Guidance

Bringing goods into Great Britain from outside the UK from 1 January 2021

Allowances mean you can bring a certain amount of goods into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) from outside the UK for your own use, without having to pay duty or tax.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

This page tells you what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

You can also read about the transition period.

Allowances mean you can bring in a certain amount of goods for your own use from outside the UK into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) without paying duty or tax.

When you’re bringing in goods you must:

  • transport them yourself
  • use them yourself or give them away as a gift

You cannot combine allowances with other people to bring in more than your individual allowance. If you go over an allowance, you must make a declaration for all the goods in that category. Your goods could be seized if you do not declare them.

Alcohol allowance

How much you can bring depends on the type of drink. You can bring in both:

  • beer – 42 litres
  • wine (not sparkling) – 18 litres

You can also bring in either:

  • spirits and other liquors over 22% alcohol – 4 litres
  • fortified wine (for example port, sherry), sparkling wine and alcoholic drinks up to 22% alcohol – 9 litres

You can split this last allowance, for example you could bring 4.5 litres of fortified wine and 2 litres of spirits (both half of your allowance).

You will have to pay excise duty and VAT on alcohol you declare. You may also have to pay customs duty.

Tobacco allowance

You can bring in one from the following:

  • 200 cigarettes
  • 100 cigarillos
  • 50 cigars
  • 250g tobacco
  • 200 sticks of tobacco for heating

You can split this allowance – for example you could bring in 100 cigarettes and 25 cigars (both half of your allowance).

You will have to pay excise duty, VAT and customs duty on tobacco you declare.

Alcohol and tobacco allowances if you’re under 17

There are no allowances for tobacco or alcohol if you’re under 17. You can bring alcohol and tobacco to the UK for your own use but you’ll have to pay duty or tax on them using an online service for passengers from 1 January 2021.

Allowance for other goods

You can bring in other goods worth up to £390 (or up to £270 if you arrive by private plane or boat). If a single item’s worth more than your allowance you pay duty or tax on its full value, not just the value above the allowance.

If you go over your allowance then you will pay customs duty on the total value of your goods. The rate:

  • is 2.5% for goods worth up to £630
  • depends on the type of goods if they’re worth more than £630

From 1 January 2021, you will be able to check your allowances, make a declaration and pay any tax using an online service for passengers.

You will also have to pay VAT at the standard UK rates.

Published 17 December 2020
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