Planning an International trip can be stressful and especially so if you have little knowledge about the various Duty-Free aspects and Duty-Free Limits that are imposed by the governments of various countries.
Back in 2007, a report stated this…
“every day, the transportation security administration (TSA, US) stops about 150 bottles of rum, scotch and other kinds of liquor from being carried onto flights….as much as $200,000 worth of booze each month may be being poured down the drain – or incinerated into smoke.”
These numbers are just from USA alone. Even today a lot people from around the world loose a lot of their duty free purchases as they are confiscated by customs or have to pay custom duties on arrival. This is simply because they didn’t know what is allowed and how much is allowed in that country they are traveling to.
What is Duty-Free and What are Duty-Free limits?
Duty or Customs Duty is a tax which is imposed on goods that are being transported across international borders. The amount of the duty to be levied is determined by a couple of factors. When a product is bought duty-free, the duty amount is not charged. The person buying the duty-free product is exempted from paying the duty. This is a common feature at airport shops (international airports) and international seaports. However, every country has its own duty-free limits.
Duty-free limits are certain rules imposed by the government of the country from where you are buying the duty-free product. These rules are limitations imposed on duty-free shopping to ensure your safety and security and also the safety and security of your products and other co-passengers that you might travel with.
More importantly these limits are imposed to ensure there is no missuse of the duty free shopping benefit. For instance in India, you are not allowed to shop above INR 25,000/- worth of Duty Free products.
Also, a lot of countries have restrictions on Alcohol and Tobacco products. So a person flying in to these countries needs to know the allowance and also the items which are NOT permissible in that country to avoid and unwanted experiences in a foreign land.
Why is it essential to know about the various Duty-Free Limits?
International transport and transfer of goods require you to follow certain codes of conduct. This is for your own smooth and safe journey. Being a traveler in a foreign land you would not want yourself being insulted and questioned publicly, would you?
Therefore it is wise that you know the Duty-Free limits of each country that you are traveling to. Disobeying such delicate rules can get you into some trouble.
What are the General Duty-Free Limits and How to know about them?
You can refer here, to know the Duty-free limits of various countries.
Also, the most common Duty-free limits that almost all international airports follow are mentioned below. However, it is quite impossible to list all the limits of all international airports here.
It is, therefore advisable that you check all the limits of the country you are traveling to (refer to the above link for detailed duty free allowances country-wise):
- In most countries, there is a limit on the amount of alcoholic beverages that you can buy. If you are shopping in Europe and you shopped $200 worth of products including 2 liters of liquor, one liter will be duty-free, the other one dutiable at 3%.
- In America, one American Liter (33.8 Fl. Oz) of alcoholic beverage is allowed, provided you are at least 21 years old.
- Not just alcohols, there can be limitations on other products also such as tobacco. In case you are a returning resident traveler, you may import cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products but only in quantities not exceeding the prescribed standards in some countries.
- In various countries, sharp objects such as a knife, blade etc. are not allowed on board. If you buy such products make sure you have them placed and packed in your baggage with proper permission from the authorities. Under no condition should such products be carried in the cabin baggage.
- Certain airports do not allow passengers to carry food products on board. However, meals are always available on the flight. So just in case you feel hungry, let the air hostess know.
- If you are a lady who is mothering an infant, traveling is a whole different thing for you! Diapers nappies so on and so forth. In case you buy any baby products like baby food or some baby lotion which is liquid. Get the product screened and permitted at the checkpoint.
These are just the general Duty-Free limits that almost every country has. We recommend checking in with the official tourism or the specific airport website to know a particular country’s allowances and limits, to have a hassle free journey.