Reader question: I understand that my personal duty free goods allowance when traveling from the UK to the EU by car or train is €300 and €430 if traveling by sea or air. If I take my car on the ferry to our second home in France, what limit applies?
Since the UK left the EU and its customs union, UK second home owners are limited in what they can bring to France as people come from other non-EU countries.
Read more: Crossing the Franco-British border now like going to the United States say French customs
We asked the French customs officers, who confirmed that a ferry is considered a sea voyage and therefore the €430 excess applies, even if you take your car on the ferry.
They said these limits apply to all UK-France travellers, whether they are, for example, French residents returning from vacation or Britons visiting a second home. These are European regulations and the lower allocation has been designed to take into account that some Member States have land borders with countries where prices are lower. Allowances are per person.
Allowance for UK tourists returning with souvenirs etc.
The allowance for children under 15 is €150 worth of goods. The allowances are mainly intended for tourists visiting the UK and returning with souvenirs, gifts, luxury goods, etc. They may apply to items such as toys, perfumes and electronics and to gifts purchased in the UK for people in France. Items like furniture or DIY materials for a French home would not be included in this. Customs officers can assess which items the duty allowances may or may not apply to.
You should not be taxed on your ordinary personal effects (clothing, toiletries) which are “reasonably necessary for the trip” and these will not be taken into account in the calculation of the allowance.
Please note that separate allowances apply for cigarettes and alcohol and these are not counted towards the €430.
Read more: Will Brexit mean caps on transporting alcohol from France to the UK
Apply for a ‘return goods waiver’ to transport items from France to the UK
Summary of post-Brexit rules for importing items into France from the UK
What you can and cannot bring to France from the UK