I'm traveling to Europe with an engagement ring (€500-€900 value) purchased in my home country, to give it to my European girlfriend. Must I declare it at the airport customs at each country I go through? Must I declare it at the final airport? Or is it considered a "personal use" item? If I will have to declare it in Europe, how much duties and taxes will I have to pay for it?


I'm a non-EU resident and purchased the engagement ring in my home country. I will give it to my girlfriend in Europe. She is an EU-resident, therefor the ring will remain in Europe after I come back to my home country.

I'm traveling from my home non-EU country. My connecting flights go through multiple countries both in North America and then Europe. The final flight arrives to an EU country from another EU country. I then will drive by car to the final destination country which is also in Europe.

  • I believe that this a situation where the the actual EU countries involved will make a difference to the actual duties, so you might wish to add them to the question, although the allowance has been set at the EU level ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/individuals/travelling/…
    – origimbo
    Oct 2, 2017 at 16:55
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    It seems you created multiple accounts. You can merge them; see the relevant help center entry.
    – chirlu
    Oct 2, 2017 at 19:16
  • @origimbo The EU is a customs union, so the member countries are supposed to use the same limits and tariffs, set at the EU level. They may have different import VAT rates, though. Oct 3, 2017 at 4:26

2 Answers 2


I think you are above the limit. Look at


The limit is 430 euros.

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    Hi and welcome to the site. This is a great basic answer, but it could definitely be improved by addressing two other important aspects of the question: where must the ring be declared, and how much duty and tax will be due?
    – phoog
    Oct 2, 2017 at 19:20
  • Bringing an item to a friend would be similar to buy something online. Your friend ordered it from you. Precises amount of tax, duty and others fees would depend on the country. Have look at the link below. ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/individuals/…
    – Ola Nilsen
    Oct 29, 2017 at 19:42

Unfortunately, without more information, a lot of the answers to your questions are "it depends". Let me state that I am not a customs agent, but researching this question has raised a few interesting differences in customs systems around the world.

Starting in North America, whether you ought to declare the ring depends on where you are. For example, the US customs form asks for the value of "you are bringing into the United States and will remain in the United States", which obviously doesn't apply in this case. On the other hand, the Canadian instructions for visitors require "you must declare all goods when you arrive at the first CBSA port of entry."

Once you reach the EU, some things get more straightforward. Your allowance in €430, which it seems you exceed. This means that you should declare the ring when it enters the EU (since you're carrying it as hand luggage at the first airport you arrive at), and pay the duty and tax of the relevant country. The actual process will vary depending on which airport you make your connection, as will the tax and duty to be paid(compare the UK and Germany). Once you've done this, you'll have nothing more to declare at your final destination (If you'd put it in your checked baggage instead, then it would be declared here).

  • If he were going to the US and proposing to his girlfriend there, the goods would indeed be staying in the US, so would have to be declared. The real problem here is not only must the goods be declared, but that an intention to become engaged exists - which in some countries may require a fiancé(e) visa. (In the US it would; I am not sure if it would in the EU.) Oct 3, 2017 at 2:22
  • Customs processing in the EU takes place at the final destination airport (unless that is too small to have customs at all), I matter whether checked or cabin luggage. Oct 3, 2017 at 4:22
  • @HenningMakholm I've found multiple sources saying that hand luggage is processed at the first airport, see eg. the penultimate paragraph at belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/bldcontenten/belastingdienst/… Do you have a reference saying the opposite?
    – origimbo
    Oct 3, 2017 at 8:10
  • The practical fact is that when connecting airside in an EU airport, you won't even have an opportunity to declare anything; customs is always after the baggage claim. Oct 3, 2017 at 8:38
  • @HenningMakholm Heathrow provide a telephone before the security checks at flight connections for this purpose. This is what I meant by the process varying by airport.
    – origimbo
    Oct 3, 2017 at 8:42

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