Let’s say I want to bring only thousands of condoms in my suitcase when traveling. Doesn’t matter if it’s with me on the plane or sent separately. Will I get in trouble for being suspected of smuggling and reselling merchandise? Is it unlikely for it to be counted as personal use? What’s the rules of bringing the same item in large quantities? I’m traveling from Norway to Iraq. I’m staying there for a month or two and want to share them with relatives/friends.

  • 22
    How long would your trip be? 1000s of condoms for a weekend is unlikely to be viewed as ‘for personal use’, for example. It’s pretty difficult to think of a reason why anyone would want to bring a suitcase full of condoms and nothing else when travelling, other than for commercial reasons.
    – Traveller
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 22:09
  • 15
    Is this an actual problem you are facing, or are you just asking about condoms as an example where really you are concerned about carrying thousands of laptops/phones/jewels/etc.?
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 7:03
  • 60
    If you do this, I sincerely hope the customs officers asks "Business or pleasure?" with a straight face :P
    – marcelm
    Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 8:49
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Willeke
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 8:16

2 Answers 2


If you cross the boundary of a customs union (or the border of a country not part of one), then you are supposed to declare any imported goods if their total value exceeds the duty free allowance, which is usually around a few hundred €/£/$ or equivalent.

Since the total value would probably exceed that, you’re supposed to declare them and pay import taxes and duties on them.

Commercial imports usually have specific rules attached, for instance compliance with local regulations (and since they are health products those can be quite strict), possibly other taxes, and often different procedures.

The specifics would depend on the countries of origin and destination, the actual total value, and possibly more.

Even if you don’t reach thousands, very large quantities may make border officers think you will use them for work purposes (prostitution or adult movie production for instance), which may raise issues, either because either of those are illegal per se, or because that amounts to work which you may not be allowed to do while on a tourist visa or a visa-free visit. It could lead to refusal of entry. Even if you bring them in for charitable purposes, you could be considered trying to “pervert” people or similar things. Again, this may vary a lot based on the country and other details.

Note that customs routinely scan check-in luggage before delivery, and condom wrappers in large quantities would probably draw attention.

  • 1
    Be sure that condoms are "legal" at all intermediate stops and at your destination. Lightly consider alternative landings forced by weather/aircraft issues.
    – waltinator
    Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 16:45
  • 11
    Also, a suitcase full could be considered "commercial" even if the total value is below tax-free limits.
    – o.m.
    Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 16:49
  • 1
    The answer seems to be missing an important point. Commercial imports are not deemed commercial because they are above the duty free allowance. Instead, the duty free allowance applies because the import is not commercial in nature. And it is certainly possible to import goods above the duty free allowance for non-commercial purposes, some countries even have simplified procedures for that. That's why importing anything in bulk or in unusual quantities can create difficulties, even if the value is low or deliberately kept under the duty free allowance.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 18:09

Anything in bulk quantity such as food, electronics or various commodities can be flagged as commercial goods. Now it depends on the local laws of the country you are visiting, some countries allow sole prioritorship and home business so bulk goods could be justified for those use-case, but such business are not quite legal in Middle East, although some allow for home-businesses but its very difficult due process. It is advisable if you could make it less conspicuous by distributing those condoms in different suite-cases as all in one bag is going to be quite questionable. Again, it depends on circumstances, the inspection officer and the mood at the location, because condoms on their own are not illegal.

As @jcaron said, the goods could be flagged as to be used for prostitution which is illegal in Middle East. So just to be on the safe side, limit them and distribute them in different luggage cases or avoid them all-together as condoms are cheaply available in Middle East.

  • 1
    I think the last half of the last sentence is the right answer.
    – Willeke
    Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 8:13

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