Customs and borders

When arriving on the island of Ireland, like other countries, there are some customs and borders procedures you need to know about

Customs

Visitors to the island of Ireland from a non-EU country must pass through custom controls at their place of entry.

Customs operate green and red channels at most ports and airports. If you need to declare goods over the duty and tax-free allowances for non-EU visitors you must use the red channel. Pass through the green channel if you have nothing to declare.

Certain goods are prohibited or restricted to protect health and the environment. These include meat and poultry products.


For goods obtained within the EU

There are no limits imposed on importing tobacco and alcohol products from one EU country to another. Travelers should note however that they may be required to prove at customs that the goods are for personal use only.

For goods obtained outside the EU

For travelers to either the Republic or Northern Ireland, there are circumstances for allowances on duty-free goods. Travelers must be arriving either directly from a country outside the European Union (EU), or from a non-EU country via another EU country, or from the Canary Islands, Channel Islands or Gibraltar.

Duty-Free Allowances

General
You are allowed to bring in goods (including gifts, souvenirs, perfume and clothing) free of duty, the combined value of which does not exceed:

  • €430/£390 in the case of an individual aged 15 years or over (approximately 550 US dollars*)
  • €215/£173 in the case of an individual aged under 15 years (approximately 270 US dollars*)

Be aware that the above monetary allowances do not apply to any individual item which exceeds the values above. So if you bring in something worth more than the relevant limit of €430/£390 or €215, you must pay import charges on the full value. If you are bringing back any duty-free goods you bought when you travelled out from Ireland, these count as part of your allowance.

You are allowed to bring in goods free of duty in the categories below (tobacco, alcohol etc) subject to the limits indicated.

*Subject to currency fluctuations 

Tobacco products

  • 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco

Allowances are on a fractional basis, for example 100 cigarettes plus 50 cigarillos would be the limit together.

Alcohol products

  • 1 liter of spirits (more than 22%) or 2 liters of intermediate products (eg port, sherry, etc, but not sparkling wine) or
  • 4 liters of wine or 16 liters of beer

Other

  • 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette

Customs Duty, Excise Duty and VAT (sales tax), where applicable, are charged on goods in excess of the duty free allowances.

Sales Tax (VAT) refunds

Visitors to Ireland who live outside of the EU are entitled to claim back a portion of the VAT on purchases made during their stay. Most retailers participate in the VAT refund scheme and you can ask for a VAT refund form in the store once your purchase has been completed. You must fill the form out fully, making sure to include a credit card number to facilitate the refund. The goods must be exported outside of the EU within three months following the month of purchase and typically, it will take between four to six weeks to receive your refund from the refund agent.

Alternatively, you can claim your refund in cash through Tax Free Worldwide and Carroll's Irish Gifts at three refund points in Dublin – 57/58 Upper O’Connell St, Ballast House, Westmoreland St and 22/23 Suffolk St and one in Cork, at 10 St Patrick St.

If the purchase value of any one item on your VAT refund form is €2,000 or above, you will need to present your form, goods receipt and the item to Customs at your point of exit for a validation stamp. There are two main refund agents in Ireland, Tax Free Worldwide and Fexco and you can visit their websites for more information on how to shop tax free.

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