UPS Close Window

Import/Export

United States to Germany

Country or Territory Regulations Topics:

Commodity Specific Stipulations

There are special stipulations on the following commodities when shipping to Germany. If you plan to ship one of the commodities listed below, be sure to adhere to the following stipulations in order to avoid delays and holds at customs.

Products Of Animal Origin are goods which contain at least partly material derived from the body of an animal. These products can be divided in food or non-food.

Food means any substance, whether processed, semi-processed or raw, which is intended for human consumption, but does not include cosmetics or substances used only as pharmaceuticals.

Non-Food (not intended for human consumption) includes animal by-products, animal feed, samples for testing or research purposes (food-grade or non-food grade), and in vitro diagnostics (IVD).

Animal products and animal by-products are often subject to a veterinary inspection. These products can only be accepted under a special contract for International Special Commodities (ISC). In addition those products must undergo veterinary checks at an approved Veterinary Border Inspection Post (BIP) when entering the EU & EFTA countries or territories (EU regulations are aligned for EU countries or territories and NO; IS; CH; LI).

For UPS shipments arriving in the EU by air, Cologne is the first point of arrival /BIP. Inspections will be processed at Cologne but final customs clearance process will be issued in the destination country or territory.

Additional charges for Vet-inspection will be applicable  see Brokerage Services and Charges.

Import requirements:

Generally, each type of Product of Animal Origin has specific import requirements that must be met. Food which is subject to veterinary inspections must:

Come from an EU listed Third Country or Territory (no safeguard measures in place)

Come from an EU approved establishment . Registered producers are listed under the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/food/international/trade/third_en.htm

Be accompanied by appropriate Health Certificate(s), signed by a veterinarian of the competent authority of country or territory of export. Photocopies of the Health Certificate will not be accepted.

Be appropriately packaged and labelled, indicating the nature, ingredients, quantity/ weight, the country or territory of origin and manufacturer.

Any foodstuff coming from non-approved establishments, sent as samples for testing purposes, can only be imported with a permit/license from a respective national veterinary authority. The permit/license must be send to the border inspection point responsible for the veterinary inspection. Delays may occur as the license needs to be provided already at the time of inspection.

Any non-compliant shipment must be returned at shippers expense immediately. The following exemptions apply to non-commercial shipments / gift shipments or purchased by private individuals for private consumption):

Meat, meat products, animal fat - max. 10 kg from Faroe Island and Greenland.

Fish and fish products (with intestines and organs removed) - max. 20 kg from all third countries or territories; no limitation from Faroe Islands.

Other animal products (for example, honey, egg, frog, live mussels - max. 10 kg from Faroe Islands and Greenland, and max. 2 kg from all other third countries or territories).

Antiques can be cleared with a duty rate of 0% and with the reduced VAT rate if they are proven older than 100 years.
Original artwork (for example, paintings, drawings, sculptures) can be imported with a duty rate of 0% and with the reduced VAT rate.
Cheese, milk, and milk products are considered Animal Products.

For additional information please see 'Animal Products' and 'Food'.

Goods which are destined for an exhibition may be subject to duty & tax. There are very detailed Customs regulations regarding goods for exhibitions that need to be followed by German Brokerage in regards to classification of the goods. It is solely the decision of German customs if import charges must be paid. Hence, shipments for exhibitions - which are normally time sensitive - should preferably have UPS Billing Option "Free Domicile" in order to avoid possible delays in delivery due to payment issues in the destination country or territory. Even if the billing option is Free Domicile it is highly recommended that shippers attach a confirmation that they are willing to pay the German import charges in case they incur. This will help to avoid clearance and delivery delays.

Furthermore, shippers should ensure that the proforma invoice lists the name of a contact person and a valid phone/mobile phone number so that Brokerage in the destination country or territory can get in contact with the consignee of the goods in oder to agree on the clearance procedure.

Fish and fish products are considered Animal Products. For additional information please see 'Animal Products' and 'Food'. For smoked salmon, see also 'Smoked Salmon'.
Certain food products (for example, figs, nuts, spices) are subject to inspection at authorized customs offices only. They can not be imported at the UPS import site. They must be returned or forwarded under bond to another customs broker assigned by the importer. Additional costs apply.

A veterinarian inspection or a Health Certificate may be required to import processed food depending on the percentage of animal products contained. A veterinarian determines the requirements for an inspection or Health Certificate based on the percentage of egg, meat, fish, milk, and milk products (especially cheese). The percentages of egg, milk, milk products, fish and meat should be stated on the invoice to support customs clearance.

Brokerage accessorial charges will apply and an import delay may occur.

