When ordering items from foreign online stores, in most cases you must pay 25 per cent VAT when the item arrives in Norway. If you are buying clothes, you also have to pay duty.
The NOK 350 limit
Shipments with a value of less than NOK 350 including freight and insurance, are exempt from VAT. This means that you do not have to pay VAT or customs duties on the goods. This applies to all items with the exception of alcohol and tobacco.
Costs when you shop online
- VAT: If the shipment has a value of NOK 350 or more including freight and insurance, you must pay 25 per cent VAT (15 per cent for food and non-alcoholic beverages). You have to pay VAT even if the item is not liable for duty. VAT is calculated as follows
- Customs duty: Most products are not liable for customs duty. In simple terms, duty only applies to clothes and food. The tariff rate may vary according to type of product and where it is produced. The import calculator provides information on which tariff rate applies to a number of clothing items.
- Fee: The shipping agent (in most cases Posten) usually charges a declaration fee. This is not a fee to Norwegian Customs, but a fee charged by the shipping agent.
You have to pay duty on the item regardless of whether it is in new condition or used.
How to clear the item
When an item is sent to Norway, it must be cleared before it may be used. Customs clearance entails calculating and paying VAT and any duty or special taxes. This is called customs processing even if the item is not liable for duty.
The shipping agent (whoever transports and/or stores the item for you) will in most cases automatically clear the shipment for you. This means that it is the freight forwarded who calculates the duties and pays these to Norwegian Customs on your behalf.
In most cases the shipping agent charges a fee for storage and customs clearance.
When do you pay the duties?
In some cases you have to pay the duties to the shipping agent before the items are delivered to you. At other times the items are delivered and you are billed in arrears for the customs processing. How long the shipping agent uses for customs clearance varies, and questions related to this must be directed to the shipping agent.
The item has usually completed customs processing when you receive it. In some cases you may nevertheless receive the item before it has completed customs processing. If the package is labelled do not open it before customs clearance, or you for other reasons are unsure whether you may use the item, contact you shipping agent.
You may do customs processing yourself
You can choose to do the customs processing yourself. In practice there is little or nothing to gain by doing this, as experience shows that the shipping agent will charge you for storage and processing of the package in any case.
If there are special duties or restrictions for the item, you may not process it yourself.
Reimbursement of duties if you exchange or return the item
It is possible to be reimbursed duties for items you return. It is also possible to be reimbursed duties if there is made a mistake in the customs clearance.
- More information on exchanges and returns
- More about reimbursement due to errors in the customs clearance
Goods that are sent to repair or service abroad
Bans and restrictions
Private individuals are banned from importing certain items. Other items are bound by restrictions. This entails that you must have a special permit or license to import the item.
You can find more information on restrictions for such items at the authority responsible for the regulations. Examples of restricted items (where you must check the regulations):
- medicines, contact the Norwegian Medicines Agency www.legemiddelverket.no
- weapons, contact the Police www.politi.no
- plants, contact the Norwegian Food Safety Authority www.mattilsynet.no
- foods/supplements, contact the Norwegian Food Safety Authority www.mattilsynet.no
- alcohol, read more about private import of alcohol
You are responsible for complying with the rules
Norwegian Customs can check any item that arrives in the country. You are responsible for complying with the rules. If it proves that you have ordered items that are banned in Norway, you may be prosecuted.
Use of personal identity number for customs processing
Norwegian Customs do not require that you disclose your personal identity number to foreign sellers. However, it may be the case that the shipping agent requires the personal identity number when clearing the item for you.
When shopping from foreign online stores, you may be asked to disclose your personal identity number (11 digits). If you do not want to disclose your personal identity number to the online store, you may request that you disclose the number directly to the shipping agent if this is required.