in the country of export.

Exemptions and relief from the obligation to declare, notify, and present goods upon import

As a rule, everyone bringing goods into Norway must tell Norwegian Customs at the border what they are bringing in and how much. As a rule, all goods must also be declared to Norwegian Customs by filing a customs declaration upon import. There are some exemptions to and relief from these duties. These include

  • duty-free luggage
  • temporary import of foreign-registered motor vehicles
  • temporary import of low-value professional equipment when the importer and owner is resident or domiciled abroad

Under certain conditions and upon application, Norwegian Customs may grant you relief from the obligation to declare by allowing you to declare several shipments on the same declaration. One example is the import of timber.

Provisional declaration

In some cases you can use a provisional declaration. This means that you may release the goods by submitting less information to Norwegian Customs than you would for full customs clearance. Full customs clearance must then be completed within the deadline set by Norwegian Customs.

The requirements for using a provisional declaration are strict and Norwegian Customs will consider whether these requirements have been met in each case.

Temporary import

There are separate rules for declaring goods that you will import into Norway temporarily.

Refund of duties and taxes

In some cases you can apply for a refund of duties and taxes. For example, this happens when you exchange a consignment, cancel a purchase, or receive damaged goods.

Transporting goods through other countries

Some goods are transported through several countries on their way to Norway. The customs authorities allow goods to be transported from a seller in one country through to a customs office in the destination country by transiting several countries along the way. Transiting ensures that the goods arrive at their destination in the receiving country. On arrival at the destination, you must either get customs clearance for the goods before you can use them or put them in a customs storage facility.

Transport of goods from the border to a different location in Norway

If you are missing documents or for any other reason do not wish to get customs clearance for the goods at the Norwegian border, you must forward the goods to a destination in Norway “under Norwegian Customs’ control”. This is called the internal transit of goods. If the goods are not already in transit, you can forward the goods either by Norwegian Customs giving permission for internal transit or by getting a forwarding agent at the border to commence internal transit. Norwegian Customs sets a deadline for when you must contact Norwegian Customs when at the destination with the goods. You cannot use the goods before they have been cleared. Alternatively, you can put the goods in a customs storage facility at the destination.

In the internal transit of uncleared goods, Norwegian Customs may require you to give a form of security which will be refunded once the goods have arrived and been cleared.

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