Shipping & Mail Forwarding to Italy

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Clearance Process
Working with Customs officials throughout the world, FedEx has developed innovative technology to eliminate many paperwork-handling steps and expedite the movement of international shipments. This is FedEx Expressclear electronic Customs clearance system. Starting at the origin, state-of-the-art technology allows the processing of shipment paperwork and electronic transmission of documents to the designated FedEx hub and destination clearance location. The Expressclear system also keeps a database of regulatory information, which includes importers numbers, broker, designation, corporate contact names and telephone numbers. At the FedEx hub, international shipments are sorted, scanned and loaded onto an international flight. Vital shipment information is keyed into a worldwide manifest database, which is linked to computer system operated by brokers and Customs officials in many countries. Even before the plane has taken off, or while it is in the air, Customs agents and brokers at the destination airport of entry can begin examining shipping manifests, querying air waybill data if they need more details, assessing duties and taxes and selecting which shipments they wish to examine. By the time the plane arrives at the destination, many packages have already been cleared. As the plane is unloaded, the Expressclear system identifies packages to be examined and prints "cleared" Customs labels for all others. Cleared shipments can be transferred by trucks for immediate delivery. International shipments are scanned at all key points throughout the process, which allows for up-to-date status reports including Customs Clearance obtained.

There are three primary entry types for importing into Italy:

Standard clearance procedure (PN)
Simplified clearance procedure (PS)
Simplified declaration procedure (ES)

The first two procedures apply to all shipments regardless of value; the third one applies to shipments of commercial samples below EU 45 and/or to negligible value shipments below EU 22 and provides Duty and Tax relief.

Tobacco, drugs, medicines, weapons and their parts, strategic materials and their parts, CITES commodities, alcohol and all other licensable commodities cannot be processed under ES procedure.

When a shipment reaches Italy, FedEx will either advise the importer's broker or file entry release documents on behalf of the importer of record (owner, purchaser or consignee) with Italian Customs at the point of entry. Imported goods are not legally entered until after the shipment has been released by Italian Customs. Italian Customs may pull any shipment at any time for review or investigation, which could result in clearance/delivery delays. NOTE: In addition to the Customs Department, importers should contact other agencies when questions regarding particular commodities arise. For example, questions about CITES products should be forwarded to CFS Cites Office (Forestry Police Cites Office), or questions about medicines should be forwarded to the Border Sanitary Office at the point of entry.

The Importer of Record or a licensed Customs Broker may account for goods. According to the Importer of Record's profile FedEx GTS Italy will either provide notification upon arrival of shipments to the Importer's designated Customs Broker or clear and advance payment of any duties and taxes levied for the shipments on behalf of the importer.

Note: The Customs (entry and payment processing) account can be established at any customs office and by the importer himself for his shipments or by FedEx for all its customers. Currently only FedEx's account is being used. An air waybill may be used for qualifying Simplified Declaration Procedure (ES) merchandise (samples and low value shipments) arriving by air, but all other merchandise must be presented with a commercial invoice that contains all the data requirements of Italian Customs Department.

Accounting is a two part process for PS consisting of (1) filing the release documents and (2) filling the entry documents for final accounting with Customs Dept. Accounting for PN is a one part process where filing for release and final filing correspond.

PS and PN release requires the submission of the following documents:

  1. Bill of Lading, air waybill or manifest
  2. Commercial invoice or pro forma invoice that provides all data requirements per Customs Department regulations
  3. Packing lists, if appropriate
  4. Any other documents necessary to determine merchandise admissibility, such as Import permits, Export Permits, Form A, EUR 1 forms and statements, Certificates of Origin.

ES release requires the submission of the following documents:

  • Bill of Lading
  • Air Waybill
  • Manifest

Import entries must be accounted for immediately for PN and within three business days of the date of release of the shipment for PS. Accounting is achieved by submitting the EU Single Administrative Document (SAD) to customs. This can be accomplished physically or electronically via Customs E.D.I (Electronic Data Interchange) system.
ES are excluded from E.D.I. electronic accomplishment.
Payment of D&T can be completed per agreed schedule (usually once a week).

