Duty Free and Tax Free

What is Duty Free and Tax Free?

Duty free is free of the duties that governments impose on imports and exports.
Tax free usually applies to purchases within the European Union where you can claim the tax back when you leave.

Which countries are in the EU?

Currently, the EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

If I am arriving from a non-EU country, what can I bring with me?

Your allowances if you are arriving from a non-EU country are:

  • 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g of tobacco
  • 4 litres of still wine
  • 16 litres of beer
  • 1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs over 22% volume; or 2 litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine or other liqueurs
  • Up to £390 worth of all other goods including gifts, perfume and souvenirs (£270 if arriving by private plane or private boat). If you exceed this you will have to pay tax.

Remember you will need to bring them in yourself and you are not allowed to sell anything on.

If you are over these allowances, you will need to go through the red Customs channel.

Can I mix and match the allowances?

Yes, you can do this in the alcohol category and the tobacco category, as long as you do not exceed your total allowance. So you could bring in 100 cigarettes and 50 cigarillos – which would be 50% of your allowance of either and so be allowed.

If I am arriving from an EU country, what are my allowances?

Again, as long as you transport the goods yourself and intend to use them yourself, you can bring in an unlimited amount from the EU. However, you may well be stopped and asked questions if you bring in more than:

  • 800 cigarettes, or 400 cigarillos, or 200 cigars, or 1 kg of smoking tobacco
  • 110 litres of beer
  • 10 litres of spirits
  • 90 litres of wine
  • 20 litres of fortified wine e.g. port or sherry

When do I need to go through Customs?

If you started your journey within the EU and you do not have anything to declare you can use the blue exit. If you started outside the EU, then you can use the green exit if you have nothing to declare or the red one if you do.

If you are connecting through the airport, if you have arrived from an international country and are connecting to a UK airport, you will need to go through customs. If you are transferring to another international destination, you will not need to go through customs.

What if I want to shop at duty free but I don’t want to take my purchases away with me?

Luton Airport offers a Shop & Collect service. If you are travelling with the UK or EU you can buy your goods at Duty Free and collect them upon your return. You will just need to show your proof of purchase at the Arrivals Aelia shop.

Where is Duty Free located at Luton Airport?

Aelia Duty Free is located to the right in the Departure Lounge as you come in from Security, around from Starbucks. There is also an Arrivals shop just after Baggage Reclaim.

What if I have a connecting flight, does the 100ml rule apply?

If your connecting flight is within the EU, as long as when you purchased your duty free liquid items it was packaged into a tamper evident bag and you have kept your proof of purchase, you can take it through the airport to your next flight. If you are connecting within the US or Canada, you will need to place it in your hold luggage.

Are there any banned goods?

Yes, there are comprehensive lists of banned items but in general Customs will seize:

  • Illegal drugs
  • Weapons such as knives
  • Self-defence sprays
  • Plants or animals that are endangered
  • Meat and dairy products – particularly from non-EU countries
  • Items or material deemed as offensive

There are also other items that have restrictions.