Based on the EU regulation 2009/669/EC certain foodstuffs (for example tea with origin China) imported from certain third countries or territories are subject to increased level of official controls due to contamination risks of these products by aflatoxinson and pathogens. These controls are carried out at Designated Point of Entries (DPE) defined by each member state.

The import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station and not subject to vet inspection can only be imported into the EU through Designated Point of Entries (DPE). They must be accompanied by a declaration attesting that the goods are either harvested or processed before March 11, 2011, originated from a prefecture other than the ones affected by higher levels of radiation or if originated from an affected prefecture have been subjected to laboratory analysis determining the level of certain radionuclides (regulation 2011/297/EC).

The customs office responsible for our import sites are not defined as DPE. Commodities subject to import controls at a DPE can't be imported with UPS.

Customs classifies certain food supplements as medicine, especially vitamins with higher dosage than twice the recommended daily allowance and other products with physiological effects.

Private individuals cannot import medicine without an import license.

Food supplements classified as medicine in Germany and shipped without an Import License will be returned to the shipper or destroyed under customs control.

For additional information please see 'Medicine'.

The European Union (EU) has placed an import ban on Honey from certain countries or territories.

Before shipping honey to a European Union country or territory, it is highly recommended to contact your local chamber of commerce or your importer for detailed information.

If the importation is allowed by the European Union, the shipment must be accompanied by an original health certificate provided by the shipper/producer, otherwise, importation will not be possible. Furthermore, a vet inspection at the first point of arrival into the EU is required, even for sample shipments.

If the shipper fails to verify the import regulation of the destination country or territory and sends honey which is prohibited by the European Union, then all charges that may apply for the respective shipment will be billed back to the shipper.

For additional information please see 'Animal Products' and 'Food'.

Shipments require an Invoice.
Meat is considered Animal Products.

For additional information please see 'Animal Products' and 'Food'.

Individuals cannot import medicine. Only pharmacies can import medicine for private individuals, if they have received a doctor's prescription for the medicine from the private individual before ordering. The pharmacy must be listed as the importer and consignee. A pharmacy cannot be added as the importer while the shipment is clearing customs. Medicine shipments addressed to private individuals have to be returned or abandoned.

Medical companies with an Import License can also import medicine.

The import of medical products without a valid Import License/doctor's prescription is prohibited and will be returned to shipper or destroyed under customs control, in both circumstances additional costs will occur.

For the cartridges apply the rules of the german pharmaceuticals act, independently of the substances (nicotine etc.). Every import of electronic cigarettes requires an examination by the health authority pharmacy.
The invoice must include a description of the part, the machine for which the part will be used, and a list of the part's components.
Customers must use an authorized UPS / MBE (Mail Boxes Etc) Store, UPS Customer Center or ISC Approved Shipper to ship personal effects.

The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc, UPS Customer Center or ISC approved shipper will be required to identify personal effect shipments on the shipping label by placing "Personal Effects" in the Reference Field of a UPS "smart" label or in the Special Instructions Field of a UPS waybill. They must also clearly indicate 'Personal Effects' shipment on the Commercial Invoice.

Personal Effects are classified as used items (owned for a minimum of 6 months) intended for the consignee's personal use. Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis. "Personal Effects" must be clearly stated on the invoice and goods description.

All of the following documents must be scanned into DIS/SIR and originals on the package:

An inventory list with estimated values with the reason for importation (holidays, move, relocation) A confirmation that the goods are older than 6 months and that they are intended for personal use only A photocopy of passport or ID card Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis.

Excisable goods (for example, perfume, alcoholic drinks, tobacco), medicine and perishable food can not be cleared as personal effects.

Personal effects shipments are not allowed in combination with Return Services.

Samples of no commercial value can be imported free of duty and VAT under special circumstances. Samples marked or mutilated in a way that ensures the only use is a sample can be imported without duty and VAT in a number necessary for the purpose of testing. If the marking or mutilating is not reasonable (e.g. garments for a fashion show), samples up to 5 pieces and up to a maximum of 50 Euros per Commodity group can be imported without duty and VAT being charged. The term "Commodity group" means different qualities, colors and other differences customary in the trade except for the difference of sizes. Samples of no commercial value must be indicated as such on all export documentation.
In order to avoid wrong customs declarations at import, it is mandatory that the exporter provide very detailed information about the shoes (for example, what kind of leather, what material used for soles and uppers, what kind of shoes (sport shoes, sandals, boots), who is to wear the shoes (children, women, men).
A Health Certificate from the country or territory of origin must accompany shipments of smoked salmon. For U.S. shippers, obtain a Health Certificate by calling the Fish and Wildlife Department at 1-800-358-2104.

A veterinary Health Certificate from the country or territory of origin must accompany shipments of smoked salmon from non-E.U. countries or territories. A certified veterinarian must then permit importation at the import site. Accessorial charges will apply.

