Holidays in Europe: how much alcohol and tobacco can you take in your suitcase?

It is possible to bring tobacco and alcohol back to France, but in limited quantities
It is possible to bring tobacco and alcohol back to France, but in limited quantities (©Adobe Stock/Illustration)

There Alcohol and tobacco are often cheaper in some European countriesTravelers are tempted to bring it in their suitcases and sometimes in large quantities.

But be careful, not everything is allowed. It exists a border above which penalties may apply. We take stock.

For alcohol

Limoncello from Italy, sangria from Spain… As a souvenir or for personal use, it is not uncommon to bring alcohol with you when you return to France.

However, certain conditions must be met if you do not want to be caught by customs. Therefore, it is mandatory to be of legal age and to comply with the permitted quantities per person with the following restrictions:

  • Spirits (whisky, gin, vodka, liqueurs): 10 liters per person;
  • Intermediate products (port wine, vermouth, etc.): 20 liters per person;
  • Wine: 90 liters per person;
  • Beer: 110 liters per person.

These quotas apply both to travel by private means of transport such as a car or bicycle and by public means of transport (plane, train, ship).

These quantities can also be combined, as explained on the website:

You can bring back 10 liters of whiskey + 20 liters of port + 90 liters of wine + 110 liters of beer. Or 10 liters of whiskey + 20 liters of port wine + 60 liters of sparkling wine (champagne or crémant) + 30 liters of wine + 110 liters of beer.

For tobacco

Here, too, the quantities are limited. They were even revised downwards by an amendment to the Finance Amendment Act published on July 31, 2020. Before this new legislation, it was possible to bring back 800 cigarettes, equivalent to four cartridges.

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Here are the current limits:

  • 200 cigarettes (one carton);
  • 100 cigarillos;
  • 50 cigars;
  • 250 grams of smoking tobacco.

The situation changes when the tobacco comes here‘Andorra, in accordance with the EC/Andorra agreement of June 28, 1990. It is therefore possible to bring back from this country: 300 cigarettes or 150 cigarillos or 75 cigars or 400 grams of smoking tobacco.

As with alcohol, these amounts are cumulative.

And outside the European Union?

If you are returning from a country outside the European Union or from an overseas territory, the Canary Islands or the Channel Islands, the same threshold applies to tobacco but not to alcohol. In fact, it is possible to bring back a maximum of: 4 liters of wine, 16 liters of beer, 1 liter of spirits and 2 liters of alcohol less than or equal to 22 degrees (Port, Madeira, Vermouth).

What happens if the quantities are exceeded?

If you exceed the permitted amounts, Penalties may apply. Knowledge, a fine of 750 eurosconfiscation of proceeds and a fine of prison up to one year.

It is also possible that the traveler has a right of consumption. It is about one VAT which refers to a crowd. The traveler must therefore pay these taxes according to the number of cigarettes or bottles of alcohol that exceed the permitted limit. These taxes are defined according to a specific scale.

Any final advice? Keep your receipt as you may be asked for it at customs controls.

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Kaddouri Ismail

I am Ismail from Morocco, I work as a blogger and online marketer. I am also the founder of the “Mofid” site, in which I constantly publish many important articles in the field of technology, taking advantage of more than 5 years of experience working in the field. I focus on publishing in a group of areas, the most important of which are programming, e-marketing, digital currencies and freelance work.

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