Limits to the transport of alcohol into and out of Italy

Bottles-of-WineUnder European and Italian provisions there are limits to the quantities of alcohol and alcoholic beverages that private citizens can freely purchase and carry within EU countries and from non-EU countries to EU countries (and thus Italy) for “personal use”. Under Italian law there is no specific limit to the export of alcohol and alcoholic beverages from Italy to non-EU countries. However, travelers must take into account the individual limits set by the country of destination.


Limits to the transport of alcohol into and out of Italy

1) Allowed quantities of alcohol purchased and transported within the EU

Whoever enters the Italian territory coming from an EU country is subject to the following limits with reference to the importation of alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

According to European Council Directive 2008/118/EC dated December 16, 2008, as subsequently amended, and to Italian Legislative Decree October 26, 1995, no. 504, art. 11, par. 2, as subsequently amended, private citizens can freely purchase and carry within EU countries, and thus into Italy, as “personal use” (excise duty is included in the price of the good at the time of purchase, but no further excise duty is due in the country of destination) the following quantities of alcohol:

Type of Alcohol Quantities
Spirits (liquors) 10 liters
Intermediate products 20 liters
Wine (including a maximum of 60 liters of sparkling wine) 90 liters
Beer 110 liters

It is not mandatory to carry only one product at a time. In fact, each of the above-indicated quantities represents 100% of the total quantity of alcohol products that are exempt from excise duty. It is possible to carry a combination of the above products for personal use, as long as it complies with the limit of 100%. For example 5 liters of spirits (= 50%) + 55 liters of beer (= 50%) = 100%.

If the traveler is carrying higher quantities of alcoholic products than the ones indicated above, he must declare this to the Italian Customs Agency. In fact, the products purchased and carried in quantities exceeding the limits laid down in the above-mentioned par. 2 shall be deemed purchased for commercial purposes and thus subject to the rules concerning excise duty in the Italian territory (Legislative Decree October 26, 1995 no. 504, art. 10), including the requirement for a special accompanying document.

2) Allowed quantities of alcohol purchased in non-EU countries and imported to Italy

With regard to alcoholic products imported to Italy by travelers coming from non-EU countries, the exemption from excise and customs duties shall be granted to each traveler within the following limits specified in Ministerial Decree March 6, 2009, no. 32, Table A:

A) alcohol and alcoholic beverages:

  • alcohol and alcoholic beverages of an alcoholic strength by volume exceeding 22% or undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength by volume equal to or greater than 80%: 1 liter; or
  • alcohol and alcoholic beverages of an alcoholic strength by volume not exceeding 22%: 2 liters.

It is not mandatory to carry only one product at a time. In fact, each of the above-indicated quantities represents 100% of the total quantity of alcoholic products that are exempt from excise duty. It is possible to carry a combination of the above products for personal use, as long as it complies with the limit of 100%.

B) Other alcoholic beverages:

  • wine:                          4 liters;
  • beer:                         16 liters.

Considering that the quantities are referred to each traveler, it is important to know that the exemption for alcoholic products specified above shall not apply to travelers under the age of 17. Hence, young people under the age of 17 are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages into Italy.

The products purchased and carried in quantities exceeding the limits laid down in the above-mentioned Table A of DM 32/2009 shall be subject to excise duty in the Italian territory.

3) Sanctions

Travelers carrying alcoholic products in excess of the above limits without having them declared to customs, in addition to the payment of customs duties, are likely to be subject to sanctions including criminal charges (alcohol smuggling) which, depending on the severity of the violation, range from a fine to imprisonment.

4) Export of alcoholic products from Italy to non-EU countries

With regard to the export of alcoholic products from Italy to non-EU countries (from Italy to EU countries see Par.1 above), considering that under Italian law there is no specific limit for this case, the traveler must consider the individual limits set by the country of destination. Useful information related to this matter can be provided by Italian consular authorities located in the country of destination.


David

David

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2 Comments
  1. Avatar

    Thank you for you most helpful reply to my questions concerning taking wine into Italy.
    Love your website, lots of great information and content! Thanks to all of your staff!!

    DDL

  2. Avatar

    Hi There, what about alcohol that was given as gifts and not purchased?

    Many Thanks

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