PN 1878a - Customs and Excise Information for Travellers Arriving in Ireland from Countries Outside the European Union

1. Introduction

This notice is intended for travellers arriving in Ireland:

  1. directly from a country outside the European Union (EU), or
  2. from a non-EU country via another EU country, or
  3. from the Canary Islands, Channel Islands or Gibraltar.

Travellers arriving from another EU country where no part of their journey took place outside the EU should consult the Information Leaflet for Travellers Arriving in Ireland From Member States of the EU.

When travellers arrive in Ireland from a country outside of the EU they may be liable to pay Customs Duty, Excise Duty (where applicable) and VAT at the airport or seaport of arrival on goods they purchased there. However, travellers may bring in goods up to the limits outlined in Duty-Free Allowances without paying duty and VAT in this country.

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2. Information Notes

  • Goods imported under the travellers' duty free allowances must be transported and accompanied by you.
  • These goods cannot be for commercial purposes. They must be for your own use or as gifts. If you intend to sell or accept any kind of payment for the goods you bring in, this is classified as commercial use.
  • Goods imported for commercial purposes must be declared to Customs.
  • A group of people travelling together cannot pool their individual allowances to buy goods.
  • Travellers under 17 are not entitled to tobacco or alcohol allowances.
  • The Member States of the EU are:
    • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain*, Sweden and the United Kingdom*.

*Although Gibraltar, the Canary Islands and the Channel Islands are part of the EU, they are subject to special provisions and therefore the duty free allowances for outside the EU apply.

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3. Smuggling

There are Heavy Penalties for Smuggling

If you are caught smuggling you may have a financial penalty imposed on you, your goods may be seized, you may be prosecuted or a combination of all of these measures may be applied to you.

If you notice anything suspicious or if you have any information on drug smuggling or smuggling of any kind tell a Customs Officer or contact:

Freephone 1800-295 295

Don't Ignore It – Report It!

Further information can be obtained by contacting any Revenue Office or on the home page of the Revenue website.

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4. Duty-Free Allowances

(i) General

You are allowed to bring in goods (including gifts, souvenirs, perfume and clothing) free of duty, the combined value of which does not exceed:

  • €430 in the case of an individual aged 15 years or over
  • €215 in the case of an individual aged under 15 years

It is important to be aware that the above monetary allowances do not apply to any individual item the value of which exceeds the relevant limits. If you bring in something worth more than the relevant limit of €430 or €215, you must pay import charges on the full value.

If you are bringing back any duty-free goods you bought when you travelled out from Ireland, these count as part of your allowance.

In addition, you are allowed to bring in goods free of duty in the categories shown below subject to the upper limits indicated.

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(ii) Tobacco Products

Tobacco Products
Maximum Quantities Goods
200 Cigarettes, or
100 Cigarillos, or
50 Cigars, or
250 grammes Tobacco

Apportionment of the above allowances is allowed on a fractional basis e.g. 100 cigarettes plus 50 cigarillos.

(iii) Alcohol Products

Alcohol Products
Maximum Quantities Goods
1 litre Spirits (whiskey, gin, vodka etc.) OR
2 litres Intermediate Alcoholic Products not exceeding 22% vol. (e.g. port, sherry,sparkling wine, some liqueurs, etc.)

Apportionment of the above allowances is allowed on a fractional basis e.g. ½ litre of spirits plus 1 litre of port.

Wine and Beer
Maximum Quantities Goods
4 litres Still Wine
16 litres Beer

Customs Duty, Excise Duty and VAT, where applicable, are charged on goods in excess of the duty free allowances.

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5. Customs duty

Customs Duty is usually charged as a percentage of the value of the item. The rates of Customs Duty can be found by consulting TARIC External link, a database managed by the European Commission in Brussels and used by all Member States.

6. Standard (Flat) Rate of Customs Duty

Customs Duty is charged at a standard rate of 2.5% on goods of a non-commercial nature provided that the value of goods subject to such duty does not exceed €700 per traveller. In determining if the total value exceeds €700, the monetary allowance of €430/€215, if applicable, and the value of goods not subject to Customs Duty are taken into account.

The standard rate does not apply to goods of a commercial nature or to tobacco products. Normal rates of VAT and Excise Duty (where applicable) apply.

Travellers may opt to have the goods cleared at the tariff rate of duty.

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7. Excise Duty

In addition to Customs Duty, items such as spirits, wine, beer and tobacco products are liable to Excise Duty. Applicable Rates of Excise Duty are availalbe from the Revenue website.

8. VAT

VAT is payable on all imports at the rate that applies to the same article if it was purchased in this country. The value of the goods for calculating the amount of VAT payable at import is their value for customs purposes, described above, increased by the amount of any other duty due. A detailed list of VAT rates is available on the Revenue website.

