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Duty Free Allowances for travellers from the US to the UK
Travellers arriving back into the United Kingdom from the good old USA can now benefit from a slightly more generous duty free allowance. These are the first changes to take place in over 15 years.
Another first, and a significant change giving travellers much more personal flexibility, is the ability to take advantage of mixing and matching the alcohol and tobacco categories. For instance, instead of the set old allowance of 200 cigarettes OR 50 cigars, the new changes mean you can now mingle the quantities and bring, for instance, 100 cigarettes AND 25 cigars. In mathematical terms, 50% of your cigarette allowance and 50% of your cigar allowance. You can increase or reduce either category as long as the total amounts does not exceed the 100% allowance.
Allowance on gifts and souvenirs purchased in the USA has been increased to £340 and you can now also bring the following allowance into the UK without having to pay UK tax or duty:
200 cigarettes; or 100 cigarillos; or 50 cigars; or 250g of tobacco
4 litres of still table wine
16 litres of beer
1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs over 22 per cent volume; or 2 litres of fortified wine (such as port or sherry), sparkling wine or other alcoholic beverages of less than 22 per cent volume.
Another change is that restrictions has now been lifted on perfume and after-shave. However, these items must still be within the £340 limit.
If you are carrying any more than the above allowances with you, they must be declared by entering the red channel using the red point phone. Failure to do so is breaking the law and you can be prosecuted.
You must be 17 years of age or more to carry tobacco and alcohol allowances and you are not allowed to sell the duty free goods you bring into the UK.
If anything you bring in exceeds the value of the allowance, you are obliged to pay duty on the full amount of the item, not just the excess.
One strange twist to the new allowances is for those passengers arriving to the UK via private plane or pleasure boat, the allowance is actually lower. So, if you are a millionaire jetting in on your private jet or cruising in on your floating palace, your allowance is only £240.
Prohibited and restricted items include: Unlicensed drugs, offensive weapons, indecent & obscene material, counterfeit & pirated goods, meat, milk & other animal products, firearms, explosives & ammunition, certain plants & plant products, radio transmitters.
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