Questions and answers about buying goods in another country

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about what rules apply when you bring goods into Sweden from abroad. Different rules apply depending on what goods you have bought and which country you are travelling from.

I’m going to a country outside the EU on holiday and thinking of bringing back goods I buy there. Do I have to pay customs duty and VAT on my goods?

If the journey back to Sweden is via an aircraft or ferry in commercial traffic, you may bring in goods to the value of SEK 5,000 without paying customs duty and tax. If you are entering some other way, the value of goods you can bring in without paying any charges is SEK 3,500. The goods must always be carried personally!

In addition to the above-mentioned goods, you may also bring in free of customs duty and tax:

  • 1 litre of spirits or 2 litres of fortified wine (sparkling wines included therein).
  • 4 litres of wine.
  • 16 litres of strong beer.
  • 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250 grams of smoking tobacco or a proportional mix of these tobacco products.

If you are resident in Sweden and are travelling by ferry from Åland or Norway, you must have been abroad for at least 20 hours before you can bring in alcohol and tobacco without paying customs duty and VAT (if these goods have not been taxed in Åland or Norway).

I’m going to Japan and buying a video camera there. Can I bring it back into Sweden free of charge?

You may bring in goods to a maximum value of SEK 5,000 if you are arriving on either a maritime vessel or an aircraft in commercial traffic. If you are travelling some other way, the maximum value without paying customs duty and tax is SEK 3,500. This sum is for all the goods (excluding alcohol and tobacco) you buy while travelling abroad.

I’m going to Australia to get a diving certificate. I’m buying the diving equipment there and using it on the course. As it’s been used, will I still have to pay charges on it when returning to Sweden?

Because you are going to a country outside the EU, everything you buy (excluding alcohol and tobacco) may be brought into Sweden free of charges provided that the value does not exceed SEK 5,000 and you are arriving on either a maritime vessel or an aircraft in commercial traffic. If you are travelling some other way, the maximum value without paying customs duty and tax is SEK 3,500. This means that if your diving equipment costs more than the relevant sum, you have to pay charges based on your equipment’s purchase value.

If I’m uncertain which lane to choose through customs, what must I do?

If you are uncertain about what you may or may not bring in, you must always choose the red lane (“Goods to declare”).

If you choose the green or blue lane and are carrying goods that you cannot bring in free of charge, you may be suspected of smuggling. The goods may then be confiscated and you risk fines or imprisonment.

If you choose the red lane, you do not risk being suspected of smuggling. Instead, you have the opportunity to pay charges, take the goods back out of the country or hand them over to Swedish Customs.

Read more about choosing the red, blue and green lanes.

What must I do if there are no customs officers present when I come back into Sweden with goods or animals that I wish to declare?

At customs posts that may be unmanned, there should be information about how you can contact Swedish Customs. If, for any reason, this information is missing, you can get help by telephoning Swedish Customs’ intelligence and communications centre (TUK) on +46 8 405 05 70. TUK is open all day round, all year round.

May I bring in a pair of elephant ivory candlesticks that I bought at a market in Africa?

No, this is a product from an animal that is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Bringing such goods into Sweden without authorisation is prohibited.

Read more about endangered species.

Last updated:

What is updated: Increased limits.

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