9. Examples of calculating duties/VAT on non-commercial imports in passenger’s baggage.

(Please note that these are merely examples of how duty is calculated. Rates of duty change from time to time).

1. Example of Full Rate of Duty and VAT

1 ladies cotton dress which cost €800 (12% duty)

(Standard Rate does not apply as goods subject to import duty exceed €700)

Value for Customs Duty is €800. Customs Duty @12% = €96

Value for VAT is €896 i.e. €800 + €96. VAT @ 23% = €206.08

Total duties and VAT due is €96 + €206.08 = €302.08

2. Example of Standard Rate of Duty and VAT

1 ladies cotton dress which cost €400 (12% duty); 1 digital camera which cost €500 (0% duty) and 10 mens cotton shirts with a total cost of €600 (12% duty)

Customs Duty:

Dress is valued less than €430 and is allowed under the duty-free allowance.

Digital camera is 0% duty and is not counted for Customs Duty.

The standard rate of duty of 2.5% applies to the shirts as their value does not exceed €700, therefore €600 @ 2.5% = €15 Customs Duty due.

VAT:

Dress is allowed under the travellers allowance.

The combined values of the camera (€500) and the shirts (€600) + the Customs Duty of €15, i.e. €1,115, is the value for VAT.

So €1,115 @ 23% = €256.45 VAT due

Total due is €15 Customs Duty + €256.45 VAT = €271.45

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10. Customs Procedures

If you are arriving in Ireland:

  1. directly from a non-EU country, or
  2. from a non-EU country via another EU country (e.g. New York – London - Dublin)** , or
  3. from the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands or Gibraltar

you must clear Customs by going through either the Green or Red Channel regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

Use the Green Channel if you have goods:

Use the Red Channel if you:

  • are in doubt, or
  • have goods the value of which is more than the allowances you are entitled to, or
  • have prohibited or restricted goods

** If you travel as at (b) above you must go through the Green or Red Channel, as appropriate, unless All your baggage (hand luggage and hold luggage) was cleared by Customs at your first airport or seaport of arrival in the EU. If all your baggage has been cleared by Customs on arrival in the EU you may exit by the Blue Channel. (The Blue Channel is a facility for intra-EU travellers exiting the baggage collection area. However, Customs Officers may intervene in the Blue Channel where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that a national prohibition or restriction on importation is being breached or that an offence involving excisable products is being committed.)

Travellers are reminded that entry into either the Green or Red Channel is effectively a Customs declaration.

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11. Prohibited or Restricted Goods

Certain goods may not be imported from outside the EU. The principal items are:

  • dangerous drugs,
  • indecent or obscene goods,
  • plants or bulbs,
  • live or dead animals,
  • poultry, birds or eggs,
  • hay or straw or articles packed with these materials,
  • with specific exceptions meat or meat products, milk or milk products and certain foodstuffs.

Certain other items may only be imported under licence, such as:

  • domestic cats and dogs (pets),
  • firearms and ammunition,
  • fireworks and explosives.

For further information, see Prohibitions and Restrictions which contains a full list of prohibited and restricted items, or contact any Revenue Office.

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12. Cash Controls

If, on entering or leaving the EU, or travelling to or from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, via an Irish port or airport, you are carrying cash of a value of €10,000 or more you must present a completed declaration form to Customs. Cash includes its equivalent in other currencies or easily convertible assets such as non-crossed cheques.

Declaration forms are available from Customs offices at all ports and airports.

Separately, under the Criminal Justice Act 1994, as amended by the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2005, a Customs Officer may search for, seize and detain any cash which is being imported into or exported from the State if it is not less than €6348.69 and the officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting that:

  1. the person is importing or exporting, or intends to import or export, from the State an amount of cash which is not less than €6348.69, and
  2. the cash directly or indirectly represents the proceeds of crime or is intended by any person for use in connection with any criminal conduct.

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13. Crews Allowances

The following reduced allowances apply to international transport crews for tobacco products, spirits and wine. All other allowances are the same as for travelling passengers.

Tobacco Products:

  • 40 Cigarettes or
  • 10 Cigars or
  • 20 Cigarillos or
  • 50grms Tobacco

Alcohol Products:

  • Spirits (Brandy, Vodka, etc): 0.35 litres or
  • Intermediate Products: 0.50 litres
    Alcoholic drinks not exceeding 22% vol.
    e.g. port, sherry, sparkling wine, some liqueurs, etc.)

Wine and Beer:

  • Still Wine: 0.75 litres
  • Beer: 4 litres

Last Updated: December 2013

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