Security checks on travellers

Customs officers in Ireland are allowed carry out selective checks on all travellers at all points of entry to Ireland (air and sea). These checks are to ensure that you are not carrying prohibited or restricted goods, and to combat smuggling.


Excise duty and VAT on goods

Since June 30, 1999, the sale of duty-free goods to those travelling within the European Union (EU) has been abolished. This means that you will no longer be able to buy goods that are free of excise duty and VAT (value-added tax) if you are travelling within the EU.

Any goods you buy within the EU (with the exception of food, drink and tobacco products for on-board consumption) will now be subject to normal rates of excise duty and VAT.

Duty-free sales will continue as before, if you are travelling to destinations outside the EU.

Duty-paid and tax-paid goods bought in another EU country

You will not be charged any extra duty or VAT on purchases where the duty and VAT has been paid (e.g., goods bought in shops, supermarkets, etc.) in another EU country, provided the goods are for your personal use.

If your purchases are equivalent to or less than the quantities set out in the table below, they will usually be regarded as being for your personal use. If you exceed these quantities, you may have to demonstrate at Customs that the goods are for your personal use.

Goods Maximum quantity allowed
Cigarettes 800
Cigarillos 400
Cigars 200
Smoking tobacco 1 kg
Spirits (whiskey, vodka, gin, etc.) 10 litres
Intermediate Products (e.g. sherry, port, etc., excluding sparkling wine) 20 litres
Wine (only 60 litres of sparkling wine allowed) 90 litres
Beer 110 litres

You are not entitled to alcohol or tobacco allowances if you are aged under 17 years.

You should keep any receipts as proof that you have paid duty and VAT.

Travelling to Ireland from countries outside the EU

You are allowed to bring in to Ireland the goods shown in the table below, (subject to maximum limits) if you are travelling to Ireland from any country outside the EU (this includes the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar).

The goods in question may have been bought either duty-free/tax-free or duty-paid/tax-paid outside the EU.

Goods Maximum quantity allowed
Cigarettes 200 or
Cigarillos 100 or
Cigars 50 or
Tobacco 250g
Spirits (whiskey, vodka, gin, etc.) 1 litre
Intermediate products (sherry, port, sparkling wine, etc.) 2 litres
Still wine 2 litres
Perfume 60 mls (50g)
Eau de toilette 250 mls (0.25 litre)
Other goods, including beer, gifts and souvenirs 175 euro per adult and 90 euro per child under 15 years

Your tobacco and intermediate products allowances are distributed on a fractional basis, i.e., you are allowed to bring in litre of spirits plus 1 litre of port or 100 cigarettes plus 50 cigarillos.

You are not entitled to alcohol or tobacco allowances if you are under 17.

People travelling together as a group cannot combine their individual allowances to buy goods.

You should keep any receipts as proof that you have paid duty and taxes.

Prohibited or restricted goods

Certain goods cannot be imported to Ireland or can only be imported under licence.

The main items that cannot be imported or must be imported under licence are:

  • Firearms
  • Ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Offensive weapons
  • Indecent or obscene material (books, periodicals, prints and video recordings)
  • Plants or bulbs
  • Live animals or dead animals (including cats and dogs)
  • Birds or poultry
  • Endangered species
  • Meat and meat products and
  • Hay or straw (even if used as packing).


It is an offence to import or carry on your person controlled substances (drugs) when travelling to or from Ireland. (Examples of controlled substances are cannabis, cocaine, heroin and amphetamines). The Customs National Drugs Team has dog units located at airports and ferryports. The drug detector dogs are trained to detect drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, heroin and amphetamines.

Bringing in meat or dairy products

It is possible to bring in meat or dairy products for personal consumption, subject to certain restrictions.

If you are bringing in these products from the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA), you are allowed to bring in up to 10 kg of meat, milk and meat or milk products for personal consumption. Any of the products that you bring in should have an EU health mark on them. An EU health mark is an oval stamp with:

  • The initials B, DK, D, EL, E, F, I, L, NL, P or UK on the upper part
  • An approval number in the centre
  • The initials CEE, EF, EWG, EOK, EEC or EEG on the lower part.

Beef of UK origin can be imported if it is sourced from designated XAP (export approved premises) processing establishments and accompanied by the appropriate veterinary health certificate. The packaging should be labelled with the oval mark within which the lettering XAP, the approval number of the premises and the letters UK are clearly displayed.

If your journey began outside the EU or EEA, you are allowed to bring in animal products where:

  • Each animal product does not exceed 1 kg in weight; consists of powdered infant milk, infant food or special food required for medical reasons; is a packaged proprietary brand product that does not require refrigeration before opening and is contained in an unbroken and unopened package
  • OR
  • The product consists of honey, other edible bee products, snails, frogs' legs, fish or fishery products and does not exceed 1 kg in weight
  • OR
  • The animal product has been lawfully acquired in Northern Ireland and enters the State across the State's land frontier.

How to apply

If in you are in any doubt about the items you can or cannot import from within or outside the EU, you should contact the Office of the Collector of Customs and Excise.

Where to apply

Office of the Collector of Customs and Excise,
Dublin Castle,
Dublin 2.
Tel: (01) 647 5000

Customs and Excise Information Office,
Irish Life Centre
Lower Abbey St
Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 817 1920


We keep these regulations updated but because such regulations are subject to change without notice, we strongly recommend you to consult your local embassy or consulate before you make your move.
# 1 Directory of International Movers is not responsible for any loss resulting from the use of these customs information.



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