Alcohol declaration at customs

After a great holiday away it can be nice to bring back something to remember it by. If keychains and magnets aren’t your type of souvenir to bring home, why not pack in some local alcohol instead. Before packing litres of liquor into your suitcase though, let us help you know the rules of alcohol declaration at customs a little better.

    Boris Babanov - Wikimedia

The most important step you can do when arriving back in the UK is declaring all the alcohol you are carrying. For those of you travelling within the EU, there is some good news. There is no limit as to how much alcohol that can be brought back to the UK with you. Because of this, it is also free of any tax or duty fees. Note though, that if your amount exceeds more than 110 litres of beer, 90 litres of wine, 10 litres of spirits or 20 litres of fortified wine, questions most likely will be asked by customs due to the large quantities involved.

For those of you travelling from a country outside of the EU, you are allowed to bring in:

  • - 16 litres of beer
  • - 4 litres of still wine
  • - Either a litre of spirits or strong liqueurs over 22% volume
  • - 2 litres of fortified wine (port, sherry, etc...) that is less than 22% volume

You may also combine these limits and split the allowance between the two depending on your alcohol preferences. For example, you can bring in 1 litre of port which would represent half the allowance plus a ½ litre of strong liqueur. Again, if you stay within your allowance, you will not have to pay any duty or tax on it.

It may be tempting to try and sneak in an extra bottle or two into your luggage, but it is highly advisable that you don’t. If you are caught, all alcohol you have not declared will be seized and you may need to pay Excise Duty and Import VAT on top of what you already paid abroad for the alcohol.

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