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Updated : 01/03/2017

VAT refunds and excise duties

VAT refunds

If you are visiting from outside the EU you are entitled to a VAT refund on goods you have bought during your stay in the EU if the goods are shown to customs on departure within three months of their purchase together with the VAT refund documents. These are normally prepared by the seller although, as the scheme is voluntary, not all merchants participate. Some countries set a minimum value of purchases to qualify for a refund.

More on VAT

Excise duties

If you enter the EU from outside, you can bring with you goods free of VAT and excise duties for personal use within the limits set out below. The same applies if you come from the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar or other territories where EU rules on VAT and excise do not apply.

Alcoholic drinks

  • 1 litre of spirits over 22 % vol. or 2 litres of fortified or sparkling wine
  • 4 litres of still wine
  • 16 litres of beer

Tobacco products

There is a higher or lower limit depending on the country you are visiting if you are coming from outside the EU. If an EU country decides to apply the lower limits, it may choose to apply them only to land and sea travellers (Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia) or to all travellers (Estonia and Romania).

Higher limit

Lower limit

200 cigarettes or
100 cigarillos or
50 cigars or
250 g tobacco

40 cigarettes or
20 cigarillos or
10 cigars or
50 g tobacco

Other goods including perfume

Up to a value of EUR 300 per traveller or EUR 430 for travellers by air and sea is allowed. Some EU countries apply a lower limit of EUR 150 for travellers under 15.

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