In October we are planning to visit the UK: what are we allowed (or not) to take with us as treats for friends and family?
When entering the UK from an EU country like France, there are now similar restrictions to those facing those traveling in the opposite direction as to what you can or cannot take with you.
However, new rules restricting certain foods are mostly not yet in place in the EU to UK direction.
Read more: Post-Brexit rules for importing items into France from the UK
The restrictions in place this year mainly concern, for example, duty-free tobacco and alcohol, bringing in large sums of money or expensive gifts and souvenirs.
This article focuses on holiday visits to the UK, not returning to the UK from France, or carrying large amounts of furniture etc. from a second home (we will talk about this in a future article).
Bringing food to the UK
The good news here is that the UK has so far delayed most restrictions and checks on the import of certain foods from the EU, and that’s not expected to change until next year.
This means you can still bring meat and dairy products, fish, eggs, honey, fruits, vegetables and most seeds. In other words, you are currently free to consume foie gras, pâté and French cheese.
However, the The UK government website says there are already restrictions on bringing in plants for planting and certain types of seeds for planting.
In general, therefore, the food “treats” that you would like to bring will not be a problem this year.
For future reference, this page clarifies the types of food that can be brought from anywhere in the world without problem, such as cakes that do not contain fresh cream and breads (but not sandwiches containing meat or cheese).
Tobacco and alcohol
The limits on these items, before UK VAT, customs and excise duty apply, are generous and probably won’t be a problem for a few bottles of friends and family, but watch out for quantities of spirits .
- 42 liters of beer
18 liters of still wine,
as well as…
- 4 liters of spirits and liqueurs with more than 22% alcohol or 9 liters of fortified wines such as port or sherry and other alcohols up to 22%, or sparkling wine
These last two allowances can be divided, for example half the amount for spirits and the other half for fortified wine.
- 200 cigarettes
- 100 cigarillos
- 50 cigars
- 250g of tobacco
- 200 tobacco sticks for e-cigarettes
You must declare any cash or traveller’s checks of £10,000 or more brought into the UK. This also applies if a family group earns more than that combined.
This must be done within 72 hours of travel, and you can do it online hereto enter Britain
You can also report by telephone on 0044 (0)300 322 9434 or at the UK port or airport on a form.
Bring gifts or souvenirs
In theory, expensive items purchased in France and transported, in particular gifts or souvenirs from travellers, must be declared if they exceed certain personal allowance amounts, per person (this does not concern your own clothes and toiletries, etc. . that you bought in France and that you use during the trip and that you take back).
So, for example, you have to be careful if “treats” for the family are in the nature of expensive fashion items, jewelry or electronics, etc.
Amounts can go up to £390 per person. If you exceed, you pay VAT and duty on the full value of the goods, not just the value above the allowance.
Duty is not payable if there is proof that the goods are manufactured in the EU. Proving the latter is easier when the total value of the items is less than £1,000. In this case, the labels and the packaging are sufficient, otherwise you may be asked to present an invoice with precise information on the origin.
If you need to report, you can do so online within five days of arriving in the UK at This site.
The UK customs service, HMRC, also has a helpline for more information on 0044 (0) 300 322 9434.
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