If you are planning to travel into or out of the UK, there are rules about what goods you can bring with you without paying duty or VAT in the UK. Some goods are also banned or restricted by law.
HM Customs and Excise has a duty to protect the UK from drugs, firearms and other harmful goods, and to stop smugglers evading taxes that fund vital public services. To do this we carry out checks on some travellers. If we stop you and ask you about your baggage, please co-operate as we need your help to prevent smuggling.
From 1 May 2004 ten new countries joined the EU. Special rules apply if you bring cigarettes and some tobacco products into the UK from some of these countries.
There are heavy penalties for smuggling, so:
- Never carry anything into the UK for someone else.
- Never bring banned goods into the UK.
- If you are driving, make sure that everyone travelling with you knows what goods are banned or restricted. If you smuggle goods in a car, the car may be seized by Customs.
- If you are in doubt, speak to a Customs officer in the red channel or use the red point phone.
- A pet may be tame, but rabies is a killer. Don’t even think of smuggling an animal into the UK. It could be carrying rabies and the consequences could be disastrous.
If you need further help or advice, please call our National Advice Service.
If you are not resident in the United Kingdom (UK) and receive income from a source in the UK or pay UK National Insurance Contributions (NIC) or both you may wish to contact The Centre for Non-Residents (CNR). They handle a wide range of operational and technical work (including compliance) relating to non-resident individuals, non-resident trusts and non-resident companies formerly dealt with by the Inland Revenue.