Transportation, Customs declaration and clearance for the shipment imported into Germany

All commercial goods transported from non-EU countries, including Vietnam, to Germany will have to make a declaration to the German Customs - the competent authority on release of goods imported into the EU at the first border gate in the territory of Germany.

Customs procedures for importing into Germany include the following steps:

  • Declaring the Entry Summary Declaration (ENS): The ENS must be lodged at the first customs office of entry to the EU. The deadline for lodging ENS based on the mode of transport, for example at least 01 hour before arrival for transport by road, at least 24 hours before loading commences in the foreign port for transport by maritime containers , at least 4 hours before the goods arrive at the first airport in the customs territory of the EU for long haul flight of 4 hours or more, etc.;

  • Declaring Import Declaration: After the goods arrive, the importer must declare the Import Declaration, also known as the Single Administrative Document (SAD) – which is used uniformly by all member states of the EU. The SAD can be presented by: (i) Using an approved computerised system linked to Customs authorities; or (ii) Lodging it with the designated Customs Office premises. When carrying out customs procedures, the importers must use their EORI number;

  • Checking import documents: German Customs will check whether the required import documents are sufficient and valid (see details below);

  • Physical inspection of means of transport and goods, if necessary;

  • Collecting import tariffs, taxes and other fees.

Mandatory import documents

For normal goods, documents that an importer must present to the German customs office include:

  • Commercial invoice;

  • Packing List;

  • Bill of Lading (sea waybill – B/L, air waybill – AWB…);

  • Certificate of Origin (C/O): to enjoy GSP or EVFTA tariff preferences, the corresponding C/O must be submitted.

For goods subject to special control, in addition to the above documents, businesses will have to submit to German Customs a number of mandatory documents depending on each type of goods, such as:

  • CE-marking certification for some goods such as toys for children under 14 years old; household refrigerators and freezers; gas fuel burning equipment; machines; medical equipment; measuring tool; electrical equipment…;

  • CITES certification for the import of animal samples (live or not), samples of plants and other parts thereof, or samples of products of animal or plant origin;

  • Certificate of fumigation, issued by the phytosanitary agency of the exporting country, applies to a number of goods with high risk of containing harmful germs (termites, molds, etc.) such as wooden products (rattan products, handicrafts...), some organic products (coffee, pepper, cashew ...) or goods packages derived from wood (pallets)...;

  •  Health, Sanitary and Phytosanitary certificates for a number of products such as vegetables, fruits, seafood...

After the importers submit all the required documents for their consignments, pay all tariffs, taxes and fees and the goods are checked without problems (if the goods are physically inspected), goods shall be released and cleared by German Customs. During the process of customs clearance, imported goods will be stored in Temporary storage under Customs supervision (no more than 90 days) until the goods are cleared.

After being cleared and released, imported goods will be freely circulated in Germany and all EU member territories.

Source: "Business Handbook: Exploiting the EVFTA  to import and export goods between Vietnam and Germany" - Center for WTO and International Trade