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Shopping from online shops not registered in the VOEC-scheme

When shopping for goods from an online stor that is not yet registered in the VOEC-scheme, or buy goods from a private person abroad, you will in most cases have to pay import duties. 

If the shipment has a value of less than NOK 350, including shipping costs, a transitional arrangement applies. This arrangement means that you do not have to pay import duties. Read about this arrangement here.

When the shipment has a value of more than NOK 350, including shipping costs, you must pay the following

  • VAT: This is a general tax in imports of goods. The general rate is 25 % while it is 15 % on food and drinks (non-alcoholic). You have to pay VAT even though the goods are free from customs duty. This is how to calculate the VAT.
  • For shipments from online shops that are registered in the VOEC-scheme the VAT will be collected upon payment. This does not apply to goods with a value of more than NOK 3000, food, goods with restrictions or goods with excise duties. Read more about the VOEC-scheme here. 
  • Customs duties: Most goods are free from customs duties. In short, there is only customs duty on clothing and other ready made textiles like bed linen, curtains, towels etc, and on food and drinks. The rates are determined in the Customs Tariff.  
  • Excise duties: This is a duty on imports of certain goods. You will find a full overview of the various excise duties on the Tax Administrations website
  • Customs clearance fee: This is a fee charged by the carrier (for instance Posten) for the Customs clearance of your shipment. 

You have to pay these import duties regardless of whether the item you bought is new or used. 

This is how your shipment gets cleared through customs

When a shipment is sent to Norway, it must be cleared through customs before you can use the item. Customs clearance means calculation and payment of VAT and any other customs or excise duties. It is called customs clearance even if you do not have to pay any customs duty on the shipment.

The carrier (the company that transports and/or stores the shipment for you) will often automatically clear the shipment on your behalf. This means that it is the carrier who calculates the fees and pays this to the customs for you.

The carrier usually requires payment for storage and customs clearance. The carriers may have different names for this. Posten calls this "Pris på fortolling". 

When do you have to pay?

In some cases you have to pay the fees to the carrier before you get to receive the shipment. Other times, the carrier delivers the goods to you, and you get a bill afterwards. The amount of time the carrier spends on customs clearance varies, and you must ask the transport company about this. 

As a rule, the shipment is cleared through customs when you receive it. In some cases you still receive the package before it is cleared through customs. If it says on the package that you should not open it until it has been cleared through customs, or if for other reasons you are unsure whether you can open the packare or not, you can contact the transport company. 

You can clear goods yourself

You can choose to clear the package yourself. Usually you save little or no money on doing this, since the carriers will usually charge you for storage and handling anyway. 

If there is any excise duties or other restrictions on the item, you cannot clear it yourself. 

Refunds 

It is possible to get a refund of the duties paid if you exhange the goods or send it back. It is also possible to get a refund of fees when an error has been made and you have paid to much in fees. 

Prohibitons and restrictions

Some goods are forbidden to import by private individuals. Other goods have restrictions. This means that you must have a special permit or license to import the item.

More about restrictions can be found by the authority responsible for the regulations. Examples of goods that have restrictions are:

You are responsible for following the rules

The customs can control all goods that arrive in the country. You are responsible for following the rules. If it turns out you have ordered goods that are banned in Norway, you can be prosecuted. 

Use of personal ID-number for customs clearance

When you declare an item to the customs, you must also state your personal ID-number. If someone other than you declares the goods on your behalf (for example the carrier), they are going to need this information from you.

You may therefore be asked to provide your personal ID-number (11 digits), when shopping from foreign online stores. If you do not want to provide this information, you can ask the online store if you can provide the number directly to the carrier if they need it.