Banned and restricted goods

There are some goods you cannot bring into the UK - they’ll be seized by customs.

These include:

  • controlled drugs
  • offensive weapons, for example flick knives
  • self-defence sprays, for example pepper spray and CS gas
  • endangered animal and plant species
  • rough diamonds
  • indecent and obscene materials, such as books, magazines, films and DVDs
  • personal imports of meat and dairy products from most non-EU countries

Restricted items

Some goods are restricted - like firearms, explosives and ammunition. You need a special licence to bring them in to the UK.

Some food and plant products are also restricted if they:

  • are not free from pests and diseases
  • are not for your own use
  • were not grown in the EU

If you bring goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights (for example ‘pirate’ copies of movies or music) they may be seized and you could be prosecuted.

Check if you need a CITES permit

You’ll need to apply for a permit or certificate if you’re bringing items protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) into the UK.

This includes certain foods and beauty products, exotic leather goods, furs, wooden musical instruments, tourist curios and some medicines.

Check if you need a CITES permit.

Read more detailed guidance on the forms you’ll need to complete and which ports or airports you’ll need to arrive at.