Exports to EU/ Germany

When considering to export to the EU, companies generally work with an importer located in the EU. EU importer must have a business registration at the trade office of the city or municipality where the business activity is to be carried out. Beyond a certain size of the company, an additional entry in the commercial register at the local court is required, which must be arranged through a notary. Corporations, such as GMBH's, must always be entered in the commercial register. Companies that declare exports or imports at customs need an EORI number. The obligation to provide the eori number already exists from the first export or import transaction.  

Citizens from non-EU countries require a residence permit for the Federal Republic of Germany, which also permits the exercise of independent commercial activities.



EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification System) is an EU-wide system for unambiguous registration and identification of companies and private in relation to the customs administration. This is done with the help of an individually assigned EORI number, which is valid throughout the EU.


In Germany, the existing seven-digit customs number is followed by the country code DE. For example DE1234567. Newly issued EORI numbers have 15 digits, also with the prefix DE. The EORI number must be indicated in export and import declarations (exporter in the case of export; recipient in the case of import).


The EORI number is issued free of charge on request by the General Customs Directorate - Dresden Office - Master Data Management (GZD - DO Dresden - Stammdatenmanagement). Information on the application and the application form can be found on the following customs page (link to https://www.zoll.de/DE/Fachthemen/Zoelle/EORI-Nummer/Beantragung-einer-EORI-Nummer/beantragung-einer-eori-nummer_node.html). The EORI number is stored in a central EU database.


For more information, contact: info.eori@zoll.de


Import Duties

The import duties can be determined under the respective HS number in the Electronic Customs Tariff. This is the point where you come across:


Customs duties: Instead of third country customs duties, preferential customs duties or duty exemptions are often considered for imports from various countries and groups of countries, e.g. EFTA, European Economic Area, developing countries, if it can be proven that the goods also originate from the respective supplier countries.


Import sales tax: This is a special form of VAT collection with a standard rate of currently 19%. For import companies entitled to deduct input tax, this levy does not represent a cost factor in the end, since paid import turnover tax can be deducted in full as input tax.


Excise duties: Applicable on some goods such as tobacco, alcohol, sparkling wine, coffee, beer, and mineral oil.


Import duty rates in EZT (Electronic Customs Tariff)

In the Electronic Customs Tariff (EZT), economic operators can query, among other things, the import duty rates for the import of goods into the European Union. It should be noted that the import duty rates can only be clearly determined if the 11-digit code number of the goods is entered.

You can determine the 11-digit code number in the import webpage by entering the 8-digit code number on the on the left side and ticking the box "Change in goods nomenclature" on the right side. A "tariff structure" will appear, by opening the different subfolders (each at the beginning of the line) you will reach the 11-digit code number.


  Frequently Asked Questions:

  Do I need special permits for the import?

  Generally not, but there are import licensing requirements and sometimes quantitative restrictions (e.g. in the textile and steel sectors) for certain products originating in certain countries. The import list must be used to check which products are affected.
  Licensing authorities are the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control - BAFA (for commercial goods) and the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food - BLE (for agricultural products).


  What else could stand in the way of an import?

  Certain products may generally not be sold in the Federal Republic of Germany or only under certain conditions. This applies equally to domestic and imported goods. For example, there are internationally protected animal and plant species - because they are
  threatened with extinction. As a result, certain leather goods, for example, may not be imported or may only be imported under certain conditions.


  Which import documents are required?

  For the customs clearance you need:

  • Commercial invoices of the foreign supplier
  • Import declaration: To place goods under a customs procedure, a customs declaration is required, which is also considered a customs application.  
  • The customs declaration must usually be submitted electronically. For goods shipments up to a value of 1,000 EUR, the verbal customs declaration is sufficient.
  • In certain cases, import permits or authorizations or import licences (for agricultural goods).
  • International import certificates/certificates of arrival of goods: When importing weapons, ammunition and military equipment, materials, installations and equipment for nuclear purposes, and other goods and technologies of strategic importance, the importer may be requested by his foreign contracting party to send him an International Import Certificate or a Certificate of Receipt of Goods. This is issued by the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control.
  • Certificate of Origin Form A / REX declaration (for imports from beneficiary developing countries to benefit from tariff preferences)
  • Goods circulation certificate EUR.1/EUR-MED or invoice declaration (for duty-free or duty-privileged imports from countries or groups of countries with which the EU has concluded free trade or association agreements)