Travelling to the EU from 1st January 2021? Read the latest advice

Travellers can continue to book and travel with confidence after the UK leaves the EU on the 1st January 2021. If you’re visiting Europe after this date it’s recommended to check out the specific government advice here.

What you need to know. ..

There are changes to the rules for travellers buying goods for personal use, carrying goods for use in their business and carrying cash from 1 January 2021.

Changes to rules on personal allowances following BREXIT

Goods for personal use: From EU and non-EU countries to GB

Following the end of the Brexit Transition period, those travelling to and from the EU to GB will be treated the same as those travelling to and from non-EU countries. This means there will be some changes for these travellers:

  • Up to 31 December 2020, travellers from the EU can bring in unlimited amounts of duty and tax paid goods for personal use. Minimum Indicative Levels (MILs) serve as a guide to establishing whether goods are for personal use.
  • From 1 January 2021 MILs will no longer apply. Instead, personal allowances will be applied to those travelling from the EU to GB.
  • If passengers exceed the personal limits, they will need to pay tax/duty on all the goods in that category, not just the excess amount.

250g tobacco OR

Goods for personal use: from GB to NI

UK residents do not have to declare goods that they carry from GB to NI, unless VAT and/or excise duty has not been paid on the goods and they exceed certain allowances.

Non-UK residents travelling from GB to NI must declare goods they are carrying if they exceed their allowances and may have to pay customs duty, if their goods do not qualify for relief. They will only have to pay VAT and/or excise duty if this has not already been paid in GB.

Travellers can check allowance details, make a declaration and pay any tax and duty due using the Online Service for Passengers here.

Goods for personal use: taking goods out of GB

Following the end of the Brexit Transition period, those travelling to the EU from GB will be treated the same as those travelling to non-EU countries. This means there will be some changes for these travellers:

  • Up to 31 December 2020 those travelling to the EU can still take unlimited amounts of duty and tax paid goods for personal use. Minimum indicative levels (MILs) serve as a guide to establishing whether goods are for personal use.
  • From 1 January 2021 MILs will no longer apply and GB residents travelling to the EU will be subject to the EU rules for non-EU passengers. Details are on the Europa website here.
  • Travellers departing the UK will be able to buy duty free excise goods once they have passed security controls at airports, ports, and international rail terminals on the same basis as currently applies to passengers travelling to non-EU destinations. This means those travelling from GB won’t have to pay UK tax and excise duties on alcohol and tobacco they take with them when they leave.

Changes to rules on commercial goods following BREXIT

Carrying commercial goods (Merchandise in Baggage): EU to GB from 1 January 2021

Merchandise in Baggage (MiB) means commercial goods intended for trade or business use, carried in accompanied luggage or a small motor vehicle. For example, if you buy jewellery on a trip to France and bring it back in your suitcase.

For goods below £1,500 in value and 1,000kg in weight, excluding excise and controlled goods: Check what is a controlled good here.

  • Travellers make a simple online declaration to HMRC and pay duty or tax due up to five working days before arriving in GB. Full details can be found here.
  • Travellers can also declare goods and pay duty and tax due using the red channel or red phone where these exist, in the same way as travellers from non-EU countries currently do.
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For goods above £1,500 in value or 1,000kg in weight, or excise/controlled goods of any value/weight:

  • Travellers or their agents submit a full electronic customs declaration to HMRC before arriving in GB. Full details are here.

Carrying commercial goods (Merchandise in Baggage): exporting out of GB

For goods below £1,500 in value and 1,000kg in weight, excluding excise and controlled goods:

  • Travellers make a simple online declaration to HMRC and pay duty or tax due up to five working days before departing GB. Full details are here.
  • At Ports and Airports with a red channel or red phone available, travellers can also declare goods and pay duty and tax due as travellers from non-EU countries currently do.

For goods above £1,500 in value or 1,000kg in weight, or excise/controlled goods of any value/weight:

  • At any port: travellers or their agents must submit a full electronic customs declaration to HMRC before leaving GB. Full details are here.

Changes to rules on travelling with cash following BREXIT

Controls on cash: EU to GB from 1 January 2021

Those travelling into GB from the EU with £10,000 or more in cash will need to make a declaration. You should make a declaration online at www.gov.uk/bringing-cash-into-uk, where you’ll find more information about cash controls. Travellers needing assisted digital support to make a declaration can call the HMRC Helpline on 0300 322 9434, Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm.

