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UK Customs Allowances


What can I bring back?

You can:

  • Bring back into the UK as much EU duty paid tobacco and alcohol as you like as long as it is for your own use, which includes:

Bringing back goods for your own consumption
Bringing back gifts for family and friends.

You cannot:

Bring back goods for commercial purposes, which includes:

  • Bringing back goods for payment - even payment in kind.
  • Bringing back goods for friends and family if they are paying you, giving you the cost price or paying for some or all of your travel costs.
  • Bringing back goods for re-sale.


If you bring back large quantities of alcohol or tobacco goods and are stopped by Customs you may be asked some basic questions about your trip and purchases and the purposes for which you hold the goods. This particularly applies if you have with you more than the following amounts:

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

These are only guide levels based on European law and Customs do NOT enforce any absolute limits.

What will the Customs Officer ask me?

The questions and checks which the Officer makes could be about:

  • The frequency of your travel
  • The amount and type of goods purchased
  • The reason for purchasing goods
  • The method of payment used
  • Levels of consumption
  • Whether all your goods are openly displayed or concealed.
  • Any other relevant circumstances.

The Officer will take into account all the factors of the situation and your explanation. If you are unable or you refuse to provide a satisfactory explanation the Officer may well conclude that those goods are for commercial purposes and not for your own use.

If the Officer is satisfied the goods are being brought into the UK for a commercial purpose, and are not for own use, the goods, along with any vehicle used to transport them, will be liable to seizure and may not be returned.

Which countries are in the EU?

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


Tobacco Restrictions for eight Member States

From 1 May 2004, the UK is maintaining limits on the amount of cigarettes and some tobacco products that travellers are able to bring in to the UK for own use from eight Member States, without paying UK duty.

The limits are:

  • 200 cigarettes from Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia;
  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco from the Czech Republic; and
  • 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco from Estonia.

Anyone who is carrying more than the limits should pay UK duty on those goods by entering the Customs Red Channel or by using the Red Point telephone. If travellers enter the Customs Blue Channel with more than the limits, then all of their tobacco may be seized.




Revised: 29/11/2007