Customs regulations for travellers to Ireland

Introduction

Security checks on travellers

Customs officers 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

Cash controls

Ireland has no restriction on the amount of cash you can carry in or out of the country if you are travelling within the EU. There is also no requirement to declare the cash in these situations. 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 can seize and detain the money. The customs officer must have reasonable grounds to believe that the cash is the proceeds of crime, or that it is to be used in criminal conduct.

Excise duties and VAT on goods

The sale of duty-free goods to those travelling within the EU was abolished in 1999. This means that you cannot buy goods that are free of excise duty and VAT 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) are subject to normal rates of excise duty and VAT. Duty-free sales are available 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 and supermarkets) in another EU country, provided the goods are for your personal use.

If your purchases are within the limits set out below, they will usually be regarded as being for your personal use. If you exceed these quantities, you may have to demonstrate that the goods are for your personal use.

Alcohol and tobacco allowances for travellers to Ireland from EU

Goods

Maximum quantity

Cigarettes
800
Cigarillos 400
Cigars
200
Smoking tobacco 1 kg
Spirits (for example whiskey, vodka and gin)
10 litres
Intermediate products that contain 22% alcohol or less (for example sherry or port)
20 litres
Wine (of which only 60 litres can be sparkling )
90 litres
Beer 110 litres

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

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 can 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) on the lower part.

Travelling to Ireland from countries outside the EU

Cash controls

If you are entering or leaving the EU and carrying €10,000 or more in cash you must make a declaration to the Customs authority of the EU country you are entering or leaving. Under Regulation (EC) 1889/2005 you must lodge the declaration at the airport, seaport or land frontier that you are entering the EU, see ’How to apply’ below. If you are travelling to or from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man you must also 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 can seize and detain the cash. The customs officer must have reasonable grounds to believe that the cash is the proceeds of crime or that it will be used for criminal conduct.

Goods

You can bring the following goods into Ireland within the limits set out below, if you are travelling to Ireland from any country outside the EU (this includes the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar).

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

Allowances for travellers from outside EU

Goods

Maximum quantity

Cigarettes
Cigarillos
Cigars
Tobacco

200 or
100 or
50 or
250g

Spirits (for example, whiskey, vodka and gin)

Intermediate products that contain 22% alcohol or less (for example, sherry, port or sparkling wine)

1 litre or
2 litres

Still wine

4 litres

Beer

16 litres

Other goods (for example, gifts, souvenirs, perfume, or clothing)

€430 per adult
€215 per child under 15 years

Your tobacco and intermediate product allowances are distributed on a fractional basis. For example, you can 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.

Examples of items that cannot be imported (or must be imported under licence):

  • Firearms
  • Ammunition
  • 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)

Further information on prohibited and restricted goods is available on Revenue's website.

Drugs

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 ferry ports. The drug detector dogs are trained to find cannabis, cocaine, heroin and amphetamines. There are various penalties for drugs offences.

Bringing in meat or dairy products

You cannot import 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 cash or more you must present a completed declaration form C& E 1889 (pdf) to the Customs at the airport or seaport when you enter Ireland. If you fail to submit a declaration your cash may be detained by 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.

Where to apply

Customs Information Office

New Custom House
Promenade Road
Dublin
Ireland

Tel: +353 (0)1 877 6222, 877 6223
Page edited: 20 June 2019