So basically I will travel from Sofia, Bulgaria to UK, but I have a layover in Turkey. Previously I've flew the Bulgaria-UK route, but only within the EU borders.

Usually when I do so, I buy cigarettes from Bulgaria(in the bounds of 800 cigarettes, looking at this arrivals from EU countries UK regulation)

My concern is related to the arrivals from non-EU countries UK regulations as well as the turkish import regulations

Is there a problem if I enter Turkey with more than 200 cigarettes ? Is my travel considered from non-EU country when arriving in the UK ?

  • Are you taking the cigarettes in your carry-on or luggage?
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 16:00
  • I was planning to take then from the duty-free shop, so hand luggage would be the preferred choice
    – Phantomazi
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 16:09
  • More than a few packs and they'll pull them. Keep the few packs for travel sealed until you use them. Unsealed will more than likely get tossed.
    – Citizen
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 5:43
  • @Citizen why would that be ? If they are sealed they will be much easier to sell. How do you convince someone you've not altered a product if it's open ?(of course I never had the idea of re-selling them in the first place, this just came to mind now..)
    – Phantomazi
    Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 14:05
  • 1
    I believe that what matters isn't where you're coming from, but whether your goods are duty-paid in an EU country. So you can buy your soft limit of 800 in Bulgaria in a supermarket, because they should have duty paid" stickers on the packs. If you take advantage of your brief exit from the EU to buy duty-free cigarettes in the duty free shop in Sofia airport then you might well be limited to 200. Now if I could find a decent source for this, I'd write it into an answer...
    – EdC
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 11:38

1 Answer 1


To avoid any problems, make sure you stay airside in Turkey otherwise you'll have to face Turkish customs and the UK will see you as arriving from a non-EU country.

Is there a problem if I enter Turkey with more than 200 cigarettes ?

If you enter Turkey, anything on top of the 200 cigarette limit is subject to a 57.6% duty1 rate2 and an 18% VAT and a special consumption tax.

Is my travel considered from non-EU country when arriving in the UK ?

The UK considers the originating flight to determine where you're coming from, so if you don't enter Turkey (that is, leave the EU) you're technically coming from an EU country as Turkey stamps on exit and entry, meaning the UK will know you've left the EU, however temporarily.

1 Select "Chapter 24", then "2402", then "2402."
2 Pay-walled, but you can make a one day free temporary account to see that page.

  • +1 but a few questions: Will UK consider this as in-EU arrival even though the OP could have exited in Turkey? Does one need to prove having stayed airside or customs that you exited in Turkey? If the first, how can one prove that they remained airside? Do you have any sources on the UK part?
    – mts
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 15:55
  • @mts wouldn't they base that on passport stamps ? If the OP entered Turkey they'll get a stamp which effectively proves they have exited and re-entered the EU in the UK
    – blackbird
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 16:07
  • Thought so too, but what if they were Turkish or had visa-free entry for another reason? Depending on other things they might or might not get stamps in Bulgaria/UK either.
    – mts
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 16:13
  • @mts added some info from UK customs, I'm still a bit confused but I think that covers it (?)
    – blackbird
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 16:22
  • @mts if the OP is Turkish or can enter Turkey without the UK knowing: 1) they still pay Turkish duty 2) depends if Turkey does exit immigration (gets stamped) but I think that's covered by the UK customs bloc I quoted
    – blackbird
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 16:38

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