Duty Free


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Duty Free

Note: Spain's Mainland and Baleric Islands are in the EU, but the Canary Islands are treated as being outside of the EU for the Duty Free section. 

The following items may be imported into the UK without incurring customs duty by travellers aged 17 years and over arriving


Arriving in UK from EU countries:


Abolition of duty free goods within the EU: On 30 June 1999, the sale of duty free alcohol and tobacco at airports and at sea was abolished in all of the original 15 EU member states. Of the 10 new member states that joined the EU on May 1st 2004, these rules already apply to Cyprus and Malta. There are transitional rules in place for visitors returning to one of the original 15 EU countries from one of the other new EU countries. But for the original 15, plus Cyprus and Malta, there are now no limits** imposed on importing tobacco and alcohol products from one EU country to another for personel use (with the exceptions of Denmark, Finland and Sweden, where limits are imposed). Travellers should note that they may be required to prove at customs that the goods purchased are for personal use only.Goods obtained duty and tax paid in the EU are unlimited.

 **Some people have had problems entering the UK from the continent via car ferries. Where UK customs have insisted that the person has more goods than that for personnel use. The goods and vechile have been confiscated. This action is being challenged by the European courts.


Arriving from non EU countries:


  • 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco;
  • 1 litre of alcoholic beverages stronger than 22 per cent or 2 litres of fortified or sparkling wine or other liqueurs
  • 2 litres of still table wine
  • 50g of perfume
  • 250ml of toilet wate
  • Other goods including souvenirs up to the value of £145.


Prohibited/restricted items:


Prohibited items include firearms, drugs and pornography.



The UK is one of the few regions of the world completely free of rabies and, until recently, all cats and dogs imported into the country had to spend 6 months in quarantine. To bring animals and birds into the UK, an import licence must be obtained at least 6 months in advance. Some animals may now qualify for the PET Travel Scheme (PETS) and can be brought into the UK without being put into quarantine. At present, this is limited to certain travel carriers and animals. Severe penalties are imposed on persons attempting to smuggle domestic animals into the country. An illegally imported animal is liable to be destroyed.

For further information about importing animals, contact the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Area 201, 1A Page Street, London SWIP 4PQ (website: www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/quarantine/index.htm); or the PETS helpline (tel: (0870) 241 1710; fax: (020) 7904 6206; e mail: pets.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk) or the nearest British mission abroad.



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