When you travel to the UK from outside the European Union (EU), you can bring in a certain amount of duty and tax free goods for your own use. This is known as an ‘allowance’. If you go over your allowance you may have to pay duty and/or tax.
If you’re under 17 you’re not entitled to the alcohol and tobacco allowances.
When you’re bringing in goods you must:
- transport them yourself
- keep them for your own use or give them as a gift
You can bring in either of the following (but not both):
- 1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs (over 22% alcohol)
- 2 litres of fortified wine (eg port, sherry), sparkling wine or any other alcoholic drink that’s less than 22% alcohol
Or you can combine these allowances - so you could bring in 1 litre of fortified wine and half a litre of spirits (both half of your allowance).
You can also bring in both of the following:
- 16 litres of beer
- 4 litres of still wine
You can bring in one from the following:
- 200 cigarettes
- 100 cigarillos
- 50 cigars
- 250g tobacco
Or you can combine these allowances - so you could bring in 100 cigarettes and 25 cigars (both half of your allowance).
You cannot combine your alcohol and tobacco allowances.
You can bring in goods worth up to £390 duty-free. If you arrive by private plane or boat, you can only bring in goods worth up to £270 duty-free.
If you bring in any single item worth more than your allowance you have to pay tax/duty on the full item value, not just the value above the allowance.
You can’t group individual allowances together to bring in an item worth more than the limit.
Declaring goods to customs
You have to speak to customs when entering the UK from non-EU countries if:
- you exceed your allowances
- the goods are for commercial use
- you have 10,000 euros or more (or its equivalent) in cash
- you think you may have banned or restricted goods
How much you have to pay
If you exceed your allowances or don’t meet the conditions you might have to pay:
- Customs Duty
- Excise Duty
- Import VAT
Customs Duty rates
Customs Duty is waived if you owe less than £9. Otherwise:
- it only applies on goods above the £270 or £390 allowance (whichever is appropriate)
- over this allowance and up to £630 the rate is 2.5%
- over £630, the rate depends on the type of goods - check by calling the VAT, Customs and Excise Helpline
Excise Duty rates
This is charged as a percentage of the total value of the goods plus any other duties payable. The VAT rates are the standard UK rates.