Navigating customs in Norway: What e-commerce shippers must know

June 27, 2024
Navigating customs in Norway: What e-commerce shippers must know

Shipping to Norway presents a lucrative opportunity for e-commerce businesses, given its robust economy, high purchasing power, and tech-savvy population. With a thriving online shopping culture and a significant demand for international products, tapping into the Norwegian market can yield substantial returns for businesses looking to expand their reach.

However, shipping to Norway comes with its own set of challenges, particularly in customs clearance. As Norway is not part of the European Union member states, navigating customs procedures can pose a significant challenge for e-commerce businesses. Understanding and efficiently managing these customs processes is essential to ensure smooth and timely delivery to Norwegian customers.

Key regulations for shipping goods to Norway

When shipping goods to Norway, it is essential to comply with key customs regulations. These regulations include providing detailed information about the shipment, such as its value, origin, and contents. The country of origin of the goods is also crucial, as it determines the applicable customs duties and taxes. Additionally, it is important to consider any restrictions or prohibitions on certain goods when shipping to Norway. Familiarizing yourself with these key regulations will help ensure a smooth customs clearance process and prevent any delays or penalties.

The role of customs for e-commerce businesses

When selling goods to customers in Norway, e-commerce businesses need to consider customs duties, which are fees levied by governments on imported goods. These duties vary depending on the type of goods being imported and their value. By understanding the customs clearance process and the role of customs for e-commerce businesses, you can calculate customs duties accurately and ensure a smooth and successful customs clearance for your shipments to Norway.

Preparation: Essential documents required for Norwegian customs

When preparing for customs clearance in Norway, there are several essential documents that need to be in order. These documents include a commercial invoice, which provides detailed information about the shipment, including the value of the goods, the quantity, and a description of the items. A bill of lading is also required, which serves as a receipt for the goods and provides information about the shipment's origin, destination, and the carrier responsible for transporting the goods. Finally, a customs declaration is necessary, which provides detailed information about the goods being imported or exported, including their value and any applicable customs duties and taxes.

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Understanding the value and classification of your goods

Understanding the value and classification of your goods is crucial for calculating customs duties accurately. This knowledge ensures compliance with international trade regulations and facilitates smooth customs clearance processes. In the case of Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) shipments, where the seller assumes responsibility for all costs, including customs duties, having accurate information about the value and classification of goods is essential to ensure seamless transactions and avoid delays at customs checkpoints. The classification of goods is done using the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), which assigns a specific code to each type of product. This code determines the applicable customs duties for the goods. By accurately determining the value and classification of your goods, you can calculate customs duties correctly and ensure a smooth customs clearance process in Norway.

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Customs clearance in Norway: What you need to get started

To get started with navigating Norwegian customs, there are a few key things you need. First, it is beneficial to work with a partner like Seven Senders who can provide guidance and support throughout the whole customs clearance process. This is crucial to navigate the complexities of customs procedures and ensure compliance with customs regulations. Second, familiarize yourself with the customs process and the specific requirements for importing or exporting goods to Norway: Necessary documentation, customs duties, and any restrictions or prohibitions on certain goods. Finally, staying informed about international trade regulations and changes in customs policies can help you stay ahead and ensure a smooth customs clearance process for your shipments to Norway.

Step 1: Register your business with Norwegian customs authorities

  • For businesses engaged in Business-to-Consumer (B2C) transactions, registering for the VOEC (VAT On E-commerce) scheme can be a game-changer. VOEC registration enables businesses to mitigate or even eliminate import duties on goods shipped to Norway. This is particularly advantageous for e-commerce companies looking to streamline their cross-border operations and provide a seamless shopping experience for their customers.

  • Conversely, businesses involved in Business-to-Business (B2B) transactions have different requirements when shipping goods to Norway. In this scenario, the customer must either have a "NUF" (Norwegian-registered Foreign Business) or be VAT registered in Norway. However, opting for these methods does not typically offer the same duty savings as the VOEC scheme.

Independently of the method, we support our customers by providing expert consulting services on crucial topics like VOEC registration and VAT compliance. With our guidance, businesses can make informed decisions that optimize their shipping processes and ensure smooth customs clearance, regardless of their operational model or target market.

Step 2: Declaring of goods and determination of good's pre-approval or certifications

In step 2 of navigating Norwegian customs, you need to determine if your goods require any pre-approval or certifications before they can be imported or exported. Certain goods, such as pharmaceuticals, and hazardous materials, may require special permits or licenses. It is important to understand the specific regulations and requirements for your goods to ensure compliance. Obtaining the necessary pre-approval or certifications in advance will help avoid delays or issues during customs clearance. 

Working with us can also be beneficial in navigating this step, as we provide guidance on the requirements and assist in obtaining the necessary approvals or certifications for your goods.

Step 3: Accurately calculate duties and taxes

Step 3 involves the calculation of customs duties and taxes applicable to your goods. Customs duties are charges levied on imported goods, determined by the value and classification of the items. Duty rates vary based on the type of goods being imported and can be located in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). To compute the customs duties, it is important to establish the value of your goods, which includes the purchase price, transportation costs, and any additional expenses. After determining the value, consulting the HTS will help identify the relevant duty rate. If you as an online shop decide to ship goods under DDP terms, it is crucial to accurately calculate duties and taxes, as you would assume responsibility for these costs, ensuring compliance with customs regulations and facilitating smooth customs clearance.

Step 4: Prepare and submit the necessary documentation

In step 4, it is crucial to prepare and submit the necessary documentation for customs clearance. This includes a customs declaration, which provides detailed information about the goods being imported or exported, such as their value, quantity, and description. Additionally, other documents might be needed for support, such as a commercial invoice, bill of lading, or packing list. It is essential to ensure that all information provided in the documentation is accurate and matches the actual shipment. Any discrepancies can lead to delays or issues during customs clearance. 

Seven Senders fully digitized customs solution supports this step, streamlining the preparation and submission of documentation for seamless customs clearance. Our platform ensures accuracy and compliance, reducing the risk of delays and facilitating smooth cross-border shipping processes.

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