Custom and VAT rules

Custom and VAT rules

General Rules


It is not advisable including any raw meat, homemade butchery products or dairy products (perishable food) in the food provisions you prepare for the duration of your travel since almost every country prohibits the introduction of such products. In addition to these, there may be at any time other goods included on the temporary export/import ban lists in order to prevent the proliferation of specific diseases that have been occurring lately and that are spread by animals. It is worth asking for information about current rules before your trip.


If you illness requires continuous medication please ask for information in advance as to whether the medicines you need are registered in the country you intend to visit and whether they are available in local pharmacies. As a general rule, individuals requiring continuous medication may carry the medicines prescribed by their physician in a quantity that may be needed during the journey. However, almost every country prohibits taking in psychotropic preparations (such as tranquilizer drugs, stimulants, or hallucinogenic drugs).


If an EU citizen wishes to cross the border with a pet (dog, cat ferret, etc.), he/she must hold a pet passport. Your local veterinarian will issue such pet passport, provided that the animal has received compulsory vaccination and has been identified by a tattoo or microchip implant. Te pet passport is valid for a single vaccination period (on year for dogs). It is always advisable to visit your local veterinarian before travelling.
If a non-EU citizen enters the European Union, his/her pet must hold a veterinary certificate issued for a single entry.

Cultural Goods

The exportation of cultural goods to other countries requires a permit issued by the Hungarian national Office of Cultural Heritage. Such objects may be exported exclusively at the designated border stations towards Slovenia at Rédics, towards Austria at Rábafüzes and Hegyeshalom, towards Slovakia at Rajka and Salgótarján, towards Ukraine at Záhony, Towards Romania at Nagylak, Ártánd and Gyula, towards Serbia at Röszke and Kelebia, and towards Croatia at Letenye and Murakeresztúr. Air passengers must report such goods at the Airport Customs Office No. 1 (Ferihegy International Airport).

Cultural goods exceeding 50 years of age or declared protected or being registered by a public museum or archive may be exported only with the permit of the National Office of Cultural Heritage. If you are uncertain as to whether the object you wish to take abroad is a cultural good subject to permit, it is advisable to contact the appropriate public collection. For instance, in the case of artworks having origin in Hungary the appropriate institution is the Hungarian National Gallery.
Find detailed information about this subject on the website of the National Office of Cultural Heritage at

Transportation of Hunting, Sporting and Self-defence Guns within the European Union

The lawful possession of hunting or sporting guns may be certified with a gun licence issued in the country of residence of the licensee, and as for firearms, with a European Firearms Pass.
The importation and possession of category B hunting firearms and air guns with muzzle energy in excess of 7.5 Joule shall be subject to a permit issued by the police authority of the location of the hunting or sporting event.
Firearms of categories B, C or D registered in the European Firearms Pass as well as the relevant ammunition may be imported to the territory of the Republic of Hungary for self-defence purposes under a permit issued by the police Headquarters of Budapest).

The European Firearms Pass

The authorities of the relevant member state shall grant the European Firearms Pass upon request to individuals lawfully possessing firearms. The European Firearms Pass is valid for five years and must be held at all times by the person using firearm.

Import, export and transit of hunting or sporting firearms by individuals with no residence in the European Union

Based on the accompanying certificate for firearms and ammunition issued by the border customs office, individuals having no residence in any member state of the European Union shall be entitled to import, export or transit through the country their firearms and the relevant ammunition for the purposes of hunting or sporting events, provided that their expected stay in the territory of the Republic of Hungary fails to exceed 90 days.

Authorization to acquire and keep not more than three long firearms and two short firearms for target shooting and the relevant ammunition may be granted to any sportsman that proves to be a qualified target shooter and holds a valid competition license issued by his/her national federation of the relevant sport. Participation in the target shooting competition shall be evidenced by means of an invitation letter issued by the host sport club.

Obligation to report cash at the external borders of the European Union

Any passenger entering or leaving the European Union that holds:

  • 10 000 or more euros or its equivalent in cash (even if in different currencies), or
  • any readily cashable securities of equivalent total value (such as bonds, shares, traveller’s cheques, etc.),

shall declare it to the customs authority. Such declaration shall be made or presented at the customs authority (or other competent authority) where the passenger enters of leaves the European Union.

In addition, certain member states of the European Union apply further verification and declaration rules on cash transactions within the European Union. It is worth to get informed about such rules at the Hungarian consulate of the countries included in the journey.

