Customs and tax rules for private imports, including online shopping

Different product groups have different rules on customs. It is important to bear this in mind when buying from online stores abroad.

Can I buy pharmaceuticals from abroad?

The regulations for the purchase of pharmaceuticals from abroad are very strict. In practice, this means that there are very few, if any, medicines that you as a private person can import into Norway. If you receive a shipment containing illegal drugs, you will be notified that the contents have been seized and will be destroyed, or that the shipment will be returned.

Here are some reasons why pharmaceuticals are not legal to import:

  • There is no Norwegian approval or packaging
  • The medication has been imported from a country outside the EEA
  • The medication requires a prescription in Norway
  • The volume imported is greater than the amount required for three months of normal use
  • The medication is for animals
  • The medication is not for personal medical use

Find out more about regulations on the private import of pharmaceuticals from the Norwegian Medicines Agency.

What about the import of dietary supplements and foodstuffs?

By dietary supplements, we mean items such as vitamin products, minerals, Omega 3 oils, slimming aids, protein drinks and powders, rehabilitation products and natural remedies.

There is a 15 per cent value added tax on food. In addition, there are duties and special taxes on some foods depending on the content and in which country it is produced.

Dietary supplements or foodstuff?

Although a product is not considered a drug in the country you are shopping from, the content may cause it to be classified as a drug in Norway. If the dietary supplement you purchased is classified as a drug, then the rules for importing drugs apply. Such products can therefore be seized and destroyed by The Norwegian Customs.

Find out more about dietary supplements from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

Note: The dietary supplement you import may potentially contain drugs or narcotics. You may be prosecuted if you import such products. Dietary supplements may contain prohibited products from endangered plant or animal species. The Norwegian Customs and Excise Service will seize any dietary supplement if this is discovered.

Can I import alcohol?

Private individuals are able to import beer, wine, spirits and other alcoholic drinks for private use without applying for a permit. You must be aged over 18 to import alcoholic drinks. You must be aged over 22 import spirits or other alcoholic drinks stronger than 22 per cent by volume.

When importing alcoholic beverages, you have to pay taxes (VAT, customs and special taxes) for the whole party. You must pay the fees even if the alcohol is received as a gift, inherited or part of a moving location goods. In addition to state taxes, you must pay Posten for the customs clearance assignment.

When delivered, parcels will be compliant with Norwegian legislation; in other words, the age of the recipient will be checked. The recipient must not be visibly intoxicated and must be over 18 or 20 years of age. Delivery takes place according to the opening hours of the Vinmonopolet. The recipient will pay an inspection charge on delivery.

Can I buy tobacco products, including snus from abroad?

Individuals "can" receive tobacco products (including snus) from abroad, but in practice it is not possible for individuals to import tobacco products due to very strict import regulations from the Directorate of Health.

  • The product must be marked with a warning (Act relating to prevention of the harmful effects of tobacco, § 3)
  • Individuals must be at least 18 years old to be allowed to buy snus (Act relating to prevention of the harmful effects of tobacco, § 5)

If you receive a shipment that contains tobacco and nicotine products in violation of Norwegian law, you will be notified that the content has been withheld, where you have 10 days to justify legal importation. If we do not receive a response within the deadline, the tobacco/nicotine products will be destroyed. If the shipment contains products that have been legally imported, this part of the shipment will be forwarded.

For legal importation of tobacco and nicotine products, you will have to pay taxes (VAT, customs and excise duties). This also applies if the tobacco product has been sent as a gift, inheritance or moving goods. Upon delivery, you must also pay Posten for the customs assignment, as well as a fee for imposed age control in accordance with Norwegian legislation.

For more information, see The Norwegian Customs' pages.

Are there any taxes on clothing and footwear?

Clothing is one of the few product types that may be subject to customs tariffs. Customs tariffs differ depending on the type of garment in question. Footwear is duty-free.

Nevertheless, you have to pay 25 per cent VAT when buying clothing and footwear from abroad. Posten charges for customs clearance if Norwegian fees are not paid in the foreign online store.

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