Customs regulations for travellers to Ireland
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.
Travelling to Ireland from the EU
Ireland has no restriction on the amount of cash you can carry in or out of the country, or a requirement to declare it, when travelling within the EU. However, under the Criminal Justice Act 1994 Section 38(1) as amended by the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2005 Section 20, if you are carrying at least €6,348.69 in cash, a customs officer may seize and detain the cash. The customs officer must have reasonable grounds for believing the cash represents the proceeds of crime or is intended for use in criminal conduct.
Excise duties 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.
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 (for example, 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.
Maximum quantity allowed
|Cigarettes (see Note below)
|Smoking tobacco||1 kg
|Spirits (whiskey, vodka, gin, etc.)
|Intermediate Products (e.g. sherry, port, etc., excluding sparkling
|Wine (only 60 litres of sparkling wine allowed)
Note: Since January 2014 a reduced allowance of 300 cigarettes applies if you purchased the cigarettes in Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania or Romania.
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.
Bringing in meat or dairy products
Only products which have been produced in accordance with EU rules may be imported for personal consumption. As a guideline, quantities should not exceed 10 kg. Generally, the products are on sale to the public in the EU country of origin, are appropriately packaged and have an identifying EU health mark. An EU health mark is an oval stamp with:
- The country code on the upper part, for example, UK
- An approval number in the centre
- The initials EC (European Commission indication) on the lower part.
Travelling to Ireland from countries outside the EU
Since 15 June 2007 if you are entering or leaving the European Union and carrying €10,000 or more cash you must make a declaration to the Customs authority of the member state you are entering or leaving. Under Regulation (EC) 1889/2005 you must lodge the declaration at the airport, seaport or land frontier through which you are entering the EU – see “How to apply” below. If you are travelling to or from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man you also must make a declaration. Cash includes:
- Currency in the form of banknotes or coins
- Bank drafts, cheques or money orders in bearer form, endorsed without restriction or with payee’s name omitted.
Under the Criminal Justice Act 1994 Section 38(1) as amended by the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2005 Section 20, if you are carrying at least €6,348.69 in cash, a customs officer may seize and detain the cash. The customs officer must have reasonable grounds for believing the cash represents the proceeds of crime or is intended for use in criminal conduct.Goods
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.
Maximum quantity allowed
Spirits (whiskey, vodka, gin, etc.)
1 litre or
Other goods (e.g. gifts, souvenirs, perfume, clothing, etc.)
€430 per adult
Your tobacco and intermediate products allowances are distributed on a fractional basis, i.e., you are allowed to bring in ½ 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:
- Explosives and fireworks
- 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, poultry or eggs
- Endangered species
- Meat and meat products, milk and milk products, and certain foodstuffs (with specific exceptions)
- Hay or straw (even if used as packing)
- Oral smokeless tobacco products (for example, Snus)
There is more information on prohibited and restricted goods on Revenue's website.
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. There are penalties for drugs offences in Ireland.
Bringing in meat or dairy products
You are prohibited from importing meat or dairy products for your personal consumption from almost all non-EU countries. Limited quantities of certain other products may be imported provided their country of origin is an EU approved country. Further information is available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine website on animal products imports for personal consumption.
How to apply
If you are coming to Ireland from a country outside the EU with €10,000 or more cash you must present a completed declaration form C& E 1889 (pdf) to the Customs at the airport or seaport when you are enter Ireland. If you fail to submit a correct form your cash may be detained by the Customs and you could be subject to penalties. There is further information about cash controls on the Revenue website.
You can find information on what goods you can bring with you for those travelling from the EU and for those travelling from outside the EU on the Revenue website. If you are in any doubt about the items you can or cannot import from within or outside the EU, you should contact the Customs Information Office.