In this context, imports are regarded as having no commercial character if they take place occasionally and consist of goods for the personal or family use of the travellers, or of goods intended as presents.
The limits laid down in the table above also apply if you come from
- Canary Islands,
- Channel Islands,
- French Overseas Departments
- Aland Islands
- Ceuta and Melilla
- other territories where VAT and EU excise provisions do not apply.
EU legislation concerning allowances for travellers can be found in Council Directive 2007/74/EC of December 2007 (as far as VAT and excise duties are concerned) and in article 41 of Regulation 1186/2009 as far as customs duties are concerned.
In spite of these rules the importation of goods may be restricted or prohibited in accordance with specific Community and or national legislation.
Do you intend to purchase excise products (e.g. wine, spirits and tobacco products such as cigarettes, etc) over the internet? See the list of frequently asked questions.
New rules for import in travellers’ personal luggage
New rules on duty and tax free imports entered into force on 1 December 2008. See Council Directive 2007/74/EC of 20 December 2007 and Council Regulation 274/2008 of 17 March 2008 , which since 1 January 2010 has been replaced by Council Regulation 1186/2009 of 16 November 2009 . See also the press release (IP/08/1845 ).
Travellers entering the EU from other countries now benefit from increased savings when importing goods into the European Union in their personal luggage. Member States have also reduced administrative burdens by renouncing the collection of relatively small amounts of duty. Travellers’ allowances are the monetary thresholds or the quantitative limits under which travellers entering the EU from third countries are allowed to import duty and tax free in their personal luggage.
The rules in force since 1 December 2008 have
- increased the current monetary threshold from 175 to 430 for air and sea travellers and to 300 for land and inland waterways travellers the lower threshold for the latter takes account of the special situation of Member States that have land borders with countries where prices are significantly lower than in the EU
- abolished the quantitative limits on perfume, eau de toilette, coffee and tea (which means that such items now come under the monetary threshold)
- increased the quantitative limit for still wine from 2 to 4 litres
- introduced a quantitative limit of 16 litres on beer imports (only for VAT and excise duties given that beer is customs free)
- given Member States the option of reducing the quantitative limits on tobacco products (e.g. for cigarettes from 200 to 40) in support of health policies.
As an example, an air traveller arriving in the EU from a non EU country could import 200 cigarettes duty and tax free, 1 litre of spirits, 4 litres of wine, 16 litres of beer and 430 of other goods (toys, perfume, electronic devices, etc). Taxes and customs duties will be applied on the value of goods exceeding those limits. However, the value of an individual item may not be split up.
Restrictions of particular interest to international passengers 1. Products of animal origin
Apart from some exceptions the Community rules do not allow the importation of meat, meat products, milk and milk products by travellers. Clearer EU rules are in force as from 1 May 2009.
Two posters advertising the rules on personal imports of meat and milk into the EU are available in 35 languages.
- Poster No 1
- Poster No 2
2. Animal or plants or part of these, covered by the convention of Washington
Travellers must be aware that certain wildlife animals or plants and parts thereof are protected by the Convention of Washington (CITES). The importation of these specimens is strongly restricted following the Community rules implementing the CITES Convention.
Pet owners have to respect the Community rules on movements of pet animals.
4. Prohibitions and restrictions in the following areas are covered by national legislation
- Explosive Material
- Pornographic Materials
If you need more information, please contact the competent authorities of your country of destination.
5. Travelling with 10 000 or more in cash
As from 15 June 2007, travellers entering or leaving the EU and carrying 10 000 or more in cash (or its equivalent in other currencies or easily convertible assets such as cheques drawn on a third party) have to make a declaration to the customs authorities.
This follows the entry into force of a new European Regulation aimed at fighting money laundering, and the financing of terrorism. Customs authorities are empowered under the Regulation to undertake controls on individuals, their baggage and their means of transport and detain cash that has not been declared.
Travellers must be aware that all Member States apply penalties in the event of failure to comply with the obligation to declare as laid down in the Regulation. Some Member States may apply additional measures according to their national legislation (e.g. intra community cash controls).
Travelling by air baggage controls in the European Union
You may find background information on baggage controls of passengers entering or leaving the EU in this information document.
Information for travellers arriving in ireland from member states of the european union
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.
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
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
BULGARIA, CROATIA, HUNGARY, LATVIA, LITHUANIA AND ROMANIA
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
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.
- If both a journey and the flight a person travelled on began in an EU country (s)he should go through the Blue Channel.
- 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
- 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
- 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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