What is the maximum number of cigarettes and tobacco I can bring to the UK if coming from outside the EU?

And what is the penalty for being over the limit?

  • Are you asking for the penalty for being caught with undeclared goods over the allowed limit or are you asking for the amount of duty you have to pay if you declare the extra amount? – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jan 28 at 12:36

As you are coming from outside the EU you can bring:

  • 200 cigarettes

  • 100 cigarillos

  • 50 cigars

  • 250g tobacco

This can be split:

You can split this allowance - so you could bring in 100 cigarettes and 25 cigars (both half of your allowance).

(UK Gov website)

If you go over your allowance

You have to pay Customs Duty on anything over your allowance.

The rate is:

is 2.5% for goods worth up to £630

depends on the type of goods if they’re worth more than £630 - check by calling the VAT, Customs and Excise Helpline.

Inside the EU

This might help other users with a similar question.

Note that these countries are not part of the EU and outside EU rules should be followed:

The Canary Islands, the north of Cyprus, Gibraltar and the Channel Islands are not part of the EU for customs purposes - follow the rules for countries outside the EU instead.

You can bring:

  • 800 Cigarettes

  • 200 Cigars

  • 400 Cigarillos

  • 1kg Tobacco

Customs Checks

If a customs officer thinks you are bringing goods into sell he might stop you and ask:

the type and quantity of goods you’ve bought

why you bought them

how you paid for them

how often you travel

how much you normally smoke or drink

If you don’t give convincing answers the goods could be seized.

  • 2
    For none smokers/drinkers who get asks questions by custom officials. Goods can also be gifts, as long as you are not selling them or exceeding your allowance. – BritishSam Jan 28 at 9:56

The tobacco duty-free allowance for those aged 17+ is one from the following:

200 cigarettes

100 cigarillos

50 cigars

250g tobacco

You can split this allowance - so you could bring in 100 cigarettes and 25 cigars (both half of your allowance). If you exceed the limit you will have to pay the relevant excise duty eg 16.5% of the retail price plus £4.57 on a packet of 20 cigarettes https://www.gov.uk/duty-free-goods/arrivals-from-outside-the-eu

The penalty for contravening the rules is £250-£1000 per contravention; it is discretionary depending on the gravity/frequency of the irregularity and whether previous warnings without penalty have been given. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/excise-notice-301-civil-penalties-for-contraventions-of-customs-law/excise-notice-301-civil-penalties-for-contraventions-of-customs-law

  • Since OP is asking for a 'penalty', I would assume he means to ask what happens if you are caught with too much tobacco without declaring it. I don't know the UK rules, but I would assume that he will not only have to pay the regular duty fees. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jan 28 at 12:37
  • @Tor-Einar Jarnbo Thanks, I’ve updated my answer with information on the penalty rules. – Traveller Jan 28 at 13:09

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