According to customs regulations it is the importer's responsibility to keep records of all transactions for a period of five years, records are defined as copies of all documentation relevant to any transactions presented to customs; including but not limited to commercial invoices, bills of lading, purchase orders and related correspondence. At any time, Customs or the Finance Department may raise importer compliance issues regarding any one or all transactions. Much of the information that Customs is concerned with is provided with importer's entry documentation.

If it is desired to postpone the release of the goods, they may be placed in FedEx's cage in our bonded warehouse until the documentation has been obtained for appropriate release. If the goods are not released from Customs within 30 days, they are reported to the Customs Office warehouse and abandoned or sent back to the origin at shipper's expense. Storage fees may apply if an outside broker is handling the shipment for clearance; no storage fees apply for FedEx brokered shipments.

Importers shipping into Italy should consult the following Italian agencies for detailed information and guidance:

Agricultural commodities (Animal and Plant products or commodities for Human Consumption) - Ministero Politiche Agricole e Forestali (Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry Policies), Corpo Forestale dello Stato (Forestry Police Dept.), Ministero della Sanita' (Health dept)
Alcoholic Beverages - Ministero delle Finanze ( Finance Dept.)
Arms, Ammunition, Radioactive Materials - Ministero della Difesa (Defense Dept.), Ministero dell'Interno (Domestic Affairs Dept.)
Consumer Products (Energy Conservation and Safety) - Ministero della Sanita', Ministero dell'Industria e del Commercio
Electronic Products - Ministero della Sanita', Ministero dell'Industria e del Commercio
Foods, Drugs, Cosmetics and Medical Device - Ministero della Sanita', Customs Dept.
Gold, Silver, Currency, Stamps - Ministero del Tesoro, Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato
Motor vehicles and boats - Ministero dell'Industria e del Commercio
Pesticides, Toxic and Hazardous Substances - Ministero dell'Ambiente (Environment Dept.)
Textile, Wool and Fur Products - Ministero del Commercio Estero
Trademarks, Trade Names and Copyrights - Ministero del Commercio Estero, Customs Dept.
Wildlife and Pets - Ministero della Sanita', Ministero dell'Ambiente, Customs Dept, CFS
Fine Arts Products - Ministero dei Beni Culturali, Customs Dept.

Document Requirements
Bills of Lading - No special regulations

Consular Invoices - None

Certificates of Origin - Certificates of Origin are required for the importation of any Textile products valued at over 45 Euros. Exceptions from this requirement include marked and mutilated samples; luggage made up of textile materials, Canvas bags, and Bona- fida Gifts, Personal Effects. A Certificate of origin is recommended for every commodity subject to import licensing and /or quota restrictions from some origin countries.

EUR 1 Form Import - An EUR 1 form may be required for goods under formal entry claiming preferential duty or exemption under various bilateral agreements by the European Union countries and participating specific countries or groups of countries. It should be produced at the time of entry and must be in possession of the Importer at the time of entry. Origin of the goods must be detailed on the commercial invoice.

Quotas - Quotas have been assigned by the European Union to specific countries for specific products, which allow for the controlled importation of specific products.

Commercial Invoices - Invoices are required for all dutiable shipments relating to commercial transactions between companies and companies; companies and individuals, regardless of the value. Commercial invoices should show freight, insurance and similar charges as separate items when applicable, regardless of the INCOTERM used on the transaction. It must be in Italian for export shipments or accompanied by a translation. It can be in any official language for import shipments and, if required by customs, must be accompanied by a translation. If requested by Customs an Italian translation must be furnished by a party who is knowledgeable of the transaction.

Specific invoice details are required for a number of commodities including the following:

  • Audio/video cassettes and tapes - the length and width of the tape, a brief synopsis of the content and the reason for exportation;
  • Textiles - the fabric breakdown, whether knit or woven and, for clothing articles, the gender;
  • Marked/mutilated samples - the words "mutilated samples" or " marked samples, not for resale" as applicable;
  • Software on CD's and floppy disks - The value of software must be shown separately from software support.

