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Since Aer Lingus announced service to my airport starting next year, I've been planning a trip, likely this time next year. I'm likely bringing my laptop, my DSLR camera, and of course my phone. The page on revenue.ie

only mentions a personal exemption of 450 Euro, roughly (with today's exchange rate) the same amount in USD, with anything that has a value of more than that being charged a VAT on the entire value of the item.

My question is, given they're my personal property, and I've had them for a couple of years, must I declare them at Customs after I claim my luggage? Does the same apply for the clothes (underwear, shirts, pants) in my checked bag? I would like some clarification in order to calculate how much I should save every month for this trip. I will also ask this question to the Revenue and Customs Department themselves and will share any answer I receive.

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    Imagine everyone declaring their personal electronics like phones, laptops, tablets -- everyone has them and they are far beyond the personal allowance in value. The customs service would overload before the first plane empties. You are not bringing anything with the goal of leaving there therefore customs do not apply. Things get complicated if you have EU residency or family because authorities might thing it's a gift.
    – user4188
    Oct 3, 2022 at 4:24
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    As a general rule, customs is not interested in the personal goods of travellers (that they will be taking back with them), since any paid customs must be paid back when leaving. For more expensive items such as Laptops, Phones (that can swiftly rise over the €450) it is wise that have a copy of the receipt showing when and where they were bought. You must declare these on arrival and if you are required to pay cutoms go through the hassel of getting it refunded when leaving. A US friend of mine, who comes every year with his laptop and phone has never had any problems. Oct 3, 2022 at 4:25
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    @MarkJohnson Are you seriously telling me your friend goes through the red lane every time and tells them he has a mobile phone? What is their reaction? Oct 3, 2022 at 4:36
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    @lambshaanxy No, he asked the first time and they said it was OK. After that has gone though the green lane. Oct 3, 2022 at 5:00

2 Answers 2

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The duty-free allowance is only relevant for goods that you are importing (i.e., planning to leave) in the European Union. If you are traveling to a country with some personal possessions and plan to take those possessions back with you when you return, you generally do not owe any duty on them.

In theory, there are some forms you could be required to fill out, but in practice, a US citizen visiting the EU with a "normal" amount of personal goods will never be asked to do so. Use the green "nothing to declare" channel at customs (unless you have other goods that should be declared for some other reason) and you'll be completely fine.

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    This is the correct answer. Note: if you are stopped going through the green lane and asked you must declare the goods over the €430 amount. Duty-free allowances - Irish Tax and Customs: You can bring in goods free of duty and tax if their combined value is no more than: €430 if you are 15 or over Oct 3, 2022 at 5:22
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The 450 euro Customs exception is for goods you intend to leave in Ireland. As a tourist, you will be bringing your camera, laptop, used underwear etc with you back out of Ireland when you leave, so the limit does not apply.

Formally, this is known as "temporary importation" and it's possible to officially declare your goods so they're not subject to import duties. In practice, this is a huge pain in the ass and nobody ever does it unless the item in question is hugely valuable, and the EU as a rule does not care.

Anecdote: In another EU country, I once had to formally temporarily import a research prototype with an assessed value in the five digits that was mailed to me from overseas, so I could set it up and take it out of the EU again to a conference. This involved running around customs bond warehouses looking for people who could even accept the paperwork, and was not what most people would call a fun time.

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  • Yes, mail is more tricky than bringing personally. Alas, they go after a few-euro packets (from Asian shops and similar) very thoroughly after the limit was lowered from the original 20 €. The charges for the duty declaration can be easily larger than the actual worth of the goods. Oct 3, 2022 at 13:50
  • ewwww... used underwear... On a serious note, so long as they're not in their original packaging, I'm sure they can be brand spanking new. Since they're not packaged, the intent (to a customs officer) is not resale, therefore they're considered "for personal use".
    – FreeMan
    Oct 3, 2022 at 18:56
  • @FreeMan Unless they are women's pantyhoses in a man's suitcase. They used to be very sought after in Soviet Union, even from people from the western part of the Eastern bloc. Oct 4, 2022 at 13:20
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    Valid point, @VladimirFГероямслава. Unfortunately, these days, the customs officer would probably get in trouble for even asking about that kind of situation.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 4, 2022 at 13:22
  • It’s an interesting point that the situation frequent travelers take for granted is not actually spelled out in the documentation. Especially in a more corrupt country than Eire that could be an invitation for a shakedown. Oct 5, 2022 at 0:09

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