Alternatively, at ports and airports where there is a red channel, paper declarations will be available. If there is no red channel a red point phone can be used if available.

Please note, cash includes notes and coins, bearer bonds, banker’s drafts and cheques.

Controls on cash: when leaving GB to outside the UK from 1 January 2021

Those travelling to any country from GB with £10,000 or more in cash will need to make a declaration. They should make a declaration online at www.gov.uk/bringing-cash-into-uk, where they’ll find more information about cash controls. Travellers needing assisted digital support to make a declaration can call the HMRC Helpline on 0300 322 9434, Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm.

Alternatively, if you cannot use the online service to make your declaration you can ask for a paper form BOR9011 at the port or airport and post it in the drop box at the port or airport.

Please note, cash includes notes and coins, bearer bonds, banker’s drafts and cheques.

Links to other information for travellers

Passports: Different passport validity rules will apply for British Citizen passport holders when visiting Europe. Travellers must check their passport validity online using the passport checker as they may need to renew it earlier than planned. This does not apply to Ireland.

Travel insurance: European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may not be valid from 1 January 2021. Travellers should ensure they obtain insurance that covers their needs, particularly if they have a pre-existing medical condition. They can check what their travel insurance should cover here.

Driving abroad: Extra documents may be required to drive in Europe from January 2021. Travellers should check here to find out what is needed for their journey.

Pet travel: From January 2021, requirements for pet travel will change; existing pet passport will no longer be valid to enter the EU. Travellers should contact a vet at least four months before travel. Further details on the new requirements can be found here.

Data roaming: Rules around mobile roaming in Europe are changing from January 2021; mobile providers may charge more for calls or data when abroad. Travellers should check roaming policies with their mobile provider before travelling.

Must I Pay Customs Duty on Alcoholic Beverages From Duty Free Shops?

Duty free items are still subject to tax and duty in your home country.

Perhaps. First, let’s take a look at what “duty free shop” really means. You can find duty free shops in airports, on cruise ships and near international borders. Items you purchase in duty free shops have been priced to exclude customs duty and taxes in that particular country because you are buying those items and taking them home with you. You still have to pay customs duty and taxes in your country of residence.

Duty Free Example

For example, a US resident who buys two liters of alcohol in a duty free shop at London’s Heathrow Airport will pay less than the United Kingdom market price for those items because the Value Added Tax (VAT) and any applicable UK customs duty (on imported wine, for example) will not be included in the sales price. The duty free shop will package that US resident’s purchase in a way that prevents the US resident buyer from consuming the alcohol while still in the airport.

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As you return to your home country, you will fill out a customs form, itemizing (or “declaring”) all the goods you acquired or altered while you were on your journey. As part of this declaration process, you must state the value of these goods. If the value of all the items you declare exceeds your personal exemption, you will have to pay customs duty and taxes on the excess. For example, if you are a US citizen and you bring $2,000 worth of items into the United States from Europe, you will have to pay customs duty and taxes on at least $1,200 because your personal exemption from customs duty and taxes is only $800.

Alcoholic Beverages and Customs Duty

Alcoholic beverages are a special case. In the United States, customs regulations state that adults over age 21 may bring one liter (33.8 ounces) of alcoholic beverages into the US duty free, regardless of where it was purchased. You may bring more if you wish, but you will have to pay customs duty and federal exise taxes on the value of all the alcohol you bring home except for that first one liter bottle. If your port of entry is in a state that has more restrictive import rules, those rules take precedence, and you may have to pay additional state taxes. If you are traveling with your family, you can combine your exemptions. This process can work in your favor because each person gets the $800 exemption mentioned above.

Canadian citizens and residents over age 19 (18 in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec) may bring up to 1.5 liters of wine, 8.5 liters of beer or ale, OR 1.14 liters of alcoholic beverages into Canada duty free. Provincial and territorial restrictions take precedence, so you should check the regulations that apply to your particular port of entry. Exemptions on customs duty vary based on how long you were out of the country. Unlike in the US, Canadian family members traveling together cannot combine exemptions. You will have to pay customs duty and provincial sales tax or harmonized sales tax on any alcoholic beverages you bring back in excess of your duty free allowance. Provinces set their own limits on duty free importation, so it is always best to check with your provincial government before your trip begins.