Dangerous Goods Certification
- Some goods will, in addition to the standard documentation noted above, require DG certification.¬ (i.e. perfumes, liquor, chemicals, etc.)

Air Waybill - An air waybill or carriers certificate (naming the consignee for customs purposes) as evidence of the consignee's right to make entry.

Declaration of Antiquity - A declaration must be shown on the invoice for goods over 100 years old. The statement must include the words "circa date" followed by the year of manufacture whether known or estimated.

Import permits - Permits are required from Ministero del Commercio Estero for the following:

  • Milk and Dairy products
  • Cheese
  • Fish
  • Wheat, Barley and Other grains
  • Vegetables
  • Steel
  • Textiles and Clothing
  • Livestock and animals and parts of
  • Firearms, ammunitions and explosives
  • Waste products
  • Radioactive materials and nuclear reactors

Customs Valuation
All goods categorized, as non-document commercial goods shipped to Italy must have a proper value declared and proper description provided which should convey the shipper's intent related to the goods as well as any special processing requirements that exist for the goods shipped. Everything has a value, whether or not a transaction took place. Failure to properly document value of any goods will result in delays and or additional fees as deemed necessary in addition to warehouse fees.

Import Duties
All merchandise coming into Italy must clear Customs and is subject to customs duty assessment unless the goods are duty or tax exempt by law. Customs duties are, generally, an ad valorem rate (a percentage), which is applied to the transaction value (EU Euro) of the imported goods based on the cost of the goods, insurance, and freight charges. Some articles, however, are dutiable at a specific rate of duty (so much per piece, liter, kilo etc.) and others at a compound rate (combination of both ad valorem and specific rates). The dutiable value of merchandise is determined by the EU Customs code. Several appraisal methods are used to arrive at this value. Generally, the transaction value of the merchandise serves as a basis of appraisal. Transaction value is the price the buyer actually pays the seller for the goods sold and being imported. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of European Union (2002 Edition), issued by Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato, prescribes the rates of duty and classification of merchandise by the type of product; i.e. animal and vegetable products, textile fibers and textile products. The tariff schedule provides several rates of duty for each item.√ā

Below is a summary of the new rules for EU deminimis value that enter into effect December 1, 2008:√ā

  • A commercial shipment below 22 Euros: no duty and no VAT collected.
  • A commercial shipment between 22 Euros and 150 Euros: no duty but VAT is collected.
  • A commercial shipment over 150 Euros: duty and VAT are collected.

Under strict enforcement of unfair trade laws, Customs will assess antidumping duties or countervailing duties. Antidumping duties are assessed on imported merchandise sold in Italy (EU) at less than the normal price of goods in the manufacturer's home market (also called fair market value).

Excise Duties
Excise taxes are accessed against certain commodities, which are normally identified as "luxury" goods. The excise tax is normally assessed against tobacco products, perfumes and alcohol products but can also be accessed against other goods as deemed by Italian regulations.

Additional Duties
Countervailing duties are assessed to counter the effects of subsidies provided by a foreign government for merchandise exported to Italy resulting in artificially low prices that are detrimental to Italian and other European Union member states industries.

Watch Duty Rate
Watches imported into Italy (EU) are subject to duty assessment on a per item basis versus the traditional duty assessment on a set percentage of value declared. The actual duty and the final rate of duty are determined based on the customs classification of the watch at the time of entry processing.

Import Taxes
VAT or value added tax is accessed at a rate of 20% on those shipments that are entered as normal consumption entries in addition to the normal rate of duty.

Customs Fees
Examination Fees
Additional fees can be accessed on some commodities to cover the expense of performing the examinations and or testing required as a condition of the goods entry into the commerce of Italy. Commodities affected: cosmetics, drugs and medicines, artwork.

Exchange Controls

Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT's)
Technical barriers or non-tariff barriers to trade, as they are sometimes known, can cause many problems for exporters looking for new markets for their products. These barriers can be in the form of regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade tries to ensure that these barriers do not create unnecessary obstacles. To obtain further information on Technical Barriers to Trade as well as Notifications on Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures, go to the WTO website at

Consular Fees

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