If you have travelled to a country outside of the European Union, a special territory or Heligoland and want to avoid paying taxes on goods you have purchased there, you will have to adhere to guidelines limiting the quantity or value of items that may be imported.
The two most important rules are:
1. The traveler is personally transporting the goods
This means that the goods are transported in the same manner as the traveller. If the goods are transported in the luggage by any other method or if they are mailed, this does not count as being transported by the traveller himself.
2. The goods are intended for private consumption
The goods may only be used by the traveller, close relatives or as a gift. It is recommended to keep any proof, i.e. a receipt.
Remember that alcohol and tobacco products may only be brought into the EU by individuals aged 17 and above.
Maximum quantity of tobacco products
Cigarettes -> 200 per person
Cigarillos -> 100 per person
Cigars -> 50 per person
Smoking tobacco -> 250 grams per person
Maximum quantity of alcohol beverages
Spirits with more than 22 vol% -> 1 liter per person
Alcoholic beverages with up to 22 vol% -> 2 liters per person
Non-sparkling wine -> 4 liters per person
Beer -> 16 liters per person
Maximum quantity of medications
The traveller is allowed to carry the amount that is needed for his or her personal use only.
Maximum amount of fuel
Aside from the amount inside the vehicle’s tank, 10 additional liters may be transported in a portable container.
Exceptions to maximum quantities
- Check if guidelines regarding limited quantities only apply to certain people, i.e. residents of areas near the border, individuals commuting across the border, airplane or ship crews or drivers of tour busses.
- The value of the goods including the value added tax applicable in the country where they were purchased is used when determining whether the allowed limit has been exceeded or not
- The allowed quantities or value limits of several individuals cannot be combined.
- Traveller’s allowances can only be claimed once for each trip