How to go through customs
This page explains the customs channels at ports and airports in the UK, and which one you should use.
We have a duty to protect the UK from drugs, firearms and other harmful goods, and to stop smugglers evading taxes that fund vital public services. To do this we carry out checks on some travellers. If we stop you and ask you about your baggage, please co-operate because we need your help to prevent smuggling.
If you have goods that are banned, restricted or more than your allowance, you must declare them. To do this, you must speak to one of our officers.
Most ports and airports in the UK have 3 exits (known as channels).
Use the red channel if you:
- have goods to declare; or
- have commercial goods (see rules on merchandise in baggage on the website of HM Revenue & Customs); or
- are not sure what you should declare.
Use the green channel if you are travelling from a country outside the European Union with:
- no more than the customs allowances listed on the website of HM Revenue & Customs; and
- no banned or restricted goods;
Use the blue channel if you are travelling from a country in the European Union with no banned or restricted goods.
Some ports and airports have only 1 exit. There will be a red-point phone at this exit, which you must use if you think you may need to declare goods.
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