Questions and answers about buying alcohol when travelling abroad
Answers to the most frequently asked questions about what rules apply to buying alcohol abroad and bringing it back home to Sweden.
I’m going to Germany and wonder what quantity of spirits I can bring back to Sweden.
You can bring in the quantity of alcohol that is considered to be for your/your family’s private use. You must not: bring in alcohol ordered and ultimately paid for by a friend or neighbour; and/or, sell the alcohol after returning home.
How much alcohol can I bring into Sweden if I buy it on a ferry running between Finland and Sweden via Åland?
Because the alcohol on ferries that run via Åland is not taxed in the EU, you may bring in a limited quantity of alcohol. Åland is outside the EU’s fiscal territory. Under the heading “Bringing in alcohol from a country outside the EU”, you can read about how much alcohol you can bring in.
May I get a friend or acquaintance to buy alcohol for me while he/she is travelling in Denmark?
Yes, but you must pay Swedish alcohol tax on the alcohol that your friend or acquaintance buys for you.
Why, as a Swede, can’t I buy alcohol in a duty-free shop when I’m travelling within the EU or before I go through customs on returning to Sweden?
“Duty free” means that the price does not include the relevant tax. The duty-free shops at, for example, Sweden’s Arlanda airport are taxable operations, but are not run by Systembolaget (Sweden’s alcohol monopoly). Systembolaget has the sole right to sell alcohol in Sweden. Thus, these duty-free shops can only sell duty-free (i.e. tax-free) alcohol to travellers who are leaving the EU.
What quantity of spirits can I buy duty-free on the aircraft when I’m coming from Turkey?
As Turkey is outside the EU, you may bring into Sweden 1 litre of spirits or 2 litres of fortified wine (sparkling wine included therein), 4 litres of wine and 16 litres of strong beer without paying any charges. You can, of course, buy more alcohol than this, but if you want to bring in more than the charge-free quantity, you must pay customs duty, VAT and any other taxes on the excess quantity.
I’m a head waiter on a passenger ferry running between Sweden and Germany. Can I bring back into Sweden alcohol that I bought in Germany?
You can bring in alcohol that is for private use.
What quantity of spirits can I bring back into Sweden when I’m coming from Thailand?
You may bring into Sweden 1 litre of spirits or 2 litres of fortified wine (sparkling wine included therein), 4 litres of wine and 16 litres of strong beer without paying any charges.
If you wish to bring in alcohol above the charge-free quantity, you must pay customs duty, VAT and any other taxes on the excess alcohol. You must also declare the alcohol to Swedish Customs by choosing the red lane when crossing the border.
If I’m travelling from Thailand with an intermediate landing in Belgium, can I bring in alcohol from there too?
Yes. We call that “double rations”. However, you must be able to produce receipts showing that you bought alcohol in an EU country on your travels.
If I want to take alcohol with me when going to Thailand, how much can I take?
Unfortunately, we can’t answer what rules apply in other countries. We recommend that you contact the country’s embassy or consulate.
I’m an air hostess flying professionally between Sweden and the USA. Can I bring alcohol back into Sweden?
Yes, but you must either: have a 15-day break in your duties (for a holiday or some other type of leave); or, if you are resident in Sweden, have been abroad for at least 15 days; or, have terminated your employment with the airline.
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