All information on customs clearance

What is customs clearance?

Customs clearance or customs clearance is the use of a customs procedure.
Customs clearance is referred to, for example.B when goods are released for free circulation.
We have brought together all the information on customs clearance for you and have a
lso answered the most frequently asked questions on this subject in detail for you.

Commercial imports

Whenever you want to export goods commercially from Switzerland or import them into Switzerland, they must be declared by customs. The same applies to goods to be exported from the EU to a non-EU country or imported into the EU from a non-EU country. Industrial goods must always be declared under customs law, even in the case of very small quantities. There are therefore no free limits here, such as private travel.

Private imports

Goods imported into a country by private individuals are completely exempt from import duties or at least duty-free up to a certain limit. However, if you wish to import goods subject to authorisation, the corresponding customs declarations must also be made for those goods. The same applies to the import of motor vehicles and trailers. These must always be subject to customs clearance and a certificate of safety. The reason for this is that the customs authorities collect the duties (customs duties + VAT) directly at the time of importation and must confirm that you have paid the duties so that you can later allow the vehicle to drive.

Customs clearance Switzerland

If you wish to have goods transported to Switzerland, you must declare them with a corresponding declaration to customs: with customs clearance. On the Swiss side, all customs clearances are carried out via the e-dec system. A list of all Swiss customs offices, their opening hours and contact details can be found directly on the website of the Swiss Federal Customs Administration (FCA).

In Thayngen, our customs office is at your disposal for customs clearances to Switzerland or from Switzerland:PUR
ollstr. 77
8240 ThayngenS

andE-mail: info@pureprogress.c
hTel. +41 44 512 14
35Opening hours: Monday – Friday 07:00 – 17:30

Customs clearance in other countries

Depending on the country of destination and the transport route of the goods to the destination country, we have to apply different customs procedures. For transports within Europe by land, it may make sense for us to draw up a transit document T1 or T2. We can then carry out customs clearance in the destination country.

However, if the country of destination belongs to the EU and the other conditions of EU customs clearance are met, we can also carry out a so-called EU customs clearance, see "What is an EU customs clearance".

If you want to transport goods via several means of transport to the country of destination, e.B. by car and then via ferry, different documents may be required. It is also possible that we will have to re-exhibit documents several times. This would be, for example.B a T1 document to the EU external border and a connection T1 from the country where the ferry arrives to the country of destination.

How is a customs clearance structured?

A customs clearance or customs declaration is always structured according to a scheme. The principle is similar to a catalogue of questions. In doing so, we must answer all the questions in the questionnaire in each customs clearance. However, only the answers to the questionnaire and the associated documents differ for each task.


In each customs clearance, we must indicate at least the importer (sometimes also called the notifier). In addition, customs usually want to know the data on the consignor of the goods. If the actual recipient of the goods differs from the importer or declarant, the customs authorities would also like to know the importer.

EORI Number

Every EU economic operator has had to register in the European Union customs system for several years. This is necessary whenever they want to carry out import or export transactions. Registration takes place via the so-called EORI number. You can find out more directly in our article on the EORI number.

Type of business

The nature of the business is also important for customs. If it is a return of goods or a normal purchase/sale. Did you only rent the goods? Is it even aid or other free services? These data determine, on the one hand, the customs procedure and, on the other hand, the duties. In addition, these data are used in the statistics of the German Federal Statistical Office DESTATIS and the Swiss Federal Statistical Office.

Customs tariff number

In addition to the type of transaction, the information on the economic operators and, if applicable, their EORI numbers, we must also declare information about the goods. This is done in the first step with the correct tariff number. The customs tariff number is a clear classification of the goods in the customs tariff. Depending on the material and possibly the intended use of the goods, we classify this system (HS) in another chapter. However, each goods can only be assigned exactly to a customs tariff number. The harmonised system therefore comprises a total of 21 sections with 99 chapters and over 5000 subheadings. This ensures that each product has exactly one tariff number.

The customs tariff number also determines the prohibitions and restrictions to be observed for this type of goods during the import/import. In addition, the customs tariff number determines the amount of import duties and, if applicable, VAT. In addition to the customs tariff number, customs would also like to know the exact description of the goods, including all relevant information.

2020 Incoterms

Incoterms is the term of delivery between the seller and the buyer of a product. Here you can go directly to ICC Germany and the current Incoterms 2020. We must also indicate the incoterm of the commercial transaction in the customs clearance.


