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Bringing goods with you from abroad

Declaring goods on entry into the UK

When you enter the UK with goods you bought abroad, you don't need to pay any UK tax or duty if you transport them yourself, provided the goods are for your personal use or you've bought them as a gift for someone else.

There is however a limit to how much you can bring. This limit is known as a personal allowance. The level of personal allowance differs depending on whether you're arriving in England, Wales and Scotland, or Northern Ireland.

It is important to check the personal allowance for the different categories of goods before you enter the UK. If you exceed that allowance, you will have to pay import VAT, customs duty and excise duty, where applicable, on all the goods in that category, not just on the amount that's above the limit.

If the goods you bring with you exceed the personal allowance, you must either declare this and pay online before you travel or you must declare your goods at the border when you arrive.

Personal allowance

England, Wales and Scotland

You can check the personal allowance for tobacco, alcohol and other goods online.

Northern Ireland

Whether you'll be limited to a personal allowance for goods you take into Northern Ireland depends on where you're arriving from:

  • Arriving from an EU country

There is no limit on the amount of alcohol or tobacco or other goods you may bring into Northern Ireland. You may however be subjected to a customs check at the border if the amount of goods you arrive with gives the impression that you plan to sell the goods instead of keeping them for your personal use.

  • Arriving from outside the EU

You can check the personal allowance for tobacco, alcohol and other goods online.

What is the law guide

The Desktop Lawyer law guide aims to present the law to you in a comprehensive yet jargon-free and easy-to-read format. Our law guide is constantly kept up to date with changes in business and family law by our team of in house solicitors, and includes information across all the legal jurisdictions in the UK.

Our law guide is free to use. Where we provide documents related to this area of law, or where they may help you with any legal issue in this area, they will be listed to the right of this message.

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