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Customs support

Ulisse is entitled to represent the CNRS when interacting with French Customs. Calling us for a transportation means benefiting from our solid experience with customs formalities. We determine the most adequate incoterm and the best customs clearance solution in order to optimize your fees. We then assist you with the required procedures and, in some cases, in preventing the goods from being blocked.

Saving money

When you use Ulisse’s services, there is no VAT involved because Ulisse holds a reverse-charge authorization. 

Moreover, we look for the best-suited customs procedure, which can relieve you from having to pay customs duties in some cases:
– for temporary shippings, there are several clearance solutions to be exempt from customs duties (ATA carnet for example)
– for importations of expensive equipment subject to customs duties, we can apply for exemption. This must be studied case by case, depending on the kind of equipment and its “unique” nature for some scientific projects. Final decision is made by the customs office, accepting or declining the exemption.

Working with Ulisse provides you with an immediate treasury gain as well as a simplification of accounting.



Preventing customs blocks

Ulisse provides assistance with the required procedures, which will save you from many unpleasant surprises: indeed, equipment that is not properly cleared is blocked by customs for a potentially long time. In some cases, the equipment may even not be recovered.

The most common situation is that of non-EU equipment purchases. Blockings are very frequent, generate massive delays and may result in the loss of the already paid items! Using Ulisse allows you to avoid these inconveniences. Learn more about non-EU purchases.

Only one thing to keep in mind: anticipate!


Special formalities for dual-use goods

“Dual-use items include goods, equipment – including technology, software, and intangible knowledge – which can be used for both civil and military uses or which may – in whole or in part – contribute to the development, production […] of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons of mass destruction.”

Some equipment and technologies from CNRS can be considered dual-use goods. A few examples: certain drones, GPS beacons, lasers, pathogens, as well as telecommunication technologies.

Ulisse assists CNRS units in the procedures for potential dual-use item identification, export permit application and customs formalities.

For more information: Dual-use items department website (Ministry of Economy)



Ethanol: a particular customs treatment

Ethanol, which is very frequently used for scientific purposes, is regulated for transportation (dangerous goods) as well as customs and tax. Ethanol senders and recipients must follow certain procedures with the appropriate customs.
In this case, Ulisse cannot act on behalf of the laboratory. Here is the procedure to follow: dedicated page on



Radioactive goods

Just like other dangerous goods, Ulisse handles transportation of radioactive goods, from excepted quantities to type-A packages. Example: transportation of sealed sources from the Paris region (IN2P3 laboratory) to Switzerland (CERN).

Customs formalities for these goods differ from the usual process: we are here to guide you through the procedures.

Prior to transportation, we can also provide the adequate packaging. Moreover, the Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor team can assist you in classifying the radioactive item.

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