Italy Flag Italy

Country Overview

Business Culture

Clothing Size Guides


Cost of Living

Culture and Society


Driving and Autos

Economy and Trade


Educational Resources


Export Process

Food Culture and Drink



Health and Medical


Holidays and Festivals

Import Process


Kids' Stuff


Life Stages


Media Outlets

Money and Banking



National Symbols

Points of Interest

Quality of Life

Real Estate


Security Briefing

Social Indicators

Travel Essentials

Import: Basic Process

Italy is a member state of the European Union (EU), a political and customs union that harmonizes and standardizes most customs procedures among its members. Much of the following process, therefore, is the same for all EU member states. Any country-specific procedures are noted. The following process applies to articles being imported from third countries outside the EU. Movement of articles across EU member states is largely free and unregulated.

Customs Entry

The customs authority in Italy is known as the Customs and Monopoly Agency (Agenzia Dogane e Monopoli or ADM) (

Documentation Package

There are two main documents necessary to import articles into the EU: Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) and Single Administrative Document (SAD). The SAD must be submitted together with other required documentation, as specified below in the Import Documentation section.

Entry Summary Declaration (ENS)
The carrier is responsible for submitting an ENS to the customs office of first entry (OoFE) of a shipment into the EU. The ENS must be submitted electronically via the Italian Import Control System (ICS). A third party (such as the importer or a freight forwarder) may file the ENS with the knowledge and contractual consent of the carrier, but must include the carrier’s EORI in the submission as well as its own EORI. Ultimately the carrier is held responsible for submission. The customs OoFE may waive the lodging of an ENS in respect of articles for which an electronic customs declaration is lodged within the deadlines for an ENS, provided the customs declaration contains the particulars of an ENS. There are also specific exemptions to the filing requirement of an ENS.

Upon filing and validation of an ENS, a unique 18-digit alpha-numeric reference number, called a Movement Reference Number (MRN), is automatically assigned by the customs OoFE to the entity that lodged the ENS and, if different, to the carrier.

An ENS is not required for:

  • Electrical energy
  • Articles entering by pipeline
  • Articles covered by ATA (Admission Temporaire) or CPD (Carnet de Passage en Douane) carnet
  • Articles for which an oral customs declaration is permitted

Single Administrative Document (SAD)
The importer or its representative is responsible for declaring all articles being imported into the EU on a SAD. It can be submitted electronically (see Electronic Filing below) or manually. The SAD and all accompanying documents are submitted to the relevant customs office when the EU OoFE is located in Italy. The SAD must be drafted in one of the official languages of the EU that is acceptable to Italian Customs.

In the EU, there are two simplified customs procedures available to traders: Simplified Declaration Procedure (SDP) and Local Clearance Procedure (LCP).

Documentation Review

Customs reviews the documentation to check for:

  • Authority of the entity to import
  • Consistency of information across documents
  • Legality of the proposed import
  • Proper product classification and valuation

Customs also:

  • Establishes whether to order an inspection of the shipment
  • Computes duties, taxes, and other fees
  • Refers documentation to other governmental agencies for imports of controlled products
  • Establishes any special requirements for final clearance of the shipment

Customs Entries

The following are the customs entries authorized by EU law:
Release for Free Circulation (Consumption Entry)
Articles are released from customs custody for immediate sale or use within the country.
Transit Entry
The consignee is granted permission to transport a shipment between customs offices in different EU countries solely for the purpose of export to a non-EU country.
Warehouse Entry
The consignee is granted permission to transfer a shipment to a customs bonded warehouse where it is stored without payment of import duties and taxes until it is released for free circulation (consumption) or re-exported.
Inward Processing Entry
Articles are imported into the EU, without being subject to duties and taxes, to be processed under customs control and then re-exported out of the EU. If the finished products are not finally exported, they become subject to the applicable duties, taxes, and other import formalities.
Temporary Entry
The consignee is granted permission to import articles on a temporary basis without the payment of duties and taxes provided they are intended for re-export without undergoing any change. Examples include sales samples, race cars for temporary use in a specific event, motion picture cameras for temporary use in the making of a specific film, etc. A bond is usually required to ensure that goods are either exported or that duties and taxes are paid. The maximum period for temporary import in the EU is two years.
Free Zone Entry
The consignee is granted permission to transfer a shipment into a special area within EU customs territory, called a free zone, without payment of duties or taxes until the shipment is either released for free circulation (consumption) or re-exported. Under this entry, articles may undergo simple operations such as processing and re-packing.

Most importers engage the services of a logistics firm or a customs broker to handle import documentation and procedures. (See the Special Provisions page for more information.)

Time to File

Entry Summary Declaration (ENS)
The ENS must be submitted within the following timeframes:

  • Containerized maritime cargo: At least 24 hours before commencement of loading in each foreign load port
  • Bulk/break bulk maritime cargo: At least four hours before arrival at the first EU port
  • Short sea shipping: At least two hours before arrival at the first EU port
  • Short-haul flights (less than two hours in duration): At least by the time of takeoff of the aircraft
  • Long-haul flights (two hours or more in duration): At least four hours before arrival at the first EU airport
  • Rail and inland waterways: At least two hours before arrival at the EU customs office of entry
  • Road traffic: At least one hour before arrival at the EU customs office of entry

Single Administrative Document (SAD)
An importer may submit the SAD prior to the shipment’s arrival and presentation to customs but is not required to do so.

