Buying from US and shipping to Germany or near by countries

Hi guys,
I've just moved to Berlin and will stay here for a few months. What are the options for shipping US goods to Germany? There are quite a few mail forwarding companies out there, any recommendation?

What are you trying to ship?

Just some simple stuffs like clothing, electronic. I found couple companies like My US (, Via address (  Via box (via etc...and also a new company call Planet Express ( and their rate is much cheaper than any one out there.
I'm just trying to see if anyone has any experience or recommend company?

Please note that, depending on what kind of goods is shipped into the EU from abroad, various rates of customs and import duties will be charged from the receiver (before the shipment is released to him/her). This can be up to 30% of the value.
In any case, 19% GST (MWSt) will be charged, unless the shipment is below the minimum amount of EUR23 to 45 (again depending on what is shipped).
You should select a forwarder who knows the (very complicated) customs and import regulations and can explain them to you. Just selecting the cheapest will end up being more expensive!

Thank you everyone. Yes, I did my home work and so far, with cheaper postage vs other forwarder, I like my saving a lot. I spoke with some manager at Planet Express, they sent the rate for example and it is around 50% cheaper than anyone out there. I will test them and let everyone know.

Like Beppi mentioned, one of the bigger costs might be customs duties. Used cloths in general can probably be declared as having a much lower value than their purchase price unless they are expensive brands or designer cloths; same with books. Any electronics that need to be plugged in (rather than battery operated) are questionable since Germany uses 220 volts with a different type of plug than the USA. Converters exist but also cost and then waste energy in the transfer

Yes, but those are small inconvenience. I'd be saving much more on the laptop I was purchasing. I decided to buy a Mac book pro, after shipping and fee, I'm still saving around $220.
My package from Planet Express should be arriving this week. Let's see how they do. I will keep everyone posted.

Even after adding potential customs duties,and 19% German GST (which the customs office will charge you before releasing the shipment) you still save $220? Wow!
Please let us know in the end if all worked out!

Some update here. I got the package, my macbook arrived like the tracking of DHL stated. After tax and duty my saving is not $220 but I still save $142 and some change.
My experience with Planet Express is pretty good, they are responsive to my email and question. Package arrived in greater condition than I would expect. I would use them again if I want to shop for something else in the future. Overall, I picked them is because of their price cheaper than other companies, but their customer service seems to be very good and friendly.

Thanks for sharing!

And now the other way round... Is anyone of you familiar with the German Packaging Act? … o-germany/ When shipping to Germany, am I always obliged to license my packaging material? And can I do that at the post office?

Licensing packaging materials?!? I have never heard of that and I don't think so.

Are you a retailer shipping commercially?

beppi wrote:

Licensing packaging materials?!? I have never heard of that and I don't think so.

It's like a recycling fee paid by those who ship goods commercially, not applicable to the occasional Christmas or birthday parcel sent by a family member or friend.

I wouldn't say that I'm a retailer, I rather ship occasionally some handmade stuff that I sell online. I found online though that etsy/ebay/amazon/... users are obliged to license their packaging material too: … -shipping/ I am quite confused as you might realize  :unsure

Retailer or wholesaler, you are buying and reselling things. This is a business and not just personal use. Whether one does it online or otherwise is irrelevant.

If you are a professional seller, things might well be different from private shipments (where no such requirements exist). But I am afraid that is out of the scope of this forum (which is for expats). Perhaps you can ask a forwarding company like DHL?

Yes, right. I just messaged (the page with the article), I think they'll be able to help me.

Thanks for your help, guys!