It’s often easy for Pilgrims to forget that if you are travelling back to the UK, you are only able to return with a certain amount of goods without having to pay tax on their value.
So, what should you know before you pick up your mementos and souvenirs?
What tariffs apply
One of the most frustrating things about tariffs is that they often change. If you’re planning on buying gifts for loved ones, always take the time to check them before making any purchases. And with Brexit on the horizon, staying informed and up-to-date is crucial as – sadly – ignorance is not an accepted defence.
Here are some of the items you will be likely to enter and return with as part of your pilgrimage.
Bringing into Saudi
As a rule, you will not able to bring medicines without doctors note. This means that pilgrims with conditions as life threatening as diabetes will be affected and should acquire and note and keep a copy on them at all times. Radio equipment is also banned which means that walkie talkies are not allowed and that smartphones should be used instead. Any games that could potentially be used to gamble are also not allowed, including chess, dice, or cards. Any laptops or electronics may have their content checked for unsuitable material which can vastly increase your waiting time
Check the tallies for where you are flying to. For UK travellers this specifically includes:
ZamZam: Zamzam water is a traditional gift for all members of the family. However, recent changes have limited the amount of water you can return with. You also cannot bring Zamzam with you with several airlines limiting you to no more than five litres of water as checked baggage.
Gifts: When it comes to your materials purchased at markets or souks, you will be questions on: the type and number of the goods, why you purchased them and who they are for.
Food: Each traveller ahs a limit of 2kg combined per person, which includes eggs, honey and other perishables. This limit stretches to 20kg for fish, dead bivalves and for certain types of fruits and vegetables. This applies to posted items and personal luggage, regardless of where or when you’ve purchased them.