If you're planning to bring alcohol, tobacco or souvenirs into the UK, the following traveller information can familiarise you with 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.
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 1 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
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.