An EU directive provides the maximum amount of money and quantities of alcohol or tobacco that persons travelling from non-EU states may import into the EU without paying customs or VAT. This must not be for commercial purposes.

The directive applies to goods imported in the personal luggage of passengers or travelers. The monetary values are €300 per person or €430 for persons travelling by air or sea

This applies to VAT and excise duty. The monetary thresholds for persons under 15 may be limited. A minimum of 150 or exemption applies regardless of transport use.

States may choose not to levy VAT or excise duty on imports of goods by a traveler when the amount to be levied is less than €10. Thresholds may be lowered for persons living in border areas.

States are to exempt imports of tobacco products subject to the following maximum or minimum quantitative limits:

  • 200 cigarettes or 40 cigarettes,
  • 50 cigars or 10 cigars,
  • 250 grams smoking tobacco or 50 grams smoking tobacco.

States may distinguish between air travelers and other travelers by not applying the lower quantitative limits.

States are to exempt the imports of alcohol and alcoholic beverages subject to the following quantitative limits:

A total of 1 liter of alcohol and alcoholic beverages of strength exceeding 22%.

A total of 2 liters of alcohol or alcohol beverages of strength not exceeding 22%.

The exemptions for tobacco and alcohol do not apply to travelers under 17 years.

There is a directive on the refund of tax to persons not established within the EU. A taxable person not established in the EU is a person who has not had a business address, permanent place of residence during a period of time defined by the EU state.

Generally, states must refund VAT paid by non-EU taxable persons on goods or services supplied by a taxable individual in the EU. Such refunds may be based and made conditional on third states agreeing reciprocal measures.

Refunds must be applied for by the non-EU taxable persons. States determine the conditions and arrangements for the refunds.

EU directive provides for the granting and durations of exemptions for temporary importations of vehicles, caravans, pleasure boats, private aircraft, bicycles, private vehicles for business use, saddle horses.

Exceptionally, importation of a private vehicle for business use may be made conditional on payment of security. States may allow more liberal exemptions.

There is EU directive on the permanent import of personal property. This covers property for personal use or household needs or instruments necessary for the person in the exercise of their trade or profession.

There are conditions governing the exemptions. There are particular conditions covering tobacco, alcohol, perfume, coffee, tea, motor driven vehicles, caravans, mobile homes, boats, and aircraft.

Save by exception, motor driven vehicles, caravans, homes, boats, and private aircraft may not be disposed of or hired during a period of 12 months following importation free of duty.

There is specific provision on the importation of property in connection with the transfer of normal residence.

  • In connection with the furnishing or relinquishment of a second residence
  • On marriage
  • Or inheritance is provided for

There was formerly s a tax free allowance for small consignments of goods of a non-commercial character from non-EU states. They may qualify for exemption from turnover tax and excise duty where they are

  • small consignments of a non-commercial character from non-EU state
  • Sent by private persons to other private persons within the EU.
  • In order to be non-commercial, the consignment;
  • Must be less than €45,
  • be occasional in nature,
  • contain only goods of a personal or family use, to be sent to the sender without payment.

The following are subject to quantitative import restrictions:

  • Tobacco 50 cigarettes, alcohol and beverages.
  • Perfumes 50 grams, toilet waters 0.25 liters, coffee 500 grams, tea 100 grams.

They are exempt from turnover and excise duty taxes.


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