Information for travellers arriving in ireland from member states of the european union

1. Introduction

This notice is intended for travellers arriving in Ireland from another Member State of the European Union (EU). Travellers who are arriving in Ireland from a country outside the EU as well as from the Canary Islands, Channel Islands or Gibraltar even if they have transferred flights in another EU country should consult the Information Leaflet for Travellers Arriving in Ireland From a Country Outside the EU.

The countries of the European Union are

  • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain , Sweden and the United Kingdom .
  • Although Gibraltar, the Canary Islands and the Channel Islands are part of the EU, they are subject to special provisions and therefore the duty free allowances for outside the EU apply.

2. Smuggling

There are heavy penalties for smuggling

Smuggling is illegal and is a serious offence. Smugglers may have a financial penalty imposed on them, the goods concerned may be seized, there may be a prosecution before the Courts or a combination of all of these measures may be applied in any given instance of smuggling.

Revenue is the Irish tax and customs administration. Any information on drug smuggling or smuggling of any kind should be passed to a Revenue Officer or contact

Freephone 1800 295 295

Don t Ignore It Report It!

Further Information may be obtained by contacting Revenue Officers at any port or airport.

3. Duty Paid and Tax Paid Goods

(i) General

No additional duty or tax will be charged on goods bought duty and tax paid (e.g. in shops, supermarkets etc.) in another EU country. However, see below for Alcohol and Tobacco Products.

(ii) Alcohol and Tobacco Products

In the case of alcohol and tobacco products

  • they must be for the travellers personal use and cannot be for commercial purposes if a traveller intends to sell or accept any kind of payment for the goods this is classified as commercial use,
  • the traveller must retain receipts as proof that (s)he has paid duty and taxes,
  • the traveller must personally transport and accompany the goods on arrival, and
  • travellers under 17 years are not allowed to bring Alcohol and/or Tobacco Products with them under these provisions.

Where purchases of the specific products listed below are equivalent to, or less than, the quantities shown in the table they will, generally speaking, be regarded as for personal use.

Quantity and list of goods allowed as personal use Quantity Goods 800 Cigarettes 400 Cigarillos 200 Cigars 1kg Smoking Tobacco 10 litres Spirits (whiskey, gin, vodka, etc.) 20 litres Intermediate Products Alcoholic drinks not exceeding 22% vol. (e.g. port, sherry, some liqueurs, etc.) 90 litres Wine (of which only 60 litres can be sparkling) 110 litres Beer

However, from 1 January 2014 there are reduced limits on the amount of cigarettes you can bring into Ireland for your personal use that have been purchased in the following EU countries


Quantity and list of goods allowed as personal use Quantity Goods 300 Cigarettes

No reduced limit applies to other tobacco products as long as they are for your own personal use. It is important to note that the Member States to which the restriction applies are subject to review, therefore you are advised to check the Revenue Website before travelling.

If you have alcohol and/or tobacco products over the above limits you must declare them to a Revenue Officer and pay the appropriate duties and taxes.

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4. Duty Free and Tax Free Goods

Such goods are not available for purchase by persons travelling between EU countries except for immediate consumption on board ferries or aircraft. All duties and/or taxes must be paid on any such goods carried on landing in Ireland.

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5. Customs Procedures

  1. Sea
    A person arriving in Ireland by ferry from another EU country with no goods to declare may, unless challenged (see paragraph 6), exit the port directly without passing through Customs controls.
  2. Air
    1. If both a journey and the flight a person travelled on began in an EU country (s)he should go through the Blue Channel.
    2. If a person is arriving in Ireland from an EU Country on a flight which began outside the EU (e.g. New York London Dublin), (s)he must, regardless of nationality or country of residence, clear Customs by going through either the Green (Nothing to Declare) or Red (Dutiable Goods) Channel.

6. Selective Checks on Travellers to protect society

Under EU Treaty provisions, Revenue Officers can still carry out selective checks on intra EU travellers to combat smuggling of prohibited or restricted goods. A traveller may therefore be asked questions by Revenue Officers and may be required to produce his or her baggage for inspection.

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7. Prohibited or Restricted Goods

Certain goods may not be imported from another EU country. The principal items are

  • Dangerous drugs,
  • Indecent or obscene goods,
  • Certain foodstuffs.

Certain other items may only be imported under licence, such as

  • Domestic cats and dogs (pets), other than from the U.K., the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man,
  • Firearms and/or ammunition,
  • Fireworks and explosives.

For further information, see Tthe Prohibitions and Restrictions section on the Revenue website which contains a full list of prohibited and restricted items or contact a Revenue Officer at any port or airport.

8. Cash Controls

A Revenue Officer may search for, seize and detain any cash which is being imported into or exported from the State if its amount is not less than 6348.69 and he/she has reasonable grounds for suspecting that

  1. the person is importing or exporting, or intends to import or export, from the State an amount of cash which is not less than 6348.69, and
  2. the cash directly or indirectly represents the proceeds of crime or is intended by any person for use in connection with any criminal conduct. (Section 38(1) Criminal Justice Act 1994, as amended by Section 20 Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2005)

Last Updated December 2013

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Hm revenue & customs: tax and duty on goods brought to the uk from outside the european union

When you travel to the UK from outside the European Union (EU), you can bring in a certain amount of duty/tax free goods for your own use known as an ‘allowance’. If you go over this allowance you may have to pay duty and/or tax. Some goods are banned completely, or restricted, such as certain foods.