For additional information please see Animal Products and Food.

Most of modern test reagents for diagnostic research are built on antibodies which are generated from animal tissue. There are two types of antibodies, the monoclonal antibodies and polyclonal antibodies.

Monoclonal antibodies are generated in vitro. Tissue from animals are taken (e.g. blood) and infected with certain substances or pathogens. The blood cells react with the production of antibodies which are than harvested and used for the production of the test kits. Due to the in vitro production and the controlled way of production those types of test kits are not subject to veterinarian control if it is a commercial production.

Polyclonal antibodies are gained from living animals like rabbits. They are infected with the substances / pathogens and the animals are producing antibodies. The antibodies are harvested from the blood stream of the animals. Test reagents with polyclonal antibodies are subject to vet inspections.

Shipment documents (commercial invoice or declaration on letterhead) should include:

 the place of origin of the material

 the quantity of the material, in weight or volume

 a description of the material/ animal source

 catalogue number and price (if available)

 additives (e.g., sodium azide, glycerol), their source (e.g., whole serum, supernatant, ascites), and purification, if any.

 protocols  the recommended protocol or datasheet indicating any unique fixation, detergent, blocking, or incubation conditions.

 the intended use (commercial/ manufacturing; research/ testing)

 the name and address of the shipper

 the name and address of the receiver

Commercially packaged, ready-to-use In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) containing products of animal of origin, do not require a Vet-inspection, if compliant with Directive 98/79/EC on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices. A declaration of conformity (CE-marking) must be provided for each individual commodity (e.g. reagents, test kits, immunosorbent assays such as ELISA kits).

A certificate of origin is not required for the import clearance of textiles. The need of a certificate of origin for the import clearance was reversed on October 24, 2011.

The country or territory of origin must be stated on the invoice for each invoice line. If the customs authorities doubt the correctness of the declared country or territory of origin they may request an additional proof which might be a certificate of origin.

Import licenses apply only if origin of textiles is Belarus, or Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea).

Data shipments require an invoice with the character of the USB stick (storing intercompany data) and the value of the USB Stick.
Vitamins are considered medicine if the dosage exceeds considerably the limits based on the recommended daily allowance. For additional information please see Medicine.

Prohibited or Restricted Commodities

In addition to the commodities which UPS prohibits to all countries or territories served (listed here), it is prohibited to ship the following commodities to Germany.

Shipping of alcoholic beverages is only permitted ISC contract service.

The contractual service covers the customs clearance of alcohol at the port of entry where duty, VAT and excise duty must be paid. A customs clearance of alcohol for free circulation with a subsequent transport of alcohol under the excise duty suspension regime is not possible. The customs clearance in Germany and the subsequent transport to another EU member state is not part of the service.

The delivery of spirits or liqueurs to persons under the age of 18 is not allowed. The delivery of other alcoholic beverages to persons under the age of 16 is also not allowed. The shipper or seller is responsible to check the age of the buyer.

Alcoholic beverages are subject to excise duty. Excise duty applies usually on the amount of beverage and the percentage of alcohol. The following information must be shown on the invoice: % alcohol + quantity in Litres + clear description of the product.

Additional rules apply on the import of wine and wine products. Please check under wine.

You may not ship letters with cash value.
Endangered plants and animals protected by the multilateral treaty of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), must be accompanied by a valid CITES Certificate.

All import, export, re-export and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention has to be authorized through a licensing system.

Shipper needs to provide the following documentation:

Invoice with the scientific name and CITES certificate.

Additional charges will be applicable. Products of animals or plants subject to CITES can only be accepted under a special contract for International Special Commodities (ISC).

Electronic Cigarettes can only be shipped with an International Special Commodities (ISC) contract.

UPS provides International Dangerous Goods service for shipments between the U.S. and selected countries or territories by contract only.

Accessorial charges of US$40.00 apply as follows:

  • Hazardous Materials Class 9 (HAZ)
  • Hazardous Materials All Other Classes (HAN)
  • Customs may inspect or restrict shipments of switchblades and long blades. Some knives are defined as weapons by German Weapons Law and could require an Import License. Contact the Brokerage Department for further information.
    Shipments of Lithium Metal Batteries are prohibited on Emirates Airlines flights which UPS uses to this destination country or territory from various origins.

    Alternative arrangements are in place, but expect transit delays if the normal planned flow of the package is via Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Time in Transit may be extended due to solution found

    In addition to general guidelines under general restrictions to all countries or territories link, shipment of all vertebrates (Amphibians, Fish, and Reptiles  with exception to Live Ornamental Fish) are prohibited between the countries or territories selected. For more details, please contact your ISC Coordinator.
    According to the customs legislation, living plants, parts of plants, fruits, nuts, vegetables and seeds are considered to be plants. A Phytosanitary Certificate must accompany restricted plants.

