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CUSTOMS

Everything you need to know about custom regulations when travelling between Europe and the UK.

Custom regulations and checks

We strongly recommend checking the latest government advice before you travel – from both the country you’re departing from, and the country you’re travelling to. 

It is your responsibility to check applicable rules and laws about prohibited items before travelling.

Declaring cash

  • Declaring cash when entering or exiting the EU

If you're carrying cash of 10,000€ or more (or the equivalent amount in another currency), you must declare it to EU customs and complete an EU Cash Declaration Form.

Cash you must declare includes:

  • Banknotes and coins
  • Bearer negotiable instruments (eg. cheques, travellers’ cheques, promissory notes and money orders)
  • Gold coins, bars, nuggets or clumps

Find out more

  • Declaring cash when entering or exiting the UK

You must declare cash of £10,000 or more to customs when entering or exiting the UK.

If you’re travelling as a family or group with more than £10,000 in total (even if individuals are carrying less than that) you still need to make a declaration.

Cash you must declare includes:

  • notes and coins
  • bearer bonds
  • cheques and travellers’ cheques

Find out more

Declaring goods

DECLARING GOODS PURCHASED IN THE UK WHEN ENTERING THE EU

  • Travellers under the age of 15 need to declare goods purchased in the UK, and pay VAT and customs duties, if they are worth more than €150
  • Travellers above the age of 15 need to declare goods purchased in the UK, and pay VAT and customs duties, if they are worth more than €300

Important: French and Belgian customs officials will be on board some of our trains to enable declarations and carry out random checks. 

  • For passengers travelling to France

When you arrive, you may see French customs officers on the platform carrying out routine checks.  

If you’re travelling to Lille, there will be a designated area where you can declare your goods at the station. Please listen carefully to onboard announcements and look out for station signs when you arrive at your destination for more information.

If you’re travelling to Disneyland Paris, you will be able to declare goods purchased outside of the EU on arrival, at the designated customs booth on the upper level of the station.

  • For passengers travelling to Brussels

When you arrive, you may see Belgian customs officers on the platform carrying out routine checks. If you’re taking a connection, please allow at least 30 minutes to make your onward train.

  • For passengers travelling to Amsterdam or Rotterdam

If you're travelling to Amsterdam or Rotterdam, there may be customs officials on board carrying out checks during the journey. 

DECLARING GOODS PURCHASED IN THE EU WHEN ENTERING THE UK

There are limits on what you can bring into the UK for personal use or as a gift without paying tax and duty charges. You can find out more about the limits on the UK government website.

If you bring goods which exceed these limits:

  • you’ll have to pay duty and/or tax on all goods in that category, not just the value above the allowance;
  • you must make a declaration and pay any tax and duty before entering the country. You can do this up to 5 days before you travel on the UK government website;
  • your goods may be seized and you might be fined if you fail to make a declaration.

Important: please read our alcohol policy if you’re planning to carry alcohol on board.

Alcohol and tobacco

BRINGING ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO INTO THE EU FROM THE UK

  • Tobacco

Customers aged 17 or over get a duty-free tobacco allowance on products not intended for resale:

  • 200 cigarettes or
  • 100 cigarillos or
  • 50 cigars or
  • 250g tobacco

You may combine any of these tobacco products, but you must not exceed the total limit. For example, 50 cigarillos (half your allowance) + 25 cigars (half your allowance) = total allowance.

Find out more on the EU website.

  • Alcohol

Important: There are limits on how much alcohol you can take into the EU from the UK. Please read our alcohol policy if you’re planning to carry alcohol on board.

Taking personal food, plant, and animal products from the EU to Great Britain

  • Food

You can take the following with you into Great Britain from the EU for personal use: 

  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Other animal products, for example, fish, eggs and honey
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables 
  • Nuts and seeds

Additional health checks may be introduced in 2023. Find out more about bringing food into Great Britain from the EU.
 

  • Plant and plant-based products:

Regulated plants, including houseplants and cut flowers, need to meet plant health control requirements which may vary depending on the category the plant falls into.

Plant health controls may include one or more of the following requirements:

  • a phytosanitary certificate
  • pre-notifying the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)
  • plant inspection

Find out more about bringing plants or plant-based products into the UK. Houseplants fall under the category “plants for planting” on the UK government website.

If you need additional guidance about bringing produce or plants into the UK, please contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency

Taking personal food, plant, and animal products from Great Britain to the EU

  • Meat and Dairy products:

You cannot take the following with you into the EU:

  • meat or products containing meat
  • milk or dairy products

There are some exceptions, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons.

Check the rules about taking meat and milk products into the EU on the European Commission website.

  • Fruits, vegetables, and plants:

You cannot take the following into the EU unless you pay to have them inspected before you leave and get a ‘phytosanitary certificate’:

  • fresh fruit (except bananas, coconuts, dates, pineapples and durians)
  • vegetables
  • plants
  • plant products

Check the rules about taking fruit, vegetables and other plants or plant products into the EU on the European Commission website.

  • Food for consumption during the journey:

Sandwiches and snacks intended for consumption during the journey can include fruit, vegetables, meat or dairy products. 

Claiming VAT on purchases made in the UK

The UK no longer operates tax-free shopping and travellers visitors to the UK are will no longer be able to purchase items in store tax-free products to carry back in their luggage, under the VAT Retail Export Scheme. Find out more information.

  • Claiming VAT on purchases made in the EU when travelling from the EU to the UK:

Non-EU residents may be able to claim back VAT on purchases made in the EU from retailers that are part of the VAT refund scheme. Please note the minimum qualifying amount may vary by country.

You will need to show your purchases, receipt, passport and completed VAT refund form in your name to customs officers at the station to get your VAT refund form stamped. The customs office can be found after passport and luggage checks in Paris Gare du Nord, Lille Europe, Marne-la-Vallée (Disneyland Paris) and Brussels-Midi/Zuid. Please arrive at the station a little earlier than usual if you plan to claim a VAT refund.

Important: VAT refunds are not issued by the customs office. The retailer is responsible for issuing the refund.

We strongly recommend that you choose the “card refund” option at the time of purchase. If you do, your refund request will be sent automatically to the retailer once your VAT refund form has been stamped by customs. You won’t have anything else to do.

For any other refund methods, you will need to send the retailer the stamped VAT refund form.


Related information

Travel Documents

Everything you need to know about travel documents, visas and unaccompanied minors requirements.
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Travel requirements

Essential information on the latest travel requirements to help you plan your journey.

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Prohibited items

What you can and cannot take on board as luggage

Find out more

Image credits: © Getty; © Getty