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Duty Free Allowances

Duty Free Allowances

Passengers can purchase duty free items on board and most lines offer a wide range of products to choose from. While duty free liquor can be purchased on board, it will usually be stored by the ship’s crew and returned to passengers at the end of their cruise. No liquor purchased on board may be consumed in public areas. Tobacco and cigarettes purchased on board may be taken away by the passenger at the time of purchase.

Along with duty free items available for purchase on board, travellers may also choose to purchase items in port. These purchases fall within the same allowance as purchases made on board and the allowance is dependent on whether you are travelling within or outside of the EU.

Within The EU

Passengers travelling with the European Union are permitted to transport as much alcohol, fragrance and tobacco as they like. However, there are conditions of transport which must be adhered to, including:

» You must transport the goods yourself

» The goods must be for your own use or to be given as a gift

» If the person gifted the goods pays you in any way (including reimbursing you for any expenses or payment in kind), then the goods are no longer considered a gift and may be seized

» The goods must have duty and tax paid in the EU country where they were acquired

As goods are only permitted for personal consumption and not for re-selling purposes, a customs officer may question the amounts you are transporting if they are over:

» 800 cigarettes

» 200 cigars

» 400 cigarillos

» 1kg of tobacco

» 110 litres of beer

» 90 litres of wine

» 10 litres of spirits

» 20 litres of fortified wine (for example port or sherry)

If goods are believed to be intended for commercial purposes, they will be seized.

The transport of some food and plant products may be restricted if they:

» Are not free from pests and diseases

» Are not for your own use

» Were not grown in the EU

Outside The EU

When travelling outside the EU, you are permitted to bring a limited amount of goods for your own personal use back into the UK with you, without paying duty or tax. Allowances vary depending on the goods transported, but you must meet the following conditions in all cases:

» You must transport the goods yourself

» The goods must be for your own use or to be given as a gift

» If the person gifted the goods pays you in any way (including reimbursing you for any expenses or payment in kind), then the goods are no longer considered a gift and you must pay the duty and/or tax

» To bring in alcohol you must be over 17 years of age 

» You may not combine allowances with other people to bring in more than your individual allowance

Alcohol Allowance

You may bring into the UK:

16 litres of beer

4 litres of wine (not sparkling)

You may also bring either:

1 litre of spirits or other liquors over 22% alcohol

2 litres of fortified wine (eg. Port, sherry), sparkling wine and alcoholic drinks up to 22% alcohol

This allowance may be split, e.g. you could bring 1 litre of fortified wine (half your allowance) and half a litre of spirits (the second half of your allowance).

You must declare alcohol over your allowance or risk having all alcohol seized. You may have to pay Excise Duty and import VAT on any alcohol you declare.

Tobacco Allowance

You may bring in one from the following list:

200 cigarettes

100 cigarillos

50 cigars

250g tobacco 

This allowance may be split, e.g. you could bring in 100 cigarettes (half of your allowance) and 25 cigars (second half of your allowance)

You must declare alcohol over your allowance or risk having all tobacco products seized. You may have to pay Excise Duty and import VAT on any alcohol you declare.

Other Goods

You may bring in other goods (including perfume and souvenirs) worth up to £390 without having to pay tax and/or duty. If arriving by private plane or boat this limit is reduced to £270.

If a single item is worth more than your entire allowance, you will pay any duty or tax on its full value and NOT just the value above your allowance.

You must pay Customs Duty on anything you bring into the UK above your allowance. Customs Duty will be paid at a rate of 2.5% for goods worth up to £630, with the rate depending on the type of goods if their value exceeds £630. The VAT, Customs and Excise Helpline can advise further on rates charged under these circumstances. You will not pay Customs Duty if the total owed is less than £9.

You may also have to pay import VAT on the total value of goods plus duty. This will be charged at the standard UK rates.

This information is supplied by HM Revenue and Customs and is subject to change. For more information on duty free allowances when travelling within the EU, please call HM Revenue and Customs on 0845 010 9000. Bolsover Cruise Club advises checking directly with HM Revenue and Customs prior to travelling. 


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