3. Arrivals from outside the EU

Your duty-free allowance means you can bring in a certain amount of goods for your own use from outside the European Union (EU) without paying duty or tax.

When you’re bringing in goods you must:

  • transport them yourself
  • use them yourself or give them away as a gift

You can’t combine allowances with other people to bring in more than your individual allowance.

There’s no duty-free allowance if you’re under 17. You can bring alcohol and tobacco to the UK for your own use but you’ll have to pay duty or tax on it when you get to customs.

Alcohol allowance

How much you can bring depends on the type of drink. You can bring in:

  • beer - 16 litres
  • wine (not sparkling) - 4 litres

You can also bring in either:

  • spirits and other liquors over 22% alcohol - 1 litre
  • fortified wine (eg port, sherry), sparkling wine and alcoholic drinks up to 22% alcohol - 2 litres

You can split this last allowance, eg you could bring 1 litre of fortified wine and half a litre of spirits (both half of your allowance).

If you go over your allowance

Declare alcohol over your allowance - if you don’t, any alcohol you’re bringing in can be seized.

You may have to pay Excise Duty and import VAT on alcohol you declare.

Tobacco allowance

You can bring in one from the following:

  • 200 cigarettes
  • 100 cigarillos
  • 50 cigars
  • 250g tobacco

You can split this allowance - so you could bring in 100 cigarettes and 25 cigars (both half of your allowance).

If you go over your allowance

Declare tobacco products over your allowance - if you don’t, any tobacco products you’re bringing in can be seized.

You may have to pay Excise Duty and import VAT on tobacco products you declare.

Allowance for other goods

You can bring in other goods worth up to £390 (or up to £270 if you arrive by private plane or boat).

If a single item’s worth more than your allowance you pay any duty or tax on its full value, not just the value above the allowance.

If you go over your allowance

You pay Customs Duty on anything you bring in above your allowance. The rate:

You don’t pay Customs Duty if you owe less than £9.

You may also have to pay import VAT.

Import VAT

You may have to pay import VAT on the total value of the goods plus duty. The VAT rates are the standard UK rates.