Bringing back plants and seeds from holiday

There are a number of restrictions on what plants, seeds and other plant products can be brought into the UK. The rules change from time to time and if you are unsure as to what can be imported into the UK and what cannot you should seek clarification from the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera).

Travelling from an EU country

When travelling from a country within the European Union (the “EU”) and certain other countries, you can bring into the UK any plants, seeds, bulbs and similar plant products provided that the following conditions are met:

  • they must have been grown in an EU country or one of the countries treated as an EU country set out in the list below;

  • they must be free from pests and diseases (The Plant Health (England) Order 2005 sets out the types of pests which cannot be lawfully brought into England);

  • they must be for your own personal consumption.

Commercial importers will be required to obtain a licence before they can import such products into the UK.

Which countries are within the EU?

The rules relating to imports from the EU cover EU countries as well as certain other countries. For these purposes the following countries are within the EU:

  • Andorra;

  • Austria;

  • Belgium;

  • Bulgaria;

  • Cyprus (however, these rules only apply to areas effectively controlled by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus);

  • Czech Republic;

  • Denmark;

  • Estonia;

  • Finland;

  • France;

  • Germany;

  • Greece;

  • Hungary;

  • Ireland, Republic of;

  • Italy;

  • Latvia;

  • Lithuania;

  • Luxembourg;

  • Malta;

  • The Netherlands;

  • Poland;

  • Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira);

  • Romania;

  • San Marino;

  • Slovakia;

  • Slovenia;

  • Spain;

  • Sweden;

  • Switzerland;

  • The United Kingdom (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).

For the purpose of these rules Gibraltar and the Canary Islands are not treated as being part of the EU.

Travelling from other European and Mediterranean countries

If you are travelling from certain other European and Mediterranean countries not listed above you are allowed to bring into the UK the following:

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For more information on:

  • Seeds
  • Other plants and tree seedlings with or without soil
  • Bulbs, corms, tubers and rhizomes
  • Citrus and vine plants
  • To which countries do these restrictions apply?
  • Travelling from other countries
  • Declaring items at Customs
  • Endangered plants