UK customs allowances

When arriving in the UK you may be required to pay customs duty on some goods, for example, wine and cigarettes. Check which rules apply to you before you travel.
Airport arrivals area
Airport arrivals area
  • British customs laws make a distinction between EU and non-EU goods. 

  • You can bring an unlimited amount of most goods from the EU without paying tax or duty.

  • You can bring a limited amount of goods such as alcohol, tobacco and perfume from outside the EU.

  •  If you go over allowances you may have to pay tax or duty.

If you're planning to bring alcohol, tobacco or souvenirs into the UK, it is important to be fully aware of the British customs laws.

The rules make a distinction between goods bought in the European Union (EU) and goods bought outside the EU. Visit the HM Revenue and Customs website for full details and customs allowances.

Travelling from Europe

If you are travelling to the UK from the EU, you can bring an unlimited amount of most goods for your own use without paying tax or duty. Check the HMRC web page on customs allowances from the EU before you travel, as some rules do apply to tax-free goods.

Travelling from outside the EU

When you travel to the UK from outside the EU, you can bring a certain amount of duty- and tax-free goods for your own use. This is known as your allowance, and applies to alcohol, tobacco, perfume, souvenirs and other goods. If you go over this allowance, you may have to pay tax or duty. 

Check the HMRC Website for customs allowances from outside the EU.

Declaring your goods

When entering the UK from a non-EU country, you must make a declaration to customs if:

  • you exceed your allowances, which includes up to one litre of spirits, 200 cigarettes and a maximum of £390 worth of perfume and souvenirs
  • the goods are for commercial use
  • you have 10,000 euros or more (or equivalent) in cash
  • you think you may have banned or restricted goods

VAT refunds

Citizens of countries outside the EU can get VAT (Value Added Tax) refunded on some purchases made within the UK. See our tax-free-shopping page for details.

If you're coming to London from outside the UK, check our UK visa regulations page.