A value of goods must be determined for all goods in accordance with customs legislation and the Union Customs Code. Even if the commodity is worthless from a subjective point of view, it still has a statistical value. For example, if you want to import a defective car into Germany, it will never be worth 0 EUR. It always has a certain scrap value. This is the case for all goods from a customs point of view. Customs law therefore has no zero values. In addition, the statistical value is partly offsets or discounts. This can be the case depending on the Incoterm for freight costs, insurance costs, etc. These costs affect the amount to be taxed and taxed.

Frequently asked questions about customs clearance

Below we have listed and answered the most frequently asked questions. It deals with a wide range of related issues. These are the self-customs clearance or the execution of customs clearance from a legal point of view (customs clearance + payment conditions). However, we also often receive questions about the costs, the duration and the different customs procedures. If your question is not listed here, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What types of customs clearances are there?

Depending on the type of business and treatment of the goods, there are many different customs procedures. A classic customs procedure is the "procedure for release for free circulation of the goods". , This is also likely to be most commonly used. In addition, however, there are other facts and constellations. This may mean, for example.B that a company processes goods abroad ("refined"). In this way, we have to apply the procedure of passive /active finishing.

In addition, different process codes are specified for import and export. From the EU's point of view, classical imports (release for free circulation) are attributed to the procedure of 40 00.B.dem, for example. For example, if there is a previous procedure such as an export from the EU (procedure 10 00), the import procedure changes accordingly. It will be new to: 40 10 (imports = 40, with previous export from the EU = 10).

If a company processes goods abroad, we have to apply different process codes. Also if goods later return in unchanged condition, i.e. without processing the goods.

Contact us about your individual case and we will be happy to explain the appropriate procedure.

Is it possible to make customs clearance yourself?

Under certain conditions, you can also carry out customs clearance yourself. For example.B, the German Customs Administration offers a tool called IZA (Internet Customs Declaration) that makes this possible. With "e-dec web", the Swiss authorities also offer a solution to carry out the most common and simplest procedures without a customs agent. However, demanding procedures, in which a particularly large number of mistakes can be made, are only possible with a commercial solution at German and Swiss customs.

What is a customs clearance of office?

In various cases and depending on the situation, it is necessary that you fill in a customs clearance of authority. Only then can a customs agency carry out a customs action for you. An example is when you need to make a statement in your own name, but you want the customs agent to represent you. Then he needs a written authorisation from you that he can make the registration / declaration on your behalf.

How does customs clearance work in Switzerland?

There are separate rules for importing goods into Switzerland compared to imports into the EU or other countries. There is no Union Customs Code here, as Switzerland does not belong to a customs union. Instead, Swiss customs law applies. Its provisions apply in conjunction with Switzerland's concluded free trade agreements. This makes it possible for you to import goods into Switzerland duty-free. At the same time, you can also import goods from Switzerland, e.B. to Germany, duty-free under certain conditions. You can find out more about this in the item Customs Clearance Switzerland.

What is a customs clearance order?

In order for a customs agent to be able to carry out customs clearance for you, the customs agent requires a customs clearance order from you. As a rule, this is done by written statement from you, e.B. by e-mail. In some cases, such as .B import of postal items, Deutsche or Schweizer Post may also automatically customs clearance. The reason for this is that no goods may be imported into the country of destination without customs clearance.

How long does a customs clearance take?

The duration of customs clearance depends on many different factors. This allows a simple customs clearance to be completed in less than an hour. However, this is only possible without different types of goods and with all the given information. This includes, among other things, the customs tariff number as well as all necessary documents and evidence. On the other hand, customs clearance can also be very expensive. For example, if we have to make .B in advance, obtain export permits or import permits. Or if there are many different types of goods and there is also no list of customs tariff numbers.

What is a proof of customs clearance?

Proof of customs clearance is a proof that goods are properly used in a customs procedure. This may be, for example.B release for free circulation. It is therefore an import tax notice / tax notice. When importing into Switzerland, there is also talk of the so-called electronic assessment order eVV VAT / Customs. Especially for deliveries directly from Germany to Switzerland, many companies would like to have proof of customs clearance at the time of delivery. This proves that the driver has brought the goods across the border in accordance with the law. However, since the electronic assessment order is usually only available after a few days, a (stamped) import list is usually sufficient. All goods are listed there. This is therefore proof that the data have been transmitted to the customs office.

How much does a customs clearance cost?

