Duty-free doubles for non-EU importsTravellers' tax-free limit rises from £145 to £300

01 December 2008

Travellers entering the UK from outside the EU are permitted to bring in up to £300 worth of goods duty-free from today. This doubles the old allowance of £145, which had stayed unchanged since 1994.

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Duty-free items

The increase applies to goods you bring into the UK with you and which are intended for personal use. As well as £300 worth of general goods (including gifts and souvenirs), travellers from outside the EU can bring in the following items duty-free:

  • 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
  • 4 litres of still wine (was previously 2 litres)
  • 1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs, or 2 litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine, or port and sherry  

The increased allowance was first proposed by Gordon Brown in 2004 and detailed in his 2006 Budget.

Travellers who enter the UK in private planes or boats cannot claim the full £300, but are permitted to bring in goods worth up to £210.   

Further increase in January 2009

In January 2009 the duty-free limit will rise again, to £340, to reflect changing exchange rates between the pound and the euro. For travellers in private planes or boats the 2009 limit will be £240. 

A further increase, to £1,000 in 2011, has been proposed but this has not yet been confirmed. 

Different rules for Internet imports

The new limits do not apply to mail-order goods, where separate rules apply. The duty-free limit for Internet goods from outside the EU is £105. This has also increased from 1 December and was previously only £18. For more details see www.which.co.uk/news/2008/11/online-shoppers-pay-less-duty-tax-from-december-161895.jsp