British travelers age 17 or over entering the UK from a non-European Union (EU) country may bring one liter of spirits (over 22% alcohol by volume) or two liters of fortified or sparkling wine (less than 22% alcohol by volume) with them. You may also split these allowances and bring in half the allowed amount of each. Your duty free allowance from non-EU countries also includes four liters of still wine and 16 liters of beer, in addition to the allowances stated above. If you bring alcoholic beverages in excess of these amounts, you may have to pay UK excise duty. As in Canada, you may not combine your duty free exemptions with family members.

The Bottom Line

Check your country’s alcoholic beverage importation policy before you leave home. Write down local prices for liquors you think you would like to bring home with you and carry that list when you visit duty free shops. This way, you will be able to tell if the discounts available at duty free shops are deep enough to save you money even if you have to pay customs duty and exise taxes when you return home.

Must I Pay Customs Duty on Alcoholic Beverages From Duty Free Shops?

Duty free items are still subject to tax and duty in your home country.

Perhaps. First, let’s take a look at what “duty free shop” really means. You can find duty free shops in airports, on cruise ships and near international borders. Items you purchase in duty free shops have been priced to exclude customs duty and taxes in that particular country because you are buying those items and taking them home with you. You still have to pay customs duty and taxes in your country of residence.

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Duty Free Example

For example, a US resident who buys two liters of alcohol in a duty free shop at London’s Heathrow Airport will pay less than the United Kingdom market price for those items because the Value Added Tax (VAT) and any applicable UK customs duty (on imported wine, for example) will not be included in the sales price. The duty free shop will package that US resident’s purchase in a way that prevents the US resident buyer from consuming the alcohol while still in the airport.

As you return to your home country, you will fill out a customs form, itemizing (or “declaring”) all the goods you acquired or altered while you were on your journey. As part of this declaration process, you must state the value of these goods. If the value of all the items you declare exceeds your personal exemption, you will have to pay customs duty and taxes on the excess. For example, if you are a US citizen and you bring $2,000 worth of items into the United States from Europe, you will have to pay customs duty and taxes on at least $1,200 because your personal exemption from customs duty and taxes is only $800.

Alcoholic Beverages and Customs Duty

Alcoholic beverages are a special case. In the United States, customs regulations state that adults over age 21 may bring one liter (33.8 ounces) of alcoholic beverages into the US duty free, regardless of where it was purchased. You may bring more if you wish, but you will have to pay customs duty and federal exise taxes on the value of all the alcohol you bring home except for that first one liter bottle. If your port of entry is in a state that has more restrictive import rules, those rules take precedence, and you may have to pay additional state taxes. If you are traveling with your family, you can combine your exemptions. This process can work in your favor because each person gets the $800 exemption mentioned above.

Canadian citizens and residents over age 19 (18 in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec) may bring up to 1.5 liters of wine, 8.5 liters of beer or ale, OR 1.14 liters of alcoholic beverages into Canada duty free. Provincial and territorial restrictions take precedence, so you should check the regulations that apply to your particular port of entry. Exemptions on customs duty vary based on how long you were out of the country. Unlike in the US, Canadian family members traveling together cannot combine exemptions. You will have to pay customs duty and provincial sales tax or harmonized sales tax on any alcoholic beverages you bring back in excess of your duty free allowance. Provinces set their own limits on duty free importation, so it is always best to check with your provincial government before your trip begins.

British travelers age 17 or over entering the UK from a non-European Union (EU) country may bring one liter of spirits (over 22% alcohol by volume) or two liters of fortified or sparkling wine (less than 22% alcohol by volume) with them. You may also split these allowances and bring in half the allowed amount of each. Your duty free allowance from non-EU countries also includes four liters of still wine and 16 liters of beer, in addition to the allowances stated above. If you bring alcoholic beverages in excess of these amounts, you may have to pay UK excise duty. As in Canada, you may not combine your duty free exemptions with family members.

The Bottom Line

Check your country’s alcoholic beverage importation policy before you leave home. Write down local prices for liquors you think you would like to bring home with you and carry that list when you visit duty free shops. This way, you will be able to tell if the discounts available at duty free shops are deep enough to save you money even if you have to pay customs duty and exise taxes when you return home.

Source https://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/at-the-airport/security-customs/travel-advice-to-europe-after-leaving-the-eu-from-the-1st-january/

Source https://www.tripsavvy.com/must-i-pay-customs-duty-on-alcohol-duty-free-shops-2972936

Source https://www.tripsavvy.com/must-i-pay-customs-duty-on-alcohol-duty-free-shops-2972936

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