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Duty Free Allowances

- Updated: 13/11/2011

The UK is currently under Investigation from Brussels as apparently being in breach of EU Duty Free regulations and the duty free allowances permitted by the EU. This is likely to be lengthy process - however until this is resolved the situation remains as follows ...

Duty Free Allowances

The following products are classed as Duty Free items:

- Alcohol

- Tobacco

- Pure Perfume

All other items are classed as Tax Free.

On July 1, 1999 changes to the Duty-Free and Tax-Free laws that apply to Spain ( as being part of the EU ) came into effect. However, you can still buy a wide range of Duty and Tax-Free goods when you travel to Spain.

If you are flying between Spain and the UK you are entitled to Tax Free prices on fragrances, cosmetics and skincare; photographic and electrical goods; fashion and accessories; gifts, jewellery and souvenirs. There are no longer any allowance restrictions on these Tax Free items.

Duty Free Allowance / Tax Free Allowance

When travelling from Spain* to the UK you do not have to pay any tax or duty on goods you have bought as long as tax was included in the price when you purchased the items, the items are for your own use, and have been transported to the UK by you. This includes gifts, but does not include any item that is intended to be used as payment or to be resold.

Although there are no limits on the amount of alcohol and tobacco you can bring in from EU countries, customs officials are more likely to ask you questions if you have more than the following:

- 800 cigarettes

- 400 cigarillos

- 200 cigars

- 1 kg of smoking tobacco

- 110 litres of beer

- 10 litres of spirits

- 90 litres of wine

- 20 litres of fortified wine e.g. port or sherry

No limit on other tobacco products as long as they are for your own use.

* Please note that although the Canary Isles are part of Spain they are NOT classed as being part of the EU and therefore a different set of Duty Free rules apply

* New minimum indicative levels applicable from 01-10-2011

Comment on this Article

Kunal : When travelling into the EU from a Non-EU country you can carry 200 Cigarettes / 1 Carton Duty Free.
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 12th May 2014
I am travelling to Granada in Spain from India via Dubai and Madrid. How many cartons of cigarettes will I be allowed to bring into Spain.
Kunal Tavri - Sun 11th May 2014
I am travelling to IBIZA from Stansted - can I purchase duty free cigarettes? Many thanks
Yvey - Wed 19th Jun 2013
You stand a reasonable chance of getting the package through customs, however if you have not paid Duty you run the risk of having the goods confiscated.
Simon Parker - Fri 19th Oct 2012
Anton Duffe' - Fri 19th Oct 2012
John : That is a very good question ! - Most airlines would say that this is not a problem PROVIDING your purchases would fit inside your handluggage OR be bought on the Plane itself. However, the Spanish Airports Authority have ruled that the airlines allowing just 1 peice of handluggage is unlawful. In short, it really depends IF the airlines abide by the over-turning of this rule or not. Click > HERE < for further details.
Tumbit - Admin - Thu 9th Aug 2012
Am going to toremolinos for 4days and only taking hand luggage, am I still entitled to bring in duty free tobacco ?.
John Grierson - Thu 9th Aug 2012
Dave : When arriving in the UK from a non-EU country you must declare the goods if they are worth over 390. From that amount to 630 Duty payable is 2.5%. If it is likely to be above that value you should speak with HMRC customs beforehand to ascertain the category that good fall under, the financial limit at which duty is paid and at what % - on tel 0845 010 9000
Tumbit - Admin - Thu 26th Jul 2012
I want to bring some cosmetic jewellery into the UK from the Philippines. How much can I bring without paying any duty or taxes ?
Dave - Thu 26th Jul 2012
Hello im going to ibiza from stansted and many sleeves of cigarettes am I allowed back?
Antoinette Wilson - Tue 19th Jun 2012
@Mike - Allowances have been scrapped in favour of MIL's (Minimum Indicative Levels). So long as you purchase your goods in an EU member state, you pay TAX in that state meaning no tax is due when you import into the UK. However, if you have more than the MIL's Customs in the UK may ask questions about the intended use of your purchase. REMEMBER: Canary Islands & Gibraltar are NOT classed as an EU state under taxation treaties.
Tumbit - Admin - Sat 12th May 2012
What is the tobacco allowance from spain to the UK for 2012 ??
Mike - Fri 11th May 2012
Marian : The issue of UK v EU Duty Free is part of a wider issue that has been debated in Brussels for almost 2 years, and due to be heard again in the EU Parliament next month. In very brief terms, this is a bid to 'standardise' all taxation throughout the 27 EU member states and is favoured by Germany, but opposed by the UK
Tumbit - Admin - Wed 15th Feb 2012
Is your statement re the uk being investigated re: tobacco restrictions on what we can bring from UK up to date and if so have u any idea how long a decision will take ?
Marian - Wed 15th Feb 2012
Jackie, one of earlier visitors had this very same issue and was kind enough to post his experience with Customs & Exise, if you would like to click on "Show more comments" (below) to see ...
Tumbit - Admin - Sun 13th Nov 2011
when travelling on a cruise ship & buying cigarettes on board in majorca while berthed in harbour then sailing on to the canaries and flying home what is my allowance ?
Jackie Prior - Sun 13th Nov 2011
As Tenerife is NOT in the EU, the following applies : You can bring in ONE item from the following list:

200 cigarettes

100 cigarillos

50 cigars

250g of tobacco

Tumbit - Admin - Fri 11th Nov 2011
How many cigarettes can you take home to UK from Tenerife ?
Fahy - Fri 11th Nov 2011
is there a limet on how much your allowed to pounds sterling for the the a limet to what you can bring back .need a breakdown on what you can have please .as before going to palma majorca this year april.26th.asap please
Harry Fisher - Mon 4th Apr 2011
thankyou for all the information. is it possible that you know weather can import a musical instrument .ie. guitar. what needs to be done and how.etc
Harry Fisher - Mon 4th Apr 2011
Yes, that's per person
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 4th Apr 2011
ok thanks for the reply on the tobacco the thing is does not state about weather. the 3kg is per person ?? need a reply please asap
Harry Fisher - Mon 4th Apr 2011
Yes, the amount that you can carry Duty Free within the EU is 3kg - which is 6 Cartons of 10 x 50gm rolling tobacco.
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 4th Apr 2011
hi ive seen the limet on tobacco of 3kg .is this per person please from palma majorca. on 50gram this the max you can bring back without duty.? need to know as going away 26th april 2011 asap please..
Harry Fisher - Mon 4th Apr 2011
How did you get on Frank - anything to report ?
Tumbit - Admin - Wed 24th Nov 2010
Thanks for your response. I rang the excise and customs - 0845 010 9000 and after some deliberation and consultation they said that provided I bought the cigs in Palma and was able to produce the receipt at Tenerife they did not see 3200 allowance as being a problem. However they suggested that I check with Tenerife customs first for their view! - back to square one !!!
Frank Jury - Mon 25th Oct 2010
The regulations give advice for when you are in transit from a non-EU country via an EU country, but strangely, not for the reverse. Our advice would be firstly to check directly with the Excise and Customs Duty Helpline on Tel 0845 010 9000, and also to keep your receipt and boarding pass with the goods so that you can prove both where the goods were purchased and that the appropriate amount of tax was paid in the country of origin.
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 25th Oct 2010
We are cruising from Palma down the north african coast , returning to Palma after a week and then cruising to the Canary islands for a week and flying back to the UK from Tenerife. Could we buy our full duty free allowance in Palma mid holiday and bring the cigarettes into the UK from Tenerife ?.
Frank Jury - Sun 24th Oct 2010