Import rules for crew members in international traffic

Are you a crew member working in international traffic including non-EU countries (sea and air)? In that case you are permitted to take a smaller quantity of alcoholic products and tobacco products with you than other travellers. The quantities that you are allowed to take with you are shown in the text below. For other goods your import tax exemption is the same as that for other travellers.

For your convenience all exemptions applicable to goods for crew members are shown in the text below.

Are you not taking more goods with you than the maximum quantities shown in the text below? In that case you are not liable for tax if you enter the Netherlands and the European Union (you are exempted from tax).

Personal luggage (travel accessories)

You are not liable for tax over personal luggage (travel accessories).

Personal luggage (travel accessories) includes all usage and consumer goods that are not trading goods. This relates only to goods intended for personal use by the traveller or for use by the members of his or her family during the trip or the stay abroad. The goods must not be of a commercial nature.

Customs may ask you to prove that the goods were purchased in the Netherlands or another EU country and that tax was paid. This applies primarily to luxury and expensive goods (e.g. cameras and video recorders, musical instruments, laptops and jewellery).

It is advisable carry receipts or guarantee certificates or a Customs certificate with these goods.

  • When leaving the Netherlands you can have the payment invoice stamped by Customs. The invoice must meet a number of conditions for that purpose. And you will have to show the goods to Customs. Call the Customs Information Line for the conditions.
  • You can apply for the Customs certificate at a customs office in your region before you depart. For that purpose, call the Customs Information Line.

The processing of this application could take some time. You will have to present at the customs office:

  • the receipt or guarantee certificate
  • the goods for which you are applying for the Customs certificate

Do you travel regularly outside of the EU for your work? And do you take professional equipment with you, such as musical instruments, measurement equipment, photo and video cameras, etc.? If so, we advise you to apply for a carnet ATA for these articles at the Chamber of Commerce (, only available in Dutch). The ATA carnet is a form that is used in international trade in goods for temporary import and temporary exports of goods.

Alcoholic products

You are not liable for tax for the import of:

  • 1 litre of spirits or
  • 1 litres of sparkling wine or
  • 1 litres of fortified wine, such as sherry or port or
  • a proportional assortment of these products and
  • 2 litres of non-sparkling wine and
  • 8 litres of beer

The exemption applies only to persons aged 17 and above.

Tobacco products

You are not liable for tax for the import of:

  • 40 cigarettes or
  • 50 grams of smoking tobacco (hookah tobacco is also smoking tobacco) or
  • 20 cigarillos or
  • 10 cigars or
  • a proportional assortment of these products.

You are only permitted to take tobacco products for your own use.

The exemption applies only to persons aged 17 and above.

If you enter the EU in another member state, the tobacco product quantities referred to above may be subject to restrictions. Information can be obtained from the member state in question.

Chewing and snuff tobacco are free from excise duty.

Snus is banned due to EU legislation with respect to health.


Are you taking medicines over the border, intended for your own use during your trip? In that case you are not liable for tax for those medicines.

Special rules are applicable to medicines containing: narcotics, protected animal and plant species, etc. Contact the Customs Information Line for that purpose.

Other goods than personal luggage (travel accessories), alcoholic products, tobacco, medicines

You are not liable for the payment of tax over other goods that you have purchased outside of the EU if the total value does not exceed € 430.

That € 430 also covers gifts that you are taking with you.

The values of medicines, tobacco products, alcoholic products and personal luggage as shown in the table above are not counted in this € 430.

Are you taking trading goods with you? In that case you are liable for the payment of import tax. The exemption from import tax is not applicable. Take the channel 'Goods to declare' upon arrival and declare the goods to Customs.

It is not permitted to divide the value of 1 article over several people. If you take 1 article with a value exceeding € 430 with you, you will have to pay tax over the whole amount.


  • You buy a camera for € 500. You must pay tax over the entire amount.
  • You buy a watch for € 400 and a fountain pen for € 55. The total amount is € 455. You only have to pay tax over the fountain pen.

Bringing in more goods?

Are you bringing in above your allowance, or are these goods intended for trade? If so, you must file a declaration. Read more about this on page: I am bringing in above my allowance.

What cannot be imported?

Not all products can simply be brought in. Counterfeit articles, for example, or € 10,000 or more, food, and animals and plants. Read more: Restricted or prohibited to import/export.

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