Custom clearance EU, especially L5


I know we had this here before, but now things are getting more concrete concerning shipment of L5.
So, can anyone of you having received a Purism device (Laptop, Mini, L5, …) describe the process of custom clearance?
Was it shipped via DHL? All done from DHL? Costs?
Or did you have to proactively do something upfront or after shipment (e.g. customs office)?

Thank you in advance.

edit: Since there is only one solution possible, I also want to point you to an explanation how to handle custom clearance on your own as a addition to the marked solution.


Yes, this can be problematic. When I received my Pinephone ordered for 150 EUR (incl. delivery), DHL demanded ~44 EUR (~29 EUR tax + ~15 EUR DHL processing fee) from me.

If the tax is paid in advance though, the processing fee is not needed, like they do now.

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Thanks. Can you please clarify the above copied wording. Thanks again.

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For the current orders, when you order a Pinephone, you pay the tax together with the actual order. The tax is already paid, when DHL works on delivery, so they do not provide the service of paying tax* anymore and do not take the processing fee.

*their own explanation, when I asked about it.


I am talking about Librem 5 and shipment from Purism.


Yes, I understand. Do you expect that DHL distinguishes between different external smartphones when it asks you to pay for their delivery? You simply multiply all my numbers by 4 or 5 (depending on your Librem 5 price) and you obtain what you will probably pay.


This question goes to Purism: As we the EU backers did not paid this tax in the moment of the order in 2017, can it somehow still be added when it comes to delivery to avoid the payment to DHL for the “handling service”, for example by an additional invoice to us before shipping?


You will have to pay the vat and DHL fee, depending on the country you will receive it.
For example, if you are in France, you will have to pay 20% VAT + ~18€ of DHL processing fee.

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Is there a chance to get rid of paying DHL fee by handling clearance on my own?

What is the basis for VAT, etc. because there is a difference between current price and individual price depending on time of order?

It’s possible there is difference per country, but it is based on what you paid, not what the price has since become. If my memory serves, some countries make difference between if they include postage/shipment or not to that total. This should be spelled out in your own government’s site, like customs agencys.

Not as far as I know. Please check with your local DHL office.

The slip attached to your parcel will specify the price you paid when you ordered.
Customs will just have to multiply the amount indicated on the parcel by the VAT rate of your country.

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That is indeed useful information.

Official customs webpage is very confusing and giving only the legal perspective. Real life operation(s) via DHL and also Purism as sender are unknown so far. That changed now. Thank you.

DHL shipping is faster if you are technically-nimble …

a DHL-parcel is shipped by airplane AFAIK.

it leaves the country of origin with certain paperwork attached to it (invoice, waybill, etc.)

when it lands in the country of destination it is stopped just before it reaches customs at the airport (as opposed to how it used to be - the parcel would have reached YOU at the LOCAL post-office/customs-office where you had to do the necessary paperwork while being assisted by an employee). NOW it’s just YOU and the digital-SYSTEM. less and less human-middle-helpers so that is what it is … :weary:

this shipping process is tracked online and CAN be accessed by the user during or after the parcel has landed in the country of destination.

next there are a series of messages (notifications), being sent via different means by DHL/customs to inform the user that their parcel is awaiting processing.

next the contact-person(client) is presented with certain choices in terms of pricing and customs formalities that are required by the authorities to let the parcel move past this DMZ.

the thing is that with this PLANdemic everything got messed-up and convoluted BEYOND the ‘normal’ measure. this means that IF the user wants to avoid doing traveling himself or wasting any amount of time by visiting the LOCAL-customs office (as it was before the PLANdemic) now he has to PAY more and be able to receive/scan/read/decide/print/sign/rescan/send certain documents that the customs-office/DHL requires for initiating the final phase in the shipment process. so less human interaction is required. you can judge that however you want … i know my preference :innocent:

IMO this CURRENT process is a mess and it’s riddled with trespassing on human-rights and presents SIGNIFICANT risks to PERSONAL-DATA-DISCLOSURE to third-parties.

at no point in this process have i seen ANY … encrypted measures being put in place by the authorities … i suppose that goes with the ‘territory’

for my first L-Mini-v1 experience was as expected … i’ll have to see how the v2 delivery goes

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For me, it was very simple in October:

  1. Ordered Librem Mini. They sent it via DHL express.
  2. Got contacted by DHL employee about 2 weeks later. They asked for some papers:
  • screenshot of the order placed
  • proof of payment being made
  • a description of parcel contents
  • permit form me for them to act with customs on my behalf. (for this DHL provided a template)
  1. I sent them all those by e-mail
  2. The same day they asked that I pay the customs fee and tax. I paid over the internet.
  3. The next morning the parcel was at my doorstep.

No additional fees were charged for processing with customs. A truly free shipping. Greetings from Poland.


same here … i just erred on my biases for a while there :wink:

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@Dwaff: Thank you, that was comprehensible. Even though I do not understand that DHL did not invoice any fees. But that is good for you and can surely not be extrapolated.

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2 weeks seems not to be “Express” though :wink:

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I was so surprised that I double and triple checked that, suspecting the processing fees are included in the total, but no. Customs fee and tax only.

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Here be dragons Poland. Time is relative. It was few days to jump across The Pond, and then… Some things are just beyond control.

Still a radical improvement, some of my orders from various sellers are held in customs for months. In one case it was four months, and it took a lawyer and official complaint in administrative court to get it to move.

All in all, the DHL service is the best here.

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I will remember …good to know …when my L5 will be dispatched. Once I had other stuff coming from the US which was returned just because the forwarder failed to give me notice of the arrivel. I will follow Your recomendation and choose DHL :+1:t2: