Customs Controls When Purchasing Goods from the UK

Following the UK's exit from the EU earlier this year and the end of the Brexit transition period on 31st December 2020, Customs controls will apply when purchasing goods from the UK. Under the Brexit agreement, no customs duties will have to be paid if the good purchased from the UK is originated in the UK. VAT will apply on all goods purchased from the UK. Read Customs latest update.

When you buy a product from a non-EU country, then effectively you become an importer and become liable to Customs and Excise Duty as well as Value Added Tax (VAT) payments. If the terms of sale do not specify another arrangement, the goods would normally be held by the Customs Authority at entry, pending the payment of duty and tax.

Customs officers examine packages arriving from outside the EU in order to:

  • Check for prohibited or restricted goods,
  • Confirm that the description and value stated on the Customs Declaration is correct and
  • Check the Customs Declaration to determine if Customs Duty, Excise Duty and/or Import VAT are chargeable.
  • Submit your Customs Declaration Online

We have now simplified the process for all our customers by introducing a new facility to declare items purchased from outside the EU online. To submit a declaration, you just need to follow the below simple steps:

  • Visit, enter the tracking number in the space provided and click the 'Declare Items Button'
  • Insert and confirm your email address
  • Go to your inbox, find an email with the link that will prompt you to the Declaration page
  • Complete the details and upload the requested documentation

The process is explained in this Tutorial Video.


Pay Customs Clearance Charges Online

Witheld items will be released from Customs after receiving payment and delivered to customers on the next working day.

To pay online you just need to visit and enter the tracking number in the space provided. Please wait for the parcel details to be loaded, click on the Pay Charges button and proceed as instructed. The process is explained in this Tutorial Video.


Important information

Customs duty

On the basis of the data provided in the customs declaration, the supporting documents that accompany it and any information which they may request, the competent customs officers determine, impose and collect Customs duties that are due.

Customs duty is calculated as a percentage of the customs value of the goods:

  • The percentage or rate varies depending on the type of goods. You can check the tariff applicable in the TARIC database.
  • The customs value is made up of the price paid for the goods, the insurance cost and the shipping cost.
  • In some cases additional duties may be charged, depending on the country of manufacture of the goods. The TARIC database coves all measures relating to tariff, commercial and agricultural legislation.

Customs Duty is not due for goods, provided directly to the buyer when their value does not exceed 150 Euros. This exception does not apply to perfumes and toilet waters, tobacco or tobacco products and alcoholic products which are subject to special limits on the quantity provided.


The import VAT is calculated as a percentage (VAT rate) of the taxable amount.

  • The VAT rate is the one applicable in the country (i.e. Malta) where the goods are being delivered.
  • The taxable amount is made up of the customs value + the duty paid and the transportation and insurance costs up to the first place of destination within the EU.

VAT  is not due when the total value of all goods in a consignment (value not inclusive of customs duties or transport costs) is less than a threshold. This exception does not apply to tobacco or tobacco products and alcoholic products.

The import VAT may either be included into the overall delivery price or not.

  • If the import VAT is not included in the price paid to the seller (which is the common situation), you will have to pay it to the postal company or express courier, or directly to the customs if you clear the goods at customs yourself
  • If you pay all inclusive, you will be paying import VAT to the seller when paying the total price. But if the import VAT is not properly estimated by the seller, or if the seller fails to ensure the transfer of this VAT amount to the customs, you must be aware that national legislation can hold you jointly liable.

Excise duty

The goods will be held by the Malta Customs Authority at entry into your country, pending the payment of excise duty. The Rates of excise duty are set by each individual Member State. Cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco must bear health warnings and fiscal marks, and containers of spirits that are larger than 35cl must bear a duty stamp.

The Customs Declaration

The Customs Declaration provides information to the Customs authorities about the goods that you are importing.

This declaration must be submitted by a person established in the EU or his representative who is able to present the goods to customs. In the ordinary case this could be the buyer, the company that ships the goods or the carrier who acts as a representative.

If you are the person who submits the Customs Declaration, a courier company may offer to make the declaration on your behalf, but there is normally a charge for this service.

If you are not the person who submits the Customs Declaration, you should verify with the supplier that it is submitted.

The Customs Declaration should indicate correctly the nature of the goods and their value not taking into account taxes, charges, transport or other additional costs.

Some commercial websites will offer to show a value on the Customs Declaration that is much lower than the actual price paid so that the customer does not have to pay duty and/or VAT when the goods enter the Member State of import. It is in the customer's own interest to make sure that the declaration has been submitted and is accurate. If no declaration is made, or the information in it was found to be inaccurate, the acceptance of the declaration, and thus the delivery of the package to the receiver may be delayed or even not take place as the Customs officials are entitled to make further enquiries and impose penalties and sanctions as the case may be. The packages sent by post have to be accompanied by a CN22 or CN23 Declaration, as required by the special rules of the universal postal service.

The Customs Authority in Malta is entitled to open and examine any package if it considers this appropriate. Packages might even be seized by Customs and, when appropriate, destroyed.

Customs clearance fees

The customs clearance is the documented permission to pass that the national customs authority grants to the imported goods. When goods are brought into the European Union by postal operators such additional charges are limited to the costs of the customs clearance procedure.  

This fee is of:

€5 for packages having items with a total value between €22.01 to €99.99
€7 for packages having items with a total value between €100 to €149.99
€10 for packages having items with a total value between €150 to €419.99
€16 for packages having items with a total value between €420 to €799.99
€18 for packages having items with a total value worth more than €800.00

Whenever a formal declaration processed through the National Import System is requested by Customs, this fee is of:
€16 for packages having items with a total value between €22 to €799.99
€18 for packages having items with a total value worth more than €800.00

Note: The Island of Heligoland, the territories of Büsingen, Ceuta, Melilla, Livigno, Campione d'Italia and the Italian waters of Lake Lugano are subject to the same rules as non-EU countries.