Duty Free and Tax-Free: your questions and answers.

Published by The Duty Free Advisor: Editor on 2011-08-02

Can I buy duty free on departure and arrival? Yes, in over 60 countries around the world.  Most international airports have a duty free shop where you can buy on departure and more are opening arrivals shops in the baggage halls.

What can I buy on arrival? It depends on the airport, but those with arrivals shopping have a full range of liquors, tobaccos and gifts, but the brand selection may be reduced compared to the departure lounge shops.

Can I pre-order my duty free online before I travel? Yes, airports are introducing this new service, Australia and Brazil have online pre-order sites and many more airports are coming online.

Can you buy duty free in The EU? No, this was abolished some years ago if travelling within the European Union, but products are still sold to you at competitive prices, especially gifts and perfumes. You can still buy liquors and tobaccos in some of these EU airports, these goods will be tax-paid. But, the prices can be good, it all depends where you live and how the prices compare to your home country. Normally, southern European countries have lower prices than northern Europe.

Can you get duty free cigarettes on a ferry? It depends where you are travelling from and to. If your journey is to or from a country which is not a member state of the European Union, yes. But your journey has to take in a non-EU country. On EU ferry journeys, the rule is the same as for EU airline journeys, as stated below.

There are many shops in the arrivals halls of airports now, are these duty free? Again, it depends on which airport and where you are travelling from. Outside the EU and as long as you are arriving from an international destination, yes these shops are duty free. Within the EU Countries, no they are not duty free shops, but the prices may still be very good. This depends on where you live compared to the prices at home.

Can I buy an iPad or iPhone duty free at an airport? Yes, some airports have started to sell cellfones and pads, but this is not widespread at present. Amsterdam airport has a very good selection of electronic products. Likewise, you must ensure that the phone you buy is unlocked, so that you can use it anywhere with any sim card. For more details of how to buy iPhones and other cellfones tax-free or duty free, search our sister site dutyfreeonarrival.com and your destination by clicking the banner above or the home link.

Can I buy duty free cigarettes onboard European flights? No, not on flights within the EU. Airlines travelling between EU countries do not sell duty free tobaccos or liquors. But they do sell other products like gifts and perfumes. There are some exceptions to this rule, the Canary Islands is one, but this special territory is regarded as outside the EU for duty free purposes. The Channel Islands is another exception.

Can I buy duty free entering Las Vegas? No, arrivals duty free shopping is not allowed in The USA, but Las Vegas airport are due to open a liquor store in the baggage claim area very soon. The products will be tax-paid, but liquor in America is much cheaper than many other countries, especially northern European countries and Canada.

Can I buy duty free going to Norway? Yes, Norway is not a member of the EU, so you can buy a full range of products either in arrival or departure in Norway, or from your departing airport or airline. You can also obtain a tax refund on your domestic purchases made in Norway.

Cape Verde duty free, can I buy? Yes, both from your departing country and also on the islands, mainly in the airports and the ports.

Eurostar duty free? There are no duty free facilities on Eurostar trains or in the Eurostar rail or vehicle terminals, they operate within the European Union. But, there are still some gift shops selling products at good prices.

Muscat and other Middle East duty free sales? Most airports in the Middle East, including Muscat, have duty free arrivals shops where you can buy liquors on arrival. Normally, the only restriction in the Middle East is that non-Muslim passengers are the only people allowed to buy alcohol. This can vary by State, but you can check the general rules here.

The US Virgin Islands duty free shopping? These islands maintain a special low-tax regime, so many goods are tax or duty free and probably much cheaper than your home country, especially the US mainland. Likewise, for those returning to the USA, the customs allowances are greater than would normally be applied to other countries.

Onboard retail inflight, are the prices good? Often, the prices on airlines are cheaper than the airports. It is much easier to pre-order from airlines too. Likewise, you are through security and on the flight when you think about buying, so this could avoid many of the security problems for liquids. Finally, you are in your seat, relaxed and with time, so it is easier to shop on board and have your purchases brought to you at your seat.

Duty Free allowances, what's the rule? This can get complicated, but the general rule is that the allowance limit applies to your country of arrival, where you clear customs and not to your departure point. Likewise, you don't have an allowance for each place you visit. In other words, you cannot top up what you buy from one airport to another. You have a maximum limit that you can take into a country, regardless of where you bought the goods.

Can duty free goods be shipped from an airport or airline? No, you cannot ask to have your goods shipped from an airport or from an airline because the goods you buy duty or tax-free whilst travelling means that you are responsible for carrying these goods into your country of arrival. Customs often check that you are within the limits, allowances and exemptions for that country, so you must carry them personally. If a travel retail store or an airline offers to ship these goods to you, it means that these goods are actually tax and/or duty paid goods and not duty-free or tax-free. Retailers are not permitted to ship goods on your behalf due to these customs regulations. The same rule applies to goods purchased with the tax-refund (Tax-Free Shopping) scheme offered by many countries. This is why you have to process your receipts at an airport refund office and present your purchases to customs, so that they can confirm that the goods are exported from the country where they were purchased.

Fotos related to many of the above issues can be found at our Facebook page "Arrivalsdutyfree"

check before you fly at www.dutyfreeonarrival.com click home above.