Duty Free Advantages
What is duty free?
"Duty free" means "free of tax". Buying "duty free" means that, in the country in which goods are purchased, you do not pay the taxes otherwise applied by that country.
- Duty-free zones
Duty free does not apply between the member states of the European Union.
It therefore only affects travel to countries outside of the European Union (with certain exceptions, such as Andorra and the Channel Islands).
The zones in which you may make duty-free purchases are generally located:
- in airports or seaports
- in international zones (during flights or at sea)
- before going through customs in border areas.
Conditions applied to duty-free shopping
In these areas, access to the duty-free zone generally depends on your destination. You must cross a border to be eligible.
In addition, duty-free shopping is subject to the rules of the country in which you make your purchases.
Therefore, you should always check the limits and exemptions applied by customs in the country in question.
- You are arriving in or returning to France
When you are in France, French customs laws apply.
- exemptions up to a certain amount (that may not be shared amongst several passengers), beyond which you must declare your goods and pay the associated taxes (or possibly even a fine)
- maximum quantities to be observed for certain products
- prohibition to purchase tobacco and alcoholic beverages for persons under the age of 17.
- You have come from a country outside the European Union
Your duty-free purchases are limited.
See the specific regulations (subject to change) on the customs website.
- You have come from a country within the European Union
Your purchases (even though not duty free) are also subject to certain rules.
See the details regarding your personal purchases within the European Union.
Requesting a removal of duties
Outside of the European Union, you may also request a removal of customs duties for purchases you have made outside of the duty-free zones. The removal of duties may be applied:
- Before passing through customs, upon presentation of a customs duty removal form issued at the point of sale (or export sales contract)
- Directly in the store