Regulations on customs and duty when buying online


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

Regulations on customs and duty for different product groups when buying from online stores abroad:

Medications

Stricter regulations for the private import of medications

The regulations on which medications private individuals are allowed to import by post to Norway will be made stricter as of 1 October 2015. At the same time, customs officers will be given the power to destroy illegal medications where attempts have been made to import them. These were previously returned to sender.

These changes have been made due to the increasing volume of illegal medications being sold online. The Norwegian authorities do not want people to take false medications and support criminal activities linked with these.

Very few or no medications legal to import

As of now, private individuals can only import over-the-counter medications that hold marketing permits in Norway (and that come with Norwegian instructions for use and Norwegian wording on the packaging) in packages by post from EEA countries. In practice, this means that it is legal to import very few or no medications to Norway.

If you receive a parcel containing medications imported illegally, you will be notified that the contents have been seized and will be destroyed.

Reasons why medications are illegal 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 the new regulations on the private import of medications from the Norwegian Medicines Agency.

Dietary supplements and foodstuff

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.

Even if the product is not classified as a medication in the country in which you buy it, the contents may result in the product being classified as a medication in Norway. If the dietary supplement you have purchased is classified as a medication, the regulations on the import of medications are applicable. Such products may be seized and destroyed by the Norwegian Customs and Excise Service.

Some foods are subject to customs tariffs and fees. This is dependent on what the product contains and the country in which it was produced. 15 per cent VAT is payable on foods.

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.

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.

Importing alcoholic drinks will always be subject to customs clearance, and you will have to pay charges such as customs tariffs, VAT and other special duties for the entire consignment. You have to pay these charges even if the alcohol has been sent to you as a gift, an inheritance or household contents. As well as import duties payable to the government, Norway Post will charge a customs clearance fee by way of payment for the customs clearance work we do.

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 under the influence of alcohol, and such parcels will be delivered in accordance with the opening hours of Vinmonopolet. The recipient will pay an inspection charge on delivery.

Tobacco products, including snus

Private individuals may receive tobacco products (including snus) as gifts from abroad, but in practice it is not possible for private individuals to import tobacco products due to extremely strict import regulations specified by the Norwegian 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)

In the case of tobacco products undergoing customs clearance to enter Norway, charges such as customs tariffs, VAT and other special duties will be payable upon import. As well as import duties payable to the government, Norway Post will charge a customs clearance fee by way of payment for the customs clearance work we do.

Parcels containing tobacco products will observe Norwegian law in respect of age checks when delivered, and the recipient has to pay an inspection charge on delivery.

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. Any parcel with a value in excess of NOK 350 (value of the product, including transport and insurance costs) must undergo customs processing and Norway Post will charge a customs clearance fee by way of payment for the customs clearance work we do.

Cosmetics

Make-up, shampoo, creams, perfumes and skincare products may be imported into Norway. No duty is charged on cosmetics, but you will have to pay 25 per cent VAT when the value of the product, including transport and insurance costs, is in excess of NOK 350. When carrying out customs clearance, Norway Post charges a customs clearance fee by way of payment for the customs clearance work we do.

If a dietary supplement is deemed to be a food, you must be aware of import restrictions and prohibition. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is responsible for the rules on the importation of food.

Please contact the Norwegian Food Safety Authority if you have any questions on this.