What are import fees?
Import fees are costs you have to pay when you buy something from a country outside of the EU. They can include VAT, handling fees and import duties. In order to calculate the amount you have to pay, we declare your parcel to Customs, also referred to as ‘customs clearance’.
Read more about customs clearance fees
Curious which costs you will have to pay? Well, it very much depends on the value of your shipment, and whether you pay online or at a pickup point.
|Shipment value||VAT||Handling fees per shipment||Import duties|
|Pay online||Pay at pickup point|
|Up to €150.00||Yes||€4.00||€7.00||No|
Why the new rules?
When you buy something in the Netherlands, you always pay VAT. It is already included in the price you pay. If you buy the same product from a non-EU country, the price excludes VAT. Customs still charges VAT when your parcel arrives in the Netherlands. Before the 1st of July, this was only the case for products with a value of €22 or higher. You did not have to pay VAT on products under €22. To rectify this, the EU has decided that, as of the 1st of July, you always have to pay VAT if you buy something from a non-EU country - even if the value is lower than €22. There are also handling costs, as we have to declare the products to Customs. Together, we call these costs ‘import fees’.
And how do I pay for this?
Assuming we have your e-mail address or phone number, we will send you a payment request* via e-mail or SMS. App users will see a payment request in the PostNL app. That way you can pay online and we will deliver your parcel right away. If you choose not to pay online, you will receive a notice to inform you that your parcel is ready for pickup at your local pickup point. You can then pay the import fees at the pickup point.
* Beware of fake messages, especially payment requests! PostNL will never send out requests that contain a direct link. If and when payment is required, we will direct you to our tracking page, where you can pay securely after entering your tracking code. Do you use the PostNL app? Even better! The app is the place where we can always get in touch with you securely.
Some webshops have a slightly different system
You might need to pay the VAT when you pay for your order. In that case, we still have to declare the parcel when it arrives in the Netherlands. But you will not have to pay any import fees. You will consequently not receive a payment request. Please note however, that you will have to pay import duties if the value of your shipment is €150.00 or higher.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need to pay for products I bought before the 1st of July?
You will need to pay VAT for any products that arrive in the Netherlands from the 1st of July onwards. The purchase date is irrelevant.
I think I have already paid VAT. Could that be the case?
That’s very possible. Some webshops already charge VAT at the time of purchase, but not all. Usually, you will need to pay customs clearance fees when your parcel arrives in the Netherlands.
What happens if I don’t pay online?
We will transport the parcel to a PostNL location and send you a message once it has arrived there. You will pay the import fees when you collect the parcel. If you do not collect the parcel after seven days, we will return it to the foreign sender.
What if I don’t want to pay?
You can refuse the parcel online and we will return it to the sender straight away.