Import Documentation Requirements: Germany Edition
If you’re thinking of exporting goods to Germany, it’s essential to be prepared with the correct documents. This blog breaks down all the requirements you should know to avoid losing valuable time and money.
The Single Administrative Document (SAD)
For all trade with non-EU countries, the Single Administrative Document (SAD) is used as the official model according to which business is conducted, and written declarations are made. A single document for all EU countries dramatically simplifies the trading process while reducing administrative complexity. German imports also follow the same procedures specified in the SAD.
Once goods enter the EU, they are under customs supervision until the required formalities are shown to be completed. Customs officials must be presented with a Summary Declaration, which is often needed within one working day of delivering goods. This declaration is generally filed by:
- The shipping company that brings the goods into the country or the person who is designated as being responsible for the goods; or
- The person whom the shipping company or responsible party are acting for
In Germany, the Summary Declaration is made available as a form that the customs officials hand over. In specific cases, if customs officials feel that a similar document has all the information that they require in a Summary Declaration, they may waive this requirement.
The SAD, serving as the importer’s declaration, also covers VAT and customs duties. This declaration is made by the person who is the importer or their agent. The importer in Germany must also file a customs declaration, which is submitted as a physical copy, along with a duplicate invoice.
This invoice generally has:
- The address of the buyer and the seller
- The kind and number of packages
- Country of purchase
- Country of origin
- Terms of payment and delivery
- Date and place of issue
- Invoice price (in the currency of the invoice)
- Detailed description of the articles
- Quantity or volume in normal commercial units
Some equipment types may also require that you have a certificate of origin. Furthermore, import taxes and duties can change, making it vital to verify tariffs frequently.
Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI)
For companies established outside of the European Union, having an EORI number is a must. You can neither lodge a customs declaration nor an exit/entry summary declaration without one.
You can obtain this number by requesting it from the customs board of the specific country you are exporting to. While the process itself is outside the scope of this blog, it may require many additional documents to be submitted as stipulated by the customs authorities.
While you must obtain the number from the country you are exporting to—in this case, Germany—once you have received it, you can ship to anywhere in the EU. Having an EORI can significantly simplify the customs process.
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