Parcel must pass through customs

Are you expecting a parcel from outside the EU? Then your parcel must pass through customs first and you may have to pay extra fees like import duties, VAT or excise duties.

Discover how this process works.

1. Request to pay import costs

If the VAT was not paid to the webshop in advance or if the value of the goods exceeds €22, bpost must collect the import costs for the shipment before your shipment can be presented to Belgian customs. These costs consist of:

  • VAT
  • customs duties
  • costs for customs formalities

Note: From July 1, new customs rules apply for online purchases from outside the EU. From then on, VAT must be paid on all goods from outside the EU. The tables below show when this is the case and how much the customs formalities cost.

As the recipient, you must pay these costs in advance via the My bpost app or via Track & Trace. You will receive an email, text message or letter with a payment invitation. bpost will transfer the customs duties and VAT to the Belgian government.

    2. Security check

    Customs formalities, import duties, VAT and any other fees (like anti-dumping duties and environmental duties) are calculated during clearance. The recipient must pay these upon delivery. The table below indicates when that is the case and how much the customs formalities cost.

      3. Delivery of your parcel

      As soon as customs releases the goods, bpost takes care of the delivery.

      Take into account that the entire process can take a few days. You can follow the status of your shipment via the My bpost app or via Track & Trace. You will be notified if you must fulfil more formalities or must pay import costs.

        UNTIL JULY 1
        Type of shipment Value of the shipment Customs formalities VAT * Import duties **
        Commercial Up to € 22 No* No No
        Commercial From €22 to €150 € 24 Yes No
        Commercial From €150 €32 Yes Yes
        Gift Up to €45 No No No
        Gift From €45 to €150 €24 Yes No
        Gift From €150 €32 Yes Yes
        * Except alcoholic products, perfume, eau de toilette, tobacco and tobacco products.
        ** VAT and import duties differ depending on the type of goods.
        FROM 1 JULY 2021
        - valid for all shipments arriving in Belgium after this date. More info about the new customs rules.
        Type of shipment Value of the shipment Customs formalities VAT * Customs duties **
        Commercial Up to € 150 €15 *** Yes Yes
        Commercial From €150 €32 Yes Yes
        Gift Up to €45 No No No
        Gift From €45 to €150 €15 Yes No
        Gift From €150 €32 Yes Yes
        * Except alcoholic products, perfume, eau de toilette, tobacco and tobacco products.
        ** VAT and import duties differ depending on the type of goods.
        ** The customs formalities are € 0 when the VAT has been paid in advance to the webshop.

        Perhaps you still have one of these questions

        If the parcel is lacking some information, you will receive a letter from bpost within two days. You can also see this immediately in the My bpost app or on Track & Trace. You can upload the missing documents there. The quicker you do this, the faster your parcel can be cleared through customs. In that case, the handling period is extended until you send the additional information. If you do not answer this request for additional information, we will return your parcel to the sender after 14 days.

        Customs duties, VAT and any other fees (like anti-dumping duties and environmental duties) are calculated during clearance. As the recipient, you must pay these in advance via the My bpost app or via Track & Trace. You will receive an email, text message or letter that requests payment.       

        The ‘fees for customs formalities’ is an administrative fee that is charged for:

        • determining the contents and value of the parcel
        • if necessary, contacting the addressee when the contents, value and details of the parcel do not correspond or are incomplete
        • drawing up the required customs declaration
        • storage and custody fees for collecting and passing on the customs duties

        These costs only apply to shipments from outside the European Union (+ United Kingdom). Since 1 July 2021, these costs apply to all shipments from outside the EU, even if the shipment is worth less than €22.

        If you order from a registered online shop (Import One-Stop Shop or IOSS) that charges VAT in advance, you will not have to pay additional taxes, customs duties and administrative fees to bpost.

        Please note: shipments with a value of €150 or more are always subject to customs duties and administrative processing fees.

        If your parcel comes from outside the European Union, it passes through customs by default. Customs is also authorised to check all shipments from inside the European Union. That usually involves suspect shipments from EU member states and shipments with excisable goods inside the European Community.

        In this case, your parcel comes from outside the EU, even if it was ordered from a European webshop. Some webshops send their products directly from the country of origin. If that country is outside the EU (e.g. the United Kingdom), you might be charged import costs. Always check the sender address of your parcel when ordering items online.

        If you receive a payment request for import costs, you can still refuse your parcel before making the payment. You can do this via the My bpost app or via Track & Trace. In that case, your parcel will automatically be returned to sender.

        As of July 1, 2021, import fees apply to all shipments from outside the European Union and the exemption for shipments worth less than €22 has expired.

        This depends on where your parcel was sent.

        My parcel comes from inside the European Union

        Customs is authorised to check all shipments from inside the European Union. That usually involves suspect shipments from EU member states and shipments with excisable goods inside the European Community. Your parcel doesn't usually experience extra delays.

        My parcel comes from outside the European Union

        These parcels undergo a customs process by default. The handling period depends on the following two factors:

        • whether your parcel has enough information, such as the value and nature of the goods. (If that is not the case, you will receive a letter a few days later. In that case, the handling period is extended until you send the additional information). Customs checks whether VAT, customs fees or other duties have to be paid on your parcel. 
        • whether customs or other official authorities have to check your parcel. That is the case for medicine, plants and food, weapons, suspected counterfeit goods, etc. You can follow the status of your parcel online with Track & Trace and the My bpost app.