Importation of presents marking official visits or activity

You can import presents in the context of international relations without payment of Customs Duty and Value-Added Tax (VAT) if:

  • you receive a present from the host authority in a non-European Union (EU) country where you make an official visit
  • you make an official visit to the European Union (EU) and intend to offer the present to the host authority
  • or
  • the present is sent as a token of goodwill by an official group or authority based outside the EU that carries on an activity in the public interest. Note that:
    • these presents must be sent to a similar group or authority in the EU
    • and
    • you must get approval from the Authorisations and Reliefs Unit to receive such articles duty free. 

These presents must be occasional and not of a commercial nature. There is no relief for alcohol or tobacco products.

Procedure at importation

You will need a letter from the organisation or host in the non-EU country outlining the circumstances of the present. You may also need a letter of approval from Revenue (as described above) in support of your claim.

The sender of the goods should:

  • attach the documents listed above to the outside of the parcel and mark them ‘customs documents’.
  • provide information about the goods to the postal service or courier that is handling the parcel. This information about the goods should include the following:
    • an accurate description
    • a commodity code
    • and
    • the value.
  • mark the parcel ‘Goodwill presents - exemption from import charges claimed’.

The courier or postal service handling the package can use this information to complete an electronic customs declaration by using Revenue's Automated Import System (AIS).

On this customs declaration they should:

  • declare the goods as goodwill presents
  • and
  • enter code C28 in D/E 1/11 of the declaration.

Further information

If you need further information, please contact the Authorisations and Reliefs Unit.