Receiving parcels from abroad

Everything you need to know about import charges

When importing goods from abroad, you may be required to pay additional costs such as customs duties, VAT and other import fees. Below we provide a brief explanation of the actual customs clearance process, which of course we are happy to handle for you.

What are customs clearance fees?

All goods entering the country must be declared to customs. Depending on the origin and value of the goods, you may be required to pay tax and other import duties. In practice, any fees due are collected by PostNL on behalf of customs authorities. These costs may be paid at the time of picking up your shipment at a retail point. Alternatively, you may receive a payment request by e-mail, which includes a link that lets you complete payment via iDeal. 

Customs clearance fees

When you receive a parcel from outside the European Union, you are required to pay VAT and import duties. If you have to pay customs clearance fees, you will receive a separate message about this by e-mail SMS or post. You can also see this earlier in track & trace if you already have the barcode of your parcel. Read the table below to find out which fees apply to you.

Country of originType of shipmentValue of the shipment*VATHandling costsImport duties
EU countryPurchaseUnlimitedNoNoNo
Non-EU countryPurchaseUp to €150Yes*YesNo
Over €150Yes*YesYes
GiftUp to €45NoNoNo
Over €45Yes*YesNo, unless value > €150

*In case you have to pay VAT and/or import duties, the amount will be calculated based on the value of your purchase including shipping and insurance costs.

Paying upon collection

Deliveries requiring payment can be collected at your local retail point. We will inform you as soon as your parcel is available for collection. If you do not wish to pay import fees, you can choose not to collect your parcel, in which case it will be returned to sender. 

Please note: if you choose to collect your parcel, then you are required to pay the customs clearance fees.

Online payment

Did you receive a notification about an upcoming delivery? If so, you can click on the link to complete payment online. Here’s how it works:

  1. You will receive a payment request via e-mail. 
  2. Click on the link in the e-mail. 
  3. Enter your postal code to visit the tracking page, where you will find more details about the amount payable. 
  4. Click the button to pay your customs clearance fees. 
  5. Select a payment method (iDeal or creditcard).
  6. Once your payment has been processed successfully, you will receive a notification that your parcel has been cleared for delivery.
  7. The parcel will be delivered to your home address.

Handling costs

PostNL charges handling costs (including debit and administration fees) for: 

  • advancing the payable VAT and/or import taxes (to customs); 
  • opening and investigating your shipment(s); 
  • establishing the contents and value of your goods; storing and keeping your shipments.

Read the table below to find out your handling costs.

Value of the shipmentVATHandling costs per parcelImport duties
Pay onlinePay at PostNL-point
Up to €150Yes€6€11No
Over €150Yes€12€17Yes

Missing information?

Sometimes, essential information about the shipment is missing, which means we are unable to clear the shipment for delivery. If this happens, we will send you a request to supply the missing information (‘Bericht van Aankomst’) so delivery may be completed.