Travelling from outside the EU

Customs controls on arrival at the airport or port

Red and green channels 

You should select either the green or the red channel if you are arriving:

  • directly from a non-European Union (EU) country
  • or
  • from the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands or Gibraltar.

Use the green channel if you have goods that:

  • are within your duty-free allowances
  • and
  • are not prohibited or restricted.

Use the red channel if:

  • you have more than your duty-free allowance of goods
  • you have prohibited or restricted goods
  • or
  • you are in doubt.

Blue channel

The blue channel is a facility for intra-EU travellers exiting the baggage collection area. However, customs officers can carry out selective checks on travellers using the blue channel. The purpose of those checks is to combat the smuggling of prohibited and restricted goods or excise offences.

You should use the blue channel (EU arrivals) only if:

  • If you are arriving from a non-EU country through an EU country (for example, New York – Frankfurt – Dublin)
  • and 
  • all your baggage (hand luggage and hold luggage) was cleared by customs at your first airport or port of arrival in the EU.

otherwise, use the red or green channel.

By choosing the green or red channel, you are effectively making a customs declaration.


You must declare the following to a customs officer at the airport or port:

- goods in excess of your allowances

- prohibited or restricted goods.

Further information

If you need further information contact Customs.