Which goods must be declared?
When going through customs control, you must declare the following goods; in other words, you must submit a customs declaration for:
- goods not intended for your personal use,
- goods obtained outside the EU which exceed the duty-free amounts for tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, medicinal products and the duty-free allowance for other goods.
- goods that are subject to prohibitions or restrictions on imports.
If a customs office is equipped with Red and Green Channels, you must use the Red Channel when carrying such goods in order to submit your customs declaration. Take the initiative and declare these goods, whenever a customs office does not have any separate customs control exits. You may use the Green Channel whenever you do not carry any goods requiring any declaration.
In case of doubt, you should declare all goods. If any tax or customs exemptions apply, these will certainly be granted. When entering Austria from a non-EU country and carrying goods purchased in an EU country, you should keep the receipt ready, so as not to be asked to pay again customs duties or taxes.
In case you wish to take such goods with you to another EU country, you still need to declare them to customs when entering the EU.
Within a period of three years, you may re-import to the EU items in your personal luggage duty-free which you – a traveller with EU domicile – carry with you when leaving for a non-EU country. However, while abroad these goods must not be altered in any way.
In the case of used goods that still look new (e.g. camera equipment) you should take the receipts with you, so as not to give rise to any doubts concerning the provenance of the goods.
As a traveller with non-EU domicile you may use any items which you carry with you upon your entry and use duty-free as travel utensils for the period of your stay in the EU. However, it is not admissible to give these goods to other persons. Whenever these items include very valuable consumer goods (e.g. several pairs of skis, a computer), the customs officer may require a customs declaration at entry in order to check on their re-export.
Customs declarations when travelling by rail
Whenever you travel by sleeping-car or couchette, you only need to fill in the form which the conductor will give you. It may, however, happen that you will be awakened at the border and that your luggage will be checked.
When you take along your car (roll on/roll off service), you should not leave any goods in the car that are in excess of your travel gear. For technical reasons, the customs officer is only able to check your car at the railway station at your destination.
When sending personal luggage as consignment goods, you will be handed a customs form, when checking in your luggage, which contains all important information. The railways will handle any further customs formalities for you.
When importing goods, travellers must basically pay the import charges that are due on the goods purchased abroad. Depending on the goods, these comprise customs duties and other import charges such as value-added tax on imports, excise duties on tobacco, beer or alcohol.
The purchase price is the basis for calculating the amount of the import charges. You should therefore keep the sales receipts or invoices for the goods bought abroad. Whenever you cannot document the purchase price, the prices of comparable imports of purchased goods will be taken as a basis. The value will be estimated, whenever the customs officer does not know these prices, or in case the goods were not purchased but given to you as a gift, for example.
Whenever the price includes an amount for value-added tax, this amount will not be included in the basis of calculation, if you can prove that the goods were or are exempt from value-added tax in the country where the purchase was made and that you, as the buyer, are the beneficiary of this exemption. The amount of the import charges therefore depends primarily upon value and rate of duty.
The excise duty on tobacco is calculated on the basis of the retail selling price.