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Bringing goods into the UK: Customs Allowances

  • September 09, 2019

Each country has a duty to protect its citizens from drugs, firearms and other harmful goods and to stop smugglers evading taxes. Therefore, when you travel to the UK you may need to declare your goods and cash.

What happens when I arrive in the UK?

When you arrive at a UK airport, it is likely you will have to go through passport control via one of the three routes:

Blue Route

  • This is for people who have travelled within the EU with no banned or restricted goods

Green Route

  • This is for people who have travelled from outside of the EU with goods that do not go over your allowances
  • And you do not possess any banned or restricted goods

Red Route

  • You must use the red channel if you have goods or cash to declare,
  • Have commercial goods
  • Or you are not sure about what you need to declare

What countries are in the EU?

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luthuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portgul, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Although Gibraltar is part of the EU, it is outside the Community Customs territory. The customs allowances for outside the EU therefore apply.

I am travelling from the EU, what goods can I bring with me?

You can bring an unlimited amount of most goods into the UK, as long as they are for your own consumption or gifts to give to others. If you intend to sell any goods, then this is considered as commercial use.

If you are bringing in alcohol or tobacco goods and UK Border Control have reason to suspect they may be for a commercial purpose, an officer may ask you questions and make checks. For example:

  • The type and quantity of goods you have bought
  • Why you have bought them
  • How you paid for them
  • How often you travel
  • How much you normally smoke or drink
  • Any other relevant circumstances

If you are travelling from the EU, you may bring in any meat, dairy or any other animal products. You may also bring in fruit, vegetables or plant products.

Click here for further information.

I am travelling from outside of the EU, what goods can I bring with me?

When travelling from outside of the EU, you can bring a certain limit of goods into the UK without paying duty or tax. These goods must be for your own use or gifts. If you intend to sell any goods, then this is considered as commercial use.



  • 1L of spirits or
  • 2L of fortified wine, sparkling wine or any other alcoholic beverage


  • 200 cigarettes or
  • 100 cigarillos or
  • 50 cigars or
  • 250g of tobacco

Other goods

Most travellers can bring other goods into the UK worth up to £390 (e.g. perfume and electrical goods) without paying duty or tax in the UK. If you bring in goods worth more than your allowance, you must pay duty and/or tax on the full value, not just the value above the allowance.

You cannot bring in any meat, honey or dairy products into the UK from a non-EU country.

How much cash can I bring with me to the UK?

If you are carrying the equivalent to 10,000 euros or more then you must declare it when you enter the UK from a county outside of the EU. You will need to complete a cash declaration form at the airport.

What if I go over my goods allowance?

If you over your allowance, you must pay Customs Duty on anything you bring above your allowance.

The current rate is 2.5% for goods worth up to £630.

Please note, this information is taken from UK Border Control, for more detailed information please contact them on:

0300 200 3700 (UK)
+44 2920 501 261 (outside the UK)

Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Relocation to the UK

If you are an international doctor and you need support with relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK today.

Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries.

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GOV.UK. (2019). Bringing goods into the UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Sep. 2019]. (2019). [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Sep. 2019].


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