On this page

  • Duty and tax free allowances arrivals from non EU countries
  • Additional conditions when bringing goods into the UK
  • Declaring goods to customs
  • How much duty or tax do you pay?
  • Banned and restricted goods
  • Getting more help and advice
  • More useful links

Duty and tax free allowances arrivals from non EU countries

The allowances below cover the most common items that you can bring into the UK duty and/or tax free from outside the EU.

You must also meet certain conditions listed in the section ‘Additional conditions when bringing goods into the UK’. If you don’t meet these conditions or you go over your allowance you’ll have to pay any Customs Duty, Excise Duty and/or Import VAT due (VAT will also be due on any duties that may be charged).

For passengers who are in transit and changing flights in an EU airport there are set conditions that apply regarding liquids, including any duty free purchases you’ve made.

Alcohol allowances

You can bring in either, but not both, of the following

  • 1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs over 22 per cent volume
  • 2 litres of fortified wine (such as port or sherry), sparkling wine or any other alcoholic drink that’s less than 22 per cent volume

Or you can combine these allowances. For example, if you bring in one litre of fortified wine (half your full allowance) you can also bring in half a litre of spirits (half your full allowance). This would make up your full allowance. You can’t go over your total alcohol allowance.

In addition you may also bring back both of the following

  • 16 litres of beer
  • 4 litres of still wine

Tobacco allowances

You can bring in one from the following list

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

Or you can combine these allowances. For example, if you bring in 100 cigarettes (half your full allowance) you can also bring in 25 cigars (half your full allowance). This would make up your full tobacco allowance. You can’t go over your total tobacco allowance.

You cannot combine alcohol and tobacco allowances.

Other goods including perfume and souvenirs

You can bring in other goods worth up to f390 without having to pay tax and/or duty.

If you arrive by private plane or private boat for pleasure purposes, you can only bring in other goods worth up to f270 tax and duty free.

If you bring in any single item worth more than your allowance, you must pay duty and/or tax on the full item value, not just the value above the allowance. You also cannot group individual allowances together to bring in an item worth more than the limit.

Read about which countries are in the EU in Travelling to the UK (Opens new window)


Additional conditions when bringing goods into the UK

To qualify for the tax/duty free allowances you also need to meet the following conditions

  • You must transport the goods yourself.
  • The goods must be for your own use or as a gift. If the person you give the goods to pays you in any way (including reimbursing you for any expenses), then it’s not a gift and you’ll have to pay the duty and/or tax.
  • To bring in alcohol or tobacco you must be aged 17 or over.


Declaring goods to customs

You must make a declaration to customs when entering the UK from non EU countries if

  • you exceed your allowances
  • the goods are for commercial use see link below for information on merchandise in baggage
  • you have 10,000 euros or more (or its equivalent) in cash
  • you think you may have banned or restricted goods

To do this you should use the red channel or the red point phone. The customs official from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) will tell you if any tax or duty is owed and how to pay.

Going through customs

Read about carrying merchandise in baggage in Notice 6


How much duty or tax do you pay?

If you exceed the allowances and/or don’t meet the additional conditions set out above you will have to pay the appropriate charges which may include

  • Customs Duty
  • Excise Duty if the goods are tobacco or alcohol
  • Import VAT (VAT will also be due on any duties that may be charged)

Customs Duty rates

In all instances Customs Duty is waived if the amount of the duty payable is less than f9.

For other goods brought into the UK by travellers, duty only applies on goods above f270 or f390 (whichever is appropriate) in value. Over this allowance and up to f630 there is a duty flat rate of 2.5 per cent.

For goods over f630, the duty/duties rate charged depends on the type of goods.

Excise Duty rates

Excise Duty is payable on all alcohol or tobacco products that go over the duty free allowances or do not meet the additional conditions. You can check alcohol and tobacco Excise Duty rates on the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website.

Alcohol duty rates (Opens new window)

Tobacco products duty rates (Opens new window)

Import VAT

Import VAT is charged as a percentage of the total value of the goods plus any other duties payable. The rate is the same VAT rate that applies to similar goods that are sold in the UK.

Introduction to VAT

Customs Duty, Excise Duty and Import VAT introduction


Banned and restricted goods

There are some goods that you’re never allowed to bring into the UK including illegal drugs and all offensive weapons. There are also some goods that are restricted and need a licence or permit to be imported.

Some foods are also restricted for example you’re not allowed to bring in meat or dairy products from most countries outside the EU.

Read more about banned or restricted goods


Getting more help and advice

If you need more information about bringing in goods to the UK from outside the EU, you can contact the Excise and Customs Helpline by following the link below.

Contact details for the Excise and Customs Helpline


More useful links

Travelling to the UK (Opens new window)

Tax and duty on goods brought to the UK from the EU

Declaring cash when entering or leaving the UK

Tax on personal items when moving to the UK