The cost of customs clearance depends entirely on how complex the customs clearance of the consignment is. Are there many different types of goods that the employee of the customs agency (the so-called customs declaration) has to record? If he has to research the customs tariff numbers, the effort is high. The customs agency must pass on these costs to the customer. However, if the customer is proactive in the preparation of customs clearance, the workload can be reduced. For example, if the customer provides the customs tariff numbers, the customs agency can work more efficiently. It can pass on this cost advantage to the customer. You can get a good first glimpse of our price list.

What is a customs clearance event?

Have you seen the status "Customs Event" in the tracking or tracking of your parcel shipment? This means that the consignment is currently being paid for or is waiting for customs clearance. The Post Office will contact the consignor/recipient if it needs further documents or information. Please keep in mind that the Post Office has thousands of shipments a day that it has to clear. Depending on how complex and urgent the shipment is, customs clearance can sometimes take several days. This is partly dependent on whether all documents and information are available.

Who pays for customs clearance?

Depending on the incoterms agreed between the seller and the buyer at the time of the transaction, either the consignor or the importer pays the costs of the customs agency. If nothing has been agreed and you pick up the goods yourself .B, you can always assume that you have to pay the customs clearance of the goods as the buyer yourself. In some cases, the seller does not want to have anything to do with customs clearance and therefore sells "ex works / ex works" with the delivery condition EXW.

What is a T1 customs clearance?

T1 is a customs procedure. This is applied, for example, when you want to pass goods duty-free through a country. The T from "T1" therefore stands for transit and for the right to be allowed to transport the goods without having to customs duty. This allows you to move goods from Switzerland to Poland, e.B. in transit through Germany, i.e. duty-free. This has the advantage that german and Polish import duties are not charged, but only Polish VAT and, if applicable, Polish customs duties.

A colloquial "T1 customs clearance" is therefore about the creation of the T1 (i.e. no customs clearance), so that you are allowed to drive the goods in transit through the corresponding area. We can then carry out customs clearance for you in the country of destination.

Where is customs clearance taking place?

Depending on the customs procedure, customs clearance can take place at different locations. On the one hand, it is possible for us to duty goods coming from Germany to Switzerland at Swiss airport, as this is the first customs office where the goods arrive in the country. It could .B also be the Swiss motorway border in Basel if the goods are brought to Switzerland via this. It would therefore again be the first customs office in the country. The same applies to customs clearance with imports into Germany. If the goods arrive at the port of Hamburg, we can duty them directly there. On the other hand, it is also possible that you drive goods through a country duty-free "in transit" and that we only duty them for you at the customs office of destination at the place of destination. It is then referred to as a transit in the "transit procedure", e.B T1 or T2.

However, customs clearance services may be carried out anywhere. This allows us to carry out customs clearances at any Swiss or Duetschen customs office for you from Zurich.

What is provisional customs clearance?

Only when imported into Switzerland is there a so-called "provisional customs clearance". Provisional means provisional (source: Duden). You can make this customs declaration, or So change your customs agent later. More precisely, this procedure applies when you import goods into Switzerland, for example, without proof of origin and thus subject to customs duties. The electronic assessment order, i.e. the Swiss tax notice, is only provisionally fixed and we can subsequently correct it for you. Goods are therefore imported into the country without proof of preference – import duties must be paid. However, as soon as the proof of origin is available later in accordance with the requirements of the free trade agreements, we can submit an application to the customs office and the electronic assessment order will be corrected. This allows us to recover customs duties for you in retrospect.

It is important to know that in a case as described above, the customs agent must always apply the provisional customs procedure. If the latter declares the customs clearance of imports as "definitive" and not as "provisional", no change is possible at a later time. In such a case, therefore, the customs duties paid would be lost despite the subsequent proof of origin.

When does customs clearance have to be made?

Depending on the country of importation and whether it is private or commercial, there are different value limits. In some cases, you must also encase appropriate documents or accompanying documents for the export of the goods. For transports to Switzerland, we have summarized this here: accompanying documents for shipping to Switzerland

What is EU customs clearance?

EU customs clearance is a special EU customs procedure (so-called procedure 42). This allows us to import goods from a third-party or EFTA country such as Switzerland to an EU country without VAT being required. We can carry out EU customs clearance whenever the importer of the consignment (the so-called notifier) does not come from the country where the goods enter the EU.

An example would be, for example.B. the import of goods from Switzerland to France via the German border. Here we can carry out an EU customs clearance, because the goods cross a different border than the French one. However, if the goods were to go from Switzerland to France and enter the EU via a Swiss-French border, EU customs clearance would not be possible. In this case, we would have to apply 'normal' customs clearance in the 40-year procedure, which would then in turn incur French VAT.