Shopping on vacation – guidelines for destinations outside of the European Union I

Einkaufen im Urlaub – Richtmengen innerhalb der EU

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

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