Limits to the transport of tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, etc.) into and out of Italy

pipaUnder European and Italian provisions there are limits to the quantities of tobacco products 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 tobacco products 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 tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, etc.) into and out of Italy

1) Allowed quantities of tobacco products 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 tobacco products.

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, and no further excise duty is due in the country of destination) the following quantities of tobacco products:

  • cigarettes:                      *800 pieces;
  • cigarillos:                      **400 pieces;
  • cigars:                               200 pieces;
  • smoking tobacco:           1 kilogram.

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 tobacco 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 100 cigars (= 50%) + 200 cigarillos (= 50%) = 100%.

If the traveler is carrying higher quantities of tobacco 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.

*Under par. 2-bis of the same article and in accordance with the Decision of the Customs Agency dated December 20, 2013, the aforementioned limit of 800 pieces is reduced to 300 pieces for cigarettes purchased in the following countries (only): Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Croatia.
** Cigarillos are cigars weighing not more than 3 grams each.

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

With regard to tobacco products imported into 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:

  • cigarettes:                  200 pieces;
  • cigarillos:                 **100 pieces;
  • cigars:                            50 pieces;
  • smoking tobacco:     250 grams.

As mentioned above, 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 tobacco 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 25 cigars (= 50%) + 50 cigarillos (= 50%) = 100%.

Considering that the aforementioned quantities are referred to each traveler, it is important to know that the exemption for tobacco 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 any tobacco products 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.

**Cigarillos are cigars weighing not more than 3 grams each.

3) Sanctions

Travelers carrying tobacco 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 (tobacco smuggling) which, depending on the severity of the violation, range from a fine to imprisonment.

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

With regard to the export of tobacco 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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