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Customs

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

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

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 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.

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.

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

There are limits on how much tobacco you can bring into the UK for personal use or as a gift without paying tax and duty charges.

The duty-free tobacco allowance for customers aged 17 or over is:

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

If you exceed these limits, you must make a declaration and pay any tax and duty before entering the country.

You can check allowances and make a declaration on the UK government website.

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

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.

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

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.

Claiming VAT on purchases made in the UK

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

Related information

Travel Documents

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

Find out more
Travel requirements

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

Find out more
Prohibited items

What you can and cannot take on board as luggage.

Find out more