Can the wine from the holiday country be taken home? What about cash, medicines and animal products? And when should you worry about expensive items such as high-quality photographic equipment or sports equipment before you go on holiday?
If you travel through the countries of the European Union, there are few restrictions. Goods for your personal use can almost all be taken across borders. Behind this is the right to free movement, a fundamental right of EU citizens. German customs has summarised the 27 member states of the EU.
Alcohol and tobacco
Alcohol and tobacco are classified by customs as “stimulants”. For private use, you may bring them back from your holiday without paying taxes.
Medicines and narcotics
The boundaries between so-called medicinal products on the one hand and narcotics on the other are also defined by customs.
If you are approached by customs officials, you must let them know if you are carrying amounts of more than 10,000 euros.
In addition to cash, this also includes so-called equivalent means of payment. For example, savings books, electronic money, some precious metals and precious stones. Jewellery, however, does not.
Exception: territories that belong to the EU but not to its customs area.
It sounds strange at first, but not every territory that is part of the EU also falls under its customs rules. Some islands, such as Helgoland in the North Sea, Aruba and the Canary Islands, have a special status.
For such territories, the complete customs rules of the EU do not apply, so there are sometimes different upper limits for the tax.
Exception: travel via a non-EU country such as Switzerland
Sometimes, for example, the journey leads from the EU country Italy through Switzerland. Of course, different rules may apply there as to what you are allowed to bring through the country.
If you enter Germany via a non-EU country, luxury foodstuffs remain tax-free if you can prove that the goods originate from free movement within the EU (e.g. with invoices/cash register receipts).
What you are allowed to take out of Germany and bring back from your holiday is basically the same as for travel within the EU. Some exceptions: Travel souvenirs may only be for the personal use or consumption of the traveller, for members of the traveller’s household or as a gift. The upper limits up to which you do not have to pay taxes have been summarised in detail by customs.
Alcohol and tobacco
Only travellers who are at least 17 years old are allowed to bring alcohol and tobacco into the EU.
The EU has quite strict rules against the import of animal products for private use. You can find them in detail at the German customs. One of the reasons for this is the danger of epidemics.
Other goods purchased abroad
You discover an MP3 player on holiday, have bought a new camera or find a nice watch? You often have to declare such goods and pay duties when you return home. Purchases up to a total value of 700 euros are free.
The type and value of the goods are decisive for the amount of duty. You should therefore keep the purchase receipt of your travel souvenirs and present it at the check-in.
If you no longer have a receipt, the customs office will determine the value of the goods. This is done either on the basis of prices from comparable imports or – if not known – by estimating the value of your travel goods.
If the value of the dutiable goods per traveller does not exceed €700, the duties will be calculated using a flat rate of duty or set in detail according to the provisions of the relevant regulations.
If you bring amounts of more than 10,000 euros out of or into the EU, you must declare this in writing to customs beforehand.
Savings bonds, cheques and shares are also covered by the regulation. Precious metals and precious stones, on the other hand, are treated as goods.
Protected animals and plants
Whether alive, stuffed or processed into goods: You are not allowed to bring species-protected animals and plants across the EU border.
This can apply, for example, to skin creams, medicines used in Asian medicine, animal souvenirs (e.g. skins) and exotic clothing (e.g. fur coats, leather belts and shoes). Cacti, orchids, corals, shells of mussels and snails may also be prohibited at customs.
Valuable items in your luggage
Customs classify luggage as travel items (e.g. sports equipment, photographic equipment or clothing), goods for personal consumption (e.g. hair shampoo, cream) and gifts. You may take these items with you for private use and bring them back to Germany.
Fake brands and clothing
You may only bring counterfeit and pirated products across the border for your private use.
We will take care of parking your car in the car park reserved for you and take you to the airport with our shuttle bus. Your car will be parked safely and securely in one of our car parks during your journey. You can conveniently book the right parking space for your next flight from BER Airport at www.dein-stellplatz.de.
We wish you a relaxing holiday!
With our all-round protection package, you are optimally covered for just €4.90, including a free extension for up to 24 hours if your return flight is delayed. You can also cancel free of charge up to the last minute. With a MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE!
You can find all the advantages here!
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