You want to send goods abroad? Then it is of great relevance whether the destination country is inside or outside the EU.

This is because the shipment of goods within the EU is duty-free, so that no declaration to customs is necessary. If your shipment is to be exported to a country that is not an EU member state or an EU exception, it is always liable to customs duty.

We have summarised what you need to pay attention to so that your shipment can pass through customs smoothly during export.


When exporting to a non-EU country, certain documents must be attached to a consignment of goods by the shipper.

These depend on the content of the shipment, the value of the goods and the country of destination.

Tip: You can easily submit these customs accompanying documents online using the free service DHL Paperless Trade.

Each export shipment must be accompanied by certain documents for export customs clearance.

  • Up to 1,000 EUR shipment value (oral/concludent export declaration):
    Commercial or proforma invoice (original and 3 copies)
  • Between 1,000 and 3,000 EUR shipment value (electronic export procedure):
    Commercial or pro forma invoice (original and 3 copies) and electronic export declaration (preliminary entry in a one-step procedure)
  • Over 3,000 EUR shipment value (electronic export procedure):
    Commercial or pro forma invoice (original and 3 copies) and export accompanying document
  • Goods subject to special surveillance (electronic export procedure):
    Commercial or pro forma invoice (original and 3 copies) and export accompanying document and, where appropriate, export licence or other accompanying documents
  • With DHL Paperless Trade (PLT), you can also send the required accompanying documents online to DHL Express without having to print them out and attach them to the shipment.

Export consignments whose value exceeds EUR 1,000 or weight exceeds 1,000 kg must be declared to customs electronically. We recommend that electronic declarations are always made in a two-stage procedure.

  • Use our AES declaration service or create the declaration yourself using your own ATLAS software or free of charge using the Internet Export Declaration Plus (IAA+)
  • Up to EUR 3,000 consignment value in single-stage procedure directly at the customs office of exit where the consignment is exported. You hand over the MRN of your customs declaration.
  • The two-stage procedure is mandatory for all goods subject to special surveillance (e.g. goods subject to export authorisation)
  • From 3,000 EUR shipment value in a two-stage procedure at your local export customs office. After release you hand over the export accompanying document to us
  • After your shipment has been exported, you will receive an exit note via your ATLAS or IAA+ as proof for your documents.

Export consignments whose value does not exceed EUR 1,000 or weight 1,000 kg may be declared orally/concludent to customs.

  • Registration by DHL Express directly at the export customs office where the shipment is exported. You hand over the commercial or pro forma invoice to us
  • The values of individual DHL shipments must be added together (even across days) if they are part of an export contract. As a result, they may exceed the limit of 1,000 EUR/1,000 kg and an electronic export declaration is required
  • Goods that are subject to special surveillance (e.g. goods subject to export authorisation) must be declared in a two-stage electronic procedure, irrespective of the value of the consignment
  • After your shipment has been exported, you will receive an export certificate for VAT purposes by Email as proof of export for your records.

The AES (Automated Export Declaration Service) offers the possibility of having the registration of international Time Definite Export shipments in ATLAS carried out competently and reliably via DHL Express.

If you have any questions, our AES Service Desk will be happy to help you:

Tel. +49 (0) 203-348 599 45 (Mon-Thu: 08:30 - 17:00, Fri: 8:30 - 16:00, except on public holidays)

EUR 0.14 per minute or part thereof from German fixed networks; a maximum of EUR 0.42 per minute or part thereof from German mobile networks

Preferential agreements exist between the EU and many countries, which allow duty-free or preferential import for certain goods produced in the EU.

  • Proof by means of preferential certificates of origin (e.g. EUR.1, EUR-MED, A.TR) or origin declarations on the invoice, which must accompany the consignment as original document
  • Please check your options via the portal "Origin of Goods and Preferences Online" of the German customs

For some goods, non-preferential certificates of origin are required by the recipient, e.g. due to import restrictions or as proof of origin for resale.

  • For further information please contact your responsible chamber of commerce

Some goods are subject to special export controls and may or may not require an export licence or are not exportable.

  • Prohibitions and restrictions for certain goods, e.g. species-protected animals & plants, narcotics, weapons
  • Trade policy measures in the form of sanctions and embargoes against certain countries and persons, e.g. Iran, Syria, North Korea, Taliban. 


All goods can move freely within the EU, irrespective of whether they were manufactured in the EU or imported from non-EU countries and customs cleared for free circulation.

Europe as a continent comprises about 50 countries, but only 27 belong to the European Union. All European countries outside the 27 EU states are considered as non-EU countries.

  • Free movement of goods only between EU countries
  • Free trade zone EFTA (Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland), but no free movement of goods
  • Customs union with Turkey, San Marino and Andorra, but no free movement of goods