Electronic Filing

Entry Summary Declaration (ENS)
The ENS must be submitted electronically through the ICS of the relevant member state. No EU-wide ICS exists. In Italy, the ICS is accessed using the web-based Digital Customs Service (EDI) at Registration for the Italian EDI is available online using the Customs Telematic Service (Servizio Telematico Doganale) at The ICS is used for:

  • The lodging, handling, and processing of an ENS in advance of the arrival of a shipment
  • Safety and security risk analysis and the exchange of results between member states
  • The handling of international diversions
  • The issuance of a MRN to the carrier/importer

Single Administrative Document (SAD)
The customs declaration (SAD) may be submitted to customs electronically using the EDI, but electronic filing is not required.

Import License, Clearance, Permit

As a general rule, all kinds of imported articles are allowed into the EU. Some restricted articles, however, require an import license, clearance, or permit. Any required license, clearance, or permit should be submitted together with the SAD. (See the Restricted and Prohibited page.)

Tariff Regimes

All EU member states use the standard tariff system known as the Combined Nomenclature (CN), which is based on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System or HS). Used by more than 180 countries, the HS is an internationally standardized system of names and numbers for classifying traded products, setting and collecting trade tariffs, guiding tax policy, establishing rules of origin, and collecting data on virtually every aspect of global trade, including quotas, pricing, and transport statistics. The HS is maintained by the World Customs Organization or WCO (, which updates it every five years with the most recent version taking effect in 2022. Companies that engage in international trade are responsible for making necessary updates and using the correct HS code to label their products for shipping. WCO Trade Tools ( provides an up-to-date HS database.

Additionally, Italy is a signatory to a number of trade agreements that provide for reduced-duty or duty-free import of certain articles from certain countries. Some of the major trade agreements include:

For a list of trade agreements to which Italy is a party, see the Trade Agreements page.

Import Documentation

All imports of physical articles require the following basic documentation:

  • Entry Summary Declaration (ENS)
  • Single Administrative Document (SAD)
  • Certificate of Origin (CoO)
  • Commercial Invoice (CI)
  • Freight Document: Bill of Lading (B/L), Airway Bill (AWB), Rail Waybill, Road Waybill
  • Packing List (P/L)

Some imports may require specialized documentation:

  • Customs Value Declaration (Form DV 1) (required for articles valued over €10,000)
  • Insurance Document
  • Health Certificate
  • Phytosanitary Certificate
  • Import Licenses, Permits, Certifications
  • Documents as may be required by the terms of a bank letter of credit (L/C) or documents against payment (D/P) provision

Restricted and Prohibited Articles

The import of restricted and prohibited articles may require an import license or clearance from the Italian governmental agency that regulates that article. Importers can visit the Integrated Tariff of the European Communities (TARif Intégré Communautaire), known as the TARIC database, for EU-wide regulations that apply to imports.

Restricted articles include certain arms and armaments, certain technology products, plants, animals, food products, natural resource products, currency, and radioactive materials. A certificate of exemption may be obtained for certain prohibited, banned, or controlled articles. Prohibited articles include certain plants and animals, especially those of endangered species. See the Restricted and Prohibited page for further information.


Upon submission of the ENS, the ICS automatically identifies articles that require documentary and/or physical inspection. This security risk analysis is based on EU-wide risk profiles. If the customs OoFE identifies any risks, it transmits the risk information via the ICS to all subsequent customs offices in the EU that are declared on the ENS. This transmission of the risk information allows for customs control to take place upon arrival at the first point of entry (risk type B) or upon scheduled discharge (risk type C) of the articles deemed to create a risk. For containerized maritime cargo a “do not load” message (risk type A) may be issued until the security risk is resolved.

Imported articles may be subject to inspection when:

  • The seal on the shipping container has been tampered with
  • The container is leaking
  • The shipment’s details in the shipping documents differ from that in the manifest
  • An alert or a hold order has been put on the shipment

Customs may also perform random spot inspections.

Payment of Duties and Taxes

Most customs duties and value-added tax (VAT) are expressed on an ad valorem basis (i.e., as a percentage of the value of the articles being imported). Customs authorities define the value of merchandise for customs purposes based on its commercial value at the point of entry into the EU: the purchase price plus delivery costs up to the point where the articles enter the EU customs territory. This value does not always equal the price stated on the sales contract and may be subject to specific adjustments. All assessed duties, taxes, and fees must be paid or secured to be paid before a shipment will be released to the importer. (See the Duties and Taxes page for detailed information.)

Clearance and Release of Shipment

Once any necessary inspection is completed, all duties, taxes, and other fees are paid, and no discrepancies or problems arise with the ENS, SAD, or the imported shipment, customs releases the shipment to the importer.

Import Support

For more information, contact the European Commission using their online contact form at or Italian Customs and Monopoly Agency using their electronic form available at

Note: The above information is subject to change. Importers are advised to obtain the most current information from a customs broker, freight forwarder, logistics professional, or the local customs authorities.

Sources: European Commission (; Italian Customs and Monopoly Agency (Agenzia Dogane e Monopoli or ADM) (