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 when travelling between the UK and the EU:
If you're carrying more than €10,000 in cash or alternative value (or the equivalent amount in another currency) when leaving your country, you will need to declare it. Find out more.
Going from the UK to the EU:
- Travellers under the age of 15 may need to declare goods purchased in the EU, and pay VAT and customs duties, if they are worth more than €150
- Travellers above the age of 15 may need to declare goods purchased in the EU, 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. 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.
For passengers travelling to France
When you arrive, you may see French customs officers on the platform carrying out routine checks.
For passengers travelling to Brussels
When you arrive, you may see Belgian customs officers on the platform carrying out routine checks. You may also be asked to show your negative coronavirus test. 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, you may be subject to on board controls by Belgian customs between Lille and Brussels. We will update this page as soon as we know more.
Alcohol and tobacco
There are limits to how much alcohol you can take from the UK to the EU. Please read our alcohol policy before travelling.
If you are over 17, you can bring in one from the following:
- 200 cigarettes
- 100 cigarillos
- 50 cigars
- 250g tobacco
- 200 sticks of tobacco for electronic heated tobacco devices
You can split this allowance - so you could bring in 100 cigarettes and 25 cigars (both half of your allowance).
Taking personal food, plant, and animal products from the UK 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 (apart from bananas, coconuts, dates, pineapples and durians)
- plant products
Check the rules about taking fruit, vegetables and other plants or plant products into the EU on the European Commission website.
Taking personal food, plant, and animal products from the EU to the UK
You can take the following with you into the UK from the EU:
- Other animal products, for example, fish, eggs and honey
You can bring in any plants or plant products as long as they’re:
- free from pests and diseases
- for your own consumption
For passengers travelling from the EU to the UK controls on plants and plant products will be phased in during 2021 and 2022. Passengers will need phytosanitary certificates for:
- high-priority plants, which includes plants for planting, from 1 January 2021
- all other regulated plants and plant products from January 2022
Find out more about taking personal food plant and animal products from the EU into the UK.
Duty free purchased and claiming VAT
Claiming VAT when travelling from the EU to the UK:
Non-EU residents may be able to claim back VAT for purchases made in the EU from retailers that are part of the VAT refund scheme. Please note the minimum qualifying amount is different by country. VAT refunds can only be paid by bank transfer.
• Find out more when travelling from France to the UK
• Find out more when travelling from Belgium to the UK
• Find out more when travelling from the Netherlands to the UK
Important: Please arrive at the station a little earlier than usual if you plan to claim a VAT refund. Please note that VAT refunds are credited automatically, and you will not be reimbursed in cash at the station.
Claiming VAT when travelling from the UK to the EU:
Unfortunately, as of 1 January 2021 the UK no longer operates Tax Free shopping and travellers to the UK will no longer be able to purchase items in store under the VAT Retail Export Scheme. Find out more information.