Tuesday

19th Jan 2021

Bigger duty-free allowance for EU citizens

As of today, Europeans travelling home from non-EU countries have the right to bring into the bloc more duty free products, the European Commission announced on Monday (1 December).

Passengers travelling home by air or sea will be allowed to import into the EU tax free products worth up to €430, while those travelling by road or rivers up to €300. The limit until now had been €175.

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  • The previous rules have been in place since 1969 (Photo: Wikipedia)

The new rules also abolish quantitative limits for perfume, eau de toilette, coffee and tea, but introduce a limit of 16 litres for beer imports – beer had been the only alcoholic drink without such a limit so far.

Additionally, travellers will now be allowed to import four litres of wine, rather than two, as it had been the case until now.

However, the limit of one litre of drinks stronger than 22 percent alcohol by volume remains unchanged.

"Many of the previous rules, which have been in place since 1969, were no longer relevant to today's world. From today, citizens will benefit from a nearly doubled monetary threshold and more generously calculated limits for certain beverages when importing goods in their personal luggage into the European Union," EU taxation and customs union commissioner Laszlo Kovacs said.

"At the same time, due to the increased monetary thresholds member states will avoid administrative costs currently involved in collecting small amounts of import duties and taxes," he added.

The limit for cigarettes remains unchanged at 200, but EU states are now offered the possibility of reducing this figure to 40 if they decide the measure is needed to support health policies.

So far, almost half the EU states – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Britain, Spain and the Czech Republic – have chosen to keep the limit of 200 cigarettes.

The other EU countries will lower the limit to 40, while Greece and Hungary will only allow imports of 200 cigarettes for air travelers.

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