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Personal Importation / Ports of Entry FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much alcohol can I bring back from Mexico and other locations outside of Texas?

    If you are coming into Texas from outside the state or country, the maximum quantity of alcoholic beverages that you can bring back into Texas is:

    1 gallon of distilled spirits
    3 gallons of wine and
    24 twelve-ounce containers of beer.

    Please remember that there can be no substitutions between the types of beverages. Also, the importation of alcoholic beverages must be for personal consumption and they cannot occur more than once in a 30-day period. The person making the importation must accompany the alcoholic beverages. Minors (persons under 21 years of age) or intoxicated persons may not bring alcoholic beverages into Texas under this provision.

  2. I am moving to Texas. Can I bring my collection of wine, beer or distilled spirits? Am I limited to three gallons? Do I need a special permit? How much tax will I owe?

    Texas law allows a person to import an unlimited personal malt beverage, wine, or distilled spirit collection along with their household goods when relocating to Texas. There is no paperwork involved and the typical state taxes are not owed. If you are moving to Texas from outside of the United States, you should contact U.S. Customs regarding federal regulations and taxes.

    From the Alcoholic Beverage Code: Sec. 107.11. Importation Of Personal Wine Collection.

    1. A person who is relocating a household may import, or contract with a motor carrier or another person to import, a personal malt beverage, wine, or distilled spirit collection as a part of that person's household goods.
    2. Section 107.07 [regarding taxes and importation limits] does not apply to a person who is importing a personal malt beverage, wine, or distilled spirit collection under Subsection (a).

  3. Are Alcoholic beverages for personal consumption subject to tax?

    Yes. All alcoholic beverages imported into our state are subject to the state liquor tax and a $3.00 administrative fee collected by Taxpayer Compliance Officers of the TABC. Payment of the fee and taxes is documented by a tax stamp placed on the bottles by our employees. Please note that failure to pay the tax and obtain the appropriate stamp will subject violators to a fine ranging from $100 to $1,000 and/or a jail term of up to one year.

    Our Ports of Entry employees are also responsible for making sure that the laws relating to importation of cigarettes are observed. A tax of $1.50 is due on each pack of cigarettes. The collection of this tax is done by placing a cigarette tax stamp on each pack.

  4. What happens if I bring in more alcoholic beverages than my allowed limit?

    Our Taxpayer Compliance Officers are authorized to disallow and destroy alcoholic beverages over the importation limits as well as those in the possession of minors or intoxicated persons. Cigarettes in the possession of persons under the age of 18 will also be disallowed and destroyed.

  5. Do you accept pesos or Mexican money?

    The only currency we are allowed to accept is US currency.

  6. Can I pay with a credit card or check?

    Taxpayers can pay with a Visa or MasterCard credit card at most locations. On our Ports of Entry information page you will find our locations that accept credit cards. At present time we do not accept checks.

    At the Galveston and Houston seaports, if customers do not have cash or credit cards, we have implemented a pay by mail system in which customers can send a cashier's check or money order to pay for their alcohol and cigarette tax. Taxpayers will be provided a pay by mail form at the Galveston or Houston seaport.

  7. I only bought one bottle of liquor. Can I return to Mexico and get my other three bottles?

    Yes, you may avail yourself to the state limit on liquor imported for personal use, so long as it is declared in accordance with U.S. Customs officials.

  8. I am moving to Texas and have a bar. Can I bring back my liquor collection with me? Do I have limits on this? How much will I have to pay?

    If you are relocating your household to Texas, you can import an unlimited personal malt beverage, wine or distilled spirit collection as part of your household goods without paying state taxes. Any personally imported alcohol must be for personal consumption only and may not be resold.

  9. Can I bring back a keg of beer by myself? How about a pony keg?

    No. One person, over age 21, is allowed to import no more than 24 twelve-ounce bottles (one case) of beer per month. A case of beer has 288 ounces; a keg of beer has 4,464 ounces of beer. Technically, a keg would require 6.8 persons.
    A pony keg has 496 ounces of beer. Technically, a pony keg would require 1.7 persons.

  10. Why do the importation limits exist?

    If the limitations were not in place, then it would translate into more product entering the state without label approval and testing for purity. The probability of that product making to the retail market would be much higher.

  11. Where does the money go?

    All money derived from the taxes and fees collected by TABC is deposited into the state's General Revenue Fund, along with all the other tax revenue collected by state agencies.

  12. What is the limit on cigarettes?

    There is no limit on the amount of cigarettes that may be imported for personal use. However, if a large quantity is imported, it then draws the attention of the Comptroller's Office and it may be cause for an investigation for "intent to sell" by that individual.

  13. Can I have a receipt for paying my taxes?

    The tax stamