16

What happens when you arrive at the border of Norway (as an EU citizen) and you get caught by the customs with an amount of alcohol (beer, liquor) that is greater than the allowed amount (link for 2018 here)?

Do you simply hand in the exceeding amount? Do you pay a fine? Or can you take the extra amount by paying import tax?

I'm not talking about commercial quantities, but more something like 10 liters of beer (that's 5 liters more than allowed).

I found a similar question here, but that one is more general and is not about Norway.

  • 4
    Not exactly your question but here is what you would have to pay if you did declare them using the simplified procedure for travellers. – Relaxed Jun 22 '14 at 13:28
  • From one story I heard (not personal experience, i.e. I can't guarantee it's accurate), once you get caught with undeclared alcohol, you won't avoid a fine. I.e. you likely won't get away with paying the tax on the extra (otherwise there'd be no incentive for people to declare it, and given the alcohol prices in Norway, there's a high incentive to try to smuggle it in). – Szabolcs Jun 22 '14 at 15:04
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If you are caught with smaller amounts of alcohol exceeding the allowed amount, the customs will offer you to accept a "forenklet forelegg", a kind of fixed rate fine used in the Norwegian legal system for minor issues, e.g. traffic violations or breach of the custom regulations.

For beverages with 22.1 to 60% alcohol by volume, the rates are as such (updated December 2018):

  • up to 1 litre more than the allowed amount: 400 NOK (41€)
  • up to 2 litres: 800 NOK (83€)
  • up to 3 litres: 1600 NOK (165€)
  • up to 4 litres: 2500 NOK (260€)
  • up to 5 litres: 3400 NOK (350€)
  • up to 6 litres: 4500 NOK (465€)
  • up to 8 litres: 7000 NOK (725€)
  • up to 10 litres: 9500 NOK (980€)

For beverages with 7.1 to 22% alcohol by volume, the rates are the same, but the limits are doubled, e.g. 400 NOK for up to 2l too much, 800 NOK for up to 4l too much, etc.

For beverages with 2.5 to 7% alcohol by volume, the amount are ten times higher, e.g. 400 NOK for up to 10l too much, 800 NOK for up to 20l too much, etc.

For beverages with less than 2.5% alcohol, there are no special customs regulations in Norway. Beverages with more than 60% alcohol are generally prohibited and attempting to smuggle such beverages will be punishable similar to smuggling of drugs and controlled substances.

There are similar fixed rate fines defined for exceeding the allowed amounts of cigarettes, tobacco, meat, fuel and exceeding the value limit for other goods. A complete list can be found in Norwegian here.

If you exceed the allowed amounts in multiple categories, the fixed rate fines (forenklet forelegg) will be added up to 20000 NOK (2070€). If the accumulated fixed fines exceed 20000 NOK or you exceed the amounts in the fixed fine list within any of the categories, the customs will hand you over to the police and demand a legal proceeding, in which you will be fined by a court. If you deny or refuse to accept the "forenklet forelegg", the customs will also commence a legal proceeding and you will be judged by a court.

If the issue is resolved with a "forenklet forelegg", you are allowed to keep the allowed amount of alcohol, but the exceeding amount will be confiscated.

So to answer your specific question, if you are caught with 10l of beer (with somewhere between 2.5 and 7% alcohol) and don't bring any other alcoholic beverages, you are allowed to bring 5l and have exceeded that amount by 5l. According to the law, if you accept the "forenklet forelegg", you will be fined 400 NOK, 5l of beer will be confiscated and you may keep the 5l of the allowed amount. In reality, it is not unlikely that you (at least for such a small violation) will only get an oral reprimand and be waved through.

  • Out of curiosity, what would the usual tax be had these amounts been declared at entry? – Andrew Lazarus Dec 4 '18 at 1:08
  • @AndrewLazarus I am not sure if it makes sense to quote a regularly changing price list for Norwegian alcohol duties here, since it can easily be found in English on the Norwegian Customs home page. I quoted the fines, since I couldn't find any official resource in English. For smaller amounts (up to 27l above the allowed limit) the duty for beer above 2.5%ABV is currently NOK 20 (€2) per litre. For larger amounts, the calculation is more complicated, there is an ABV specific alcohol tax, usually a non-returnable bottle tax and then finally value added tax on top of that. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Dec 4 '18 at 7:31
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Just to update you all as this is still trending on Google. I brought 7 cases of wine (84 bottles, 63L) in and got stopped by "toll". They let me keep 9 bottles (6.75L) of wine but I paid a fine of 9500 NOK. YES, 950 great British pounds. I played the stupid tourist. Oh I did not know. They played the custom official's and did their job. Also people I know bring 10 cases of wine in regularly; I just happened to be stopped so like with everything else in life that is illegal you just take your chances. Check their website for the minimum amounts as that's all your allowed. End of story.

  • If you didn't bring any tobacco or stronger alcohol, you are allowed to bring 4.5 litres of wine. The NOK 9500 fine is for exceeding that amount by 20l, so the customs showed leniency and allowed almost 40l to 'slip through' without fining you for that amount. The court would have added a nice amount to that fine if they had chosen to prosecute you. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Dec 4 '18 at 7:40
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You are allowed 27L over and above the duty free quota. see here. Read carefully for limits, spirits to 6L and nothing over 60%.

If you are carrying more than 33 litres of alcohol, you will attract attention. It might be better to ship it in, since you will be paying duty anyway.

  • 2
    The table you link to is for a simplified means of declaring goods. The question asks about being caught with undeclared goods. – DJClayworth Jan 29 '18 at 21:09
  • Well, no. The question mentions nothing about goods being undeclared, only being excessive. "Undeclared" is based upon a link, which may not have been properly researched. As well, there is a "permit" system. I regularly carry more than duty free limits and always declare. – mckenzm Jan 30 '18 at 22:48
  • @mckenzm: The question explicitly says “get caught”. – chirlu Dec 4 '18 at 16:20

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