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.
Alcohol Tobacco Any other goods
42 litres of beer 200 cigarettes OR  £390 or £270 if travelling by private plane or boat
18 litres of still wine 100 cigarillos OR  
4 litres of spirit OR 9 litres of sparkling wine, fortified wine (e.g. sherry or port) or any alcoholic beverage of less than 22% ABV
You may combine these allowances,
provided that you do not exceed your
total alcohol allowance. For example, if you only bring back 4.5 litre of fortified wine (50% of your full allowance of 9 litres), you may also bring back 2 litre of spirits (50% of
the full allowance) to make up your 100% alcohol allowance. Please note, this is only an example and other combinations are also allowed.
50 cigars OR  
 

250g tobacco OR

 
  200 sticks of tobacco for heating  
  You can combine the above allowances, provided that you do not exceed your total tobacco allowance. For example, if you only bring back 100 cigarettes (50% of your full
allowance of 200), you may also bring back 25 cigars (50% of the full allowance) to make up your 100% tobacco allowance. Please
note, this is only an example and other combinations are also allowed.
 

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.

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.

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