    Phytosanitary Certificates are only accepted by German authorities when the issuing authority of the export country or territory includes complete and all necessary information in the Certificate. An inspection is required by the Health Department and additional charges will apply.

    Certain plants which are also classified as food (for example, fruits, nuts, spices) are subject to additional restrictions. For further information please see 'Food'. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires, prior to exportation, a Phytosanitary inspection for certain plants, parts of plants, or seeds. This inspection may incur an additional cost.

    Plants mentioned in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), for example, must be accompanied by a valid CITES Certificate.

    The European Union (EU) has implemented specific conditions and detailed procedures for the import of plastic kitchenware (HS-Code 3924 1000 11) made of polyamide and melamine and originated in or consigned from China or Hong Kong (regulation 284/2011). Tableware (for example, plates, flatware, cups) are excluded from the restrictions. The reason for the new regulation were notifications and alerts by the European 'Rapid Alert System'- kitchen tableware was recognized which exceed the thresholds of aromatic amines and formaldehyde released into food.

    Based on the regulation, controls must be performed at the point of introduction into the EU by the competent authorities. They include documentary checks on all consignments and identity or physical checks (including laboratory checks) on 10% of the consignments. All consignments of kitchen tableware (HS code 3924 1000) originated or consigned from China or Hong Kong must be accompanied by a declaration confirming that it meets the requirements concerning the release of primary aromatic amines and formaldehyde. The declaration shall be accompanied by a laboratory report that the consignments fulfill the requirements.

    The goods and declaration must be examined at the first point of introduction into the EU.

    The consignments shall be notified at the first point of introduction at least two working days in advance.

    Our main points of entry (Cologne, Germany and East Midlands, United Kingdom) are not competent to perform the checks and forwarding under bond is prohibited without the checks. Products covered by the new regulation and destined to the EU can't be accepted by UPS. Exporters should clearly state on the invoice the material and the country or territory of origin of plastic kitchenware to avoid holds on commodities not subject to the regulation.

    Products made in Iran are prohibited in our service due to a current embargo.
    Tea from China

    According to EU regulation 2009/669/EC, tea from China is subject to increased level of official controls due to contamination risks of these products by aflatoxinson and pathogens. These controls are carried out at Designated Point of Entries (DPE) defined by each member state. The customs office responsible for our import sites are not defined as DPE. Commodities subject to import controls at a DPE cant be imported with UPS. Please also see "Food" in "Commodity Specific Stipulations" below.

    All tobacco products are subject to excise duty. The import of tobacco products can only be accepted on a contractual base. The exact quantity of tobacco products has to be stated on the invoice.

    For commercial importation of tobacco products, excise duty has to be paid prior to import. With paying the excise duty the importer gets the tax stamps. The tax stamps have to be affixed to the products in the export country or territory.

    Smokeless tobacco ("Snus") - The commercial import of "snus" is forbidden in the whole of the EU, with the exception of Sweden.

    Wine and wine products are subject to excise duty. The excise duty is calculated based on the alcoholic strength by volume. The following information must be shown on the invoice : % alcohol + quantity in Litres + clear description of the product.

    The import of wine and wine products is also regulated by a market organization of the European Union with rules on labelling and presentation of wine and additional documentation. The Importation of wine and wine products are subject to the presentation of a:

    Certificate showing drawn up by a competent body, included on a list to be made public by the Commission, in the products country or territory of origin.

    An analysis report drawn up by a body or department designated by the products country or territory of origin, in so far as the product is intended for direct human consumption.

    No certificate or analysis report need be presented for products originating in and exported from third countries or territories in labelled containers of not more than five litres fitted with a non-reusable closing device where the total quantity transported, whether or not made up of separate consignments, does not exceed 100 litres.

    The labels of wine and wine products have to show some the following compulsory particulars like the category of the product (e.g. wine, sparkling wine, liquor wine), the protected designation or protected geographical indication if the wine has such a protection, the actual alcohol strength by volume, an indication of provenance, an indication of the bottler or an indication of the producer or vendor in case of sparkling wine and other product categories of sparkling wine.

    The rules are laid down in EU regulation 2009/491. The regulation can be checked on the EU website http://eur-lex.europa.eu/homepage.html


    NOTE: Information provided by UPS is provided AS IS, may not be current, and does not constitute legal advice. In no event shall UPS be liable for any errors in the information, forms or features made available by UPS, or by any third party site linked to from UPS. Selection and completion of proper forms for any given shipment is the sole responsibility of the shipper. All shipments are subject to the UPS Terms and Conditions of Service in effect at the time of shipping for the country or territory of origin.
    Close Window