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Duty Free


If you bring in goods on which tax has been paid in an EU country, you do not have to pay any tax or duty on them in the UK. However any alcohol or tobacco you bring in must be for your own use and transported by you.

Own use’ includes goods for your own consumption and gifts. If you bring in goods for resale, or for any payment, even payment kind, they are regarded as being for a commercial purpose.

But there are special rules for cigarettes and some tobacco products from some EU countries.

The EU Countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus*, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, The Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (but not the Canary Islands), Sweden, The UK (but not the Channel Islands).

Though the whole of Cyprus is part of the EU, goods from any area of Cyprus not under effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus are treated as non-EU imports.

Although Gibraltar is part of the EU, it is outside the Community Customs territory. The Customs allowances for outside the EU therefore apply.


Alcohol or tobacco

If you are bringing in alcohol or tobacco goods and we have reason to suspect they may be for a commercial purpose, a Customs officer may ask you questions and make checks, for example about:

* the type and quantity of goods you have bought
* why you bought them
* how you paid for them
* whether all your goods are openly displayed or concealed
* how often you travel
* how much you normally smoke or drink or
* any other relevant circumstances.

You are particularly likely to be asked questions if you have more than:

3200 cigarettes, 200 cigars, 400 cigarillos, 3kg tobacco, 110 litres of beer, 90 litres of wine, 10 litres of spirits, 20 litres of fortified wine (such as port or sherry).

The officer will take into account all the factors of the situation and your explanation.

If we are satisfied that the goods are for a commercial purpose we may seize them and any vehicle used to transport them, and may not return them to you.

If you are caught selling alcohol or tobacco goods they may be seized, and for a serious offence you could get up to seven years in prison.

The country where you buy tobacco goods may have its own laws on how much you can buy or have in your possession, and what documents you need. If in doubt, check with that country’s authorities before you buy.

If you let a coach, ferry or aircraft store your goods while travelling back to the UK you must make sure when you arrive in the UK that you collect the exact goods you bought.

From some EU countries there are limits on the amount of tobacco products you can bring back without paying UK duty.

From CZECH REPUBLIC - 200 cigarettes or 250g of smoking tobacco or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos

From ESTONIA - 200 cigarettes or 250g of smoking tobacco*


*No limit on other tobacco products as long as they are for your own use.

If you have tobacco products over these limits you should speak to a Customs officer in the red channel or on the red point phone.

Source : HM Revenue & Customs