Liquids Security & Duty Free

If you’re planning to buy liquids like alcohol or perfumes at the airport and then transfer through another airport or return home within one or two days, you need to be aware of the security rules regarding Duty Free liquids in your hand luggage.

Generally speaking, these liquids have to be packed in a Security Tamper Evident Bag (STEB) with the receipt showing clearly, and the bag has to remain sealed during the duration of your trip. Duty Free shops now use these bags as a matter of routine.  Unfortunately, the acceptability of these bags isn’t consistent.  Not all airports accept them, sometimes the rules aren’t really clear, and occasionally the security screeners can be overzealous.

There is no comprehensive list of the rules in each country around the world. The closest thing to such a list is on the Singapore Airlines website, but I still suggest you check with the Duty Free shop staff or your transit airport directly just to be sure.

In addition to the Singapore site, the following are some links to official websites to help you make your own decisions:

EU rules on Duty Free liquids in hand luggagetells you from which countries EU airports will accept STEBS.  Note the 36 hour time limit which means you can buy on the way out and bring it home within 36 hours.

US rules on Duty Free liquids in hand luggage – this is what’s accepted by the US authorities.   The US time limit is 48 hours

Japan (see the last sentence in Question 5) is pretty straightforward, but Australia and India seem to be stricter than most.