VAT-Exempted sale of goods taken out by foreign passengers from the territory of the European Union

Goods purchased by foreign passengers shall be free from value added tax if taken out from the territory of the Community as part of his/her personal luggage.

Conditions for tax-exempted sale:

  • the passenger or his/her assign shall take the goods to a third country without taking such goods into use, and the customs authority shall confirm this condition using the tax refund from issued by the seller to the passenger,
  • the goods shall be taken out from the territory of the Community within 90 days from the date of purchase,
  • the total value of the sale of goods – including taxes – shall exceed not 175 euros.

The term foreign passenger shall refer to any natural person that is not a citizen of any member state of the Community and has no title for permanent staying in any member state of the Community, or being a citizen of a member state the community has his/her residence outside the territory of the Community. Residence shall mean any abode serving as permanent dwelling place and serving as the closest personal economic relation for the natural person. The passenger shall hold a valid travel document of other valid public document suitable for identification and recognized by the Republic of Hungary.

When leaving the Community, the passenger is required to identify himself and to present the purchased goods, as well as the tax refund form (issued to him/her in two copies) and the original copy of the invoice.

Data started on the tax refund form and on the invoice shall coincide with the personal data stated in the travel document of the passenger. Each tax refund form shall include the sales data of one single invoice, provided that such data shall coincide with the data stated on the invoice. The customs authority shall certify the tax refund form upon the request of the passenger, when goods are taken out to a third country.

The use of such tax refund forms is compulsory the issuer of the invoice shall complete the form in three copies when goods are purchased and shall hand over two original copies to the buyer. After confirming the exit of the passenger, the customs authority keeps one copy of the tax refund form and returns the other copy of the form to the foreign passenger.

If the passenger leaves Hungary not towards a third country (for instance goes to Vienna and from there flies back to his/her residence outside the Community), he should request confirmation about the exportation of the relevant goods from the territory of the Community when he actually leaves the European Union (for the purposes of our example, at the Vienna Airport).

Rules applying to passengers travelling within the European Union

Community regulations ensure the free movement of goods between member states. This means that no customs procedure is required when goods are exported or imported between member states. However, the competent authorities still may conduct checks concerning the traffic of goods. Such checks are performed on a random basis by the in-depth mobile units of the Hungarian customs authority and my take place in any point of Hungary. The importation of goods purchased for non-commercial purposes (for personal use or as gifts) while travelling is not restricted. You may freely import any goods purchased in any member state.

Differently from other goods, VAT for new passenger cars and motorcycles taken into Hungary by natural persons from other member states of the European Union as well as the registration tax required for putting the vehicle into circulation shall be paid in Hungary. A passenger car or a motorcycle shall qualify as a new vehicle if it ran not more than 6000 km before the date of purchase or has been purchased within not more than six months from its first putting into circulation in another .

There are certain goods whose movement within the Community is subject to special attention in the national legislation of certain member states:

Purchase of excisable goods from other member states for personal purposes

Excisable goods purchased in any other member state by private individuals conducting not business activities shall be free of duty in Hungary, provided that such goods are carried or transported directly by the private individual. Exception is made for liquid combustibles and fuels exceeding commercial quantities if they are not transported in Hungary in the regular of complementary fuel tank of the vehicle.

Commercial quantities of excisable products shall mean any quantity exceeding the following quantities:

  • 40 litres of motor fuel in addition to the fuel contained in fuel tank of the vehicle, 20 liters of any other fuel, 50 litres of kerosene, 100 litres of diesel oil in addition to the quantity contained in the fuel tank of the vehicle of power machine, and 1000 litres of biodiesel
  • 800 cigarettes,
  • 200 cigars and 400 cigarillos
  • 1000 grams of smoking tobacco
  • 110 litres of beer
  • 20 litres of intermediary alcohol products
  • 10 litres of alcohol products
  • 90 litres of wine and sparkling wine together (out of which sparkling wine shall not exceed 60 litres).

Rules on cigarette imports applying for passengers arriving from Romania or Bulgaria

Considering that Romania and Bulgaria have not complied yet with the minimum tax levels established for tobacco products by the European Union, Hungary applies certain restrictions as to the quantity of cigarettes that may be taken in from these countries.

Passengers may take in free from excise duty up to 200 cigarettes, provided that the passenger is older than 17 years (completed). Individuals under 17 must declare any quantity under 200 cigarettes and must pay duties. Quantities above 200 cigarettes are free from taxes but are subject to excise duties that are payable on

In order to guarantee the excise duties not paid on site, the customs authority shall retain the declared cigarettes until payment of the duties.

Rules applying to individuals arriving to Hungary from third countries outside the European Union

Duty-free personal luggage.

Goods included in the personal luggage of passengers arriving to Hungary from any non-EU country shall be free from duty if:

  • they consolidated value exceeds not 175 euros, and
  • they are introduced with occasional – non recurring - nature, and
  • they serve exclusively for the personal use of the passenger or his/her family, or are obviously intended as a gift.
  • The nature and quantity of the personal luggage shall not suggest commercial import.

If the above conditions are met, individuals having completed 17 years of age may take into Hungary, free from duties the following quantities:

Tobacco products:

  • 200 cigarettes, or
  • 100 cigarillos (small cigars weighing not more than three grams per piece), or
  • 50 cigars, or
  • 250 gram of tobacco for smoking, or
  • any mix of the above goods in proportional form.

As regrds cigarettes, each such passenger may take into Hungary – free of duties – not more than 2000 cigarettes per year (10 cartons), which is the average consumption in Hungary.

Alcohol and alcoholic beverages:

  • 1 litre of any distilled spirit over 22% of alcohol by volume, or nondenatured ethylic alcohol of 80% or higher percent of alcohol by volume.
  • 1 litre of any distilled spirit or wine or alcoholic aperitif, sake or any similar beverage, as well as any sparkling wine or liqueur wine under 22% of alcohol by volume, in a prorate quantity if more than one type
  • 2 litres of still wine

The 175-euro limit may allow for importing, free of duty:

  • not more than 50 grams of perfume and 0,25 liters of cologne, and
  • medicines in the quantity required for the personal use of the passenger (see also the chapter on Medicines).

Sugar: Each individual may introduce free of duty 20kg of sugar (corresponding to the average annual consumption in Hungary), and this allowance is available for persons living in the same household.

No value added tax shall be payable for duty free goods introduced in the personal luggage of the passenger, with the following exceptions:

  • products made of gold
  • Goods exceeding 500 grams of coffee of 200 grams of coffee extract or concentrate, and 100 grams of tea or 40 grams of tea extract of concentrate.

Duty free limit

Every passenger entering Hungary shall have a duty-free limit of 175 Euros in total; this allowance shall not apply to goods with an individual value exceeding 175 Euros. For instance if the consolidated value of two goods exceeds 175 euros, customs duties shall be paid for the portion above 175 euros. A condition for applying the duty-free limit is that the goods shall not serve any commercial or business purpose; therefore, their sale is unlawful. The individual limit cannot be consolidated in the case of family members travelling together.

The customs authorities verify with particular emphasis the lawful use of the duty-free limit.

Obligation to declare

When crossing the customs border, the passenger shall declare in verbal or written form the goods he/ she wishes to introduce.
Verbal declaration of goods applies for the non-commercial importation of goods, if:

  • the consolidated value of the imported goods is under 350 euros (if the consolidated value is above 175 euros, the passenger must take the red corridor),
  • the passenger has not dispatched any unaccompanied luggage abroad, or the passenger has no intention to use the duty-free limit when such luggage is customs cleared at a later point of time.
  • No permit from the authorities is required for the customs clearance of the relevant goods,
  • The goods fail to include any excisable products (above the personal luggage).

If the value of declared goods fails to reach 350 euros but exceeds 175 euros, customs duties at a rate of 3,5% shall be paid for the portion exceeding 175 euros, and VAT shall be paid for both the value of the goods and the amount of the customs duties. The customs authority issues a „Customs Tag” that evidences the completion of the customs clearance procedure as well as the payment of both the customs duties and the VAT.

If a verbal declaration cannot be made or the passenger fails to accept the amount established by the customs authority, the passenger may present his/her customs declaration in writing and ask for conducting the relevant customs procedure.

A written customs declaration shall be made regardless of the value of goods when importing more than 40 cigarettes or fuel exceeding not 10 litres and carried in the portable fuel tank of the vehicle.

Find further information at the Internet home page of the Hungarian Customs and Excise Guard at : or call + 36 40 FINÁNC (+36 40 346 262) at local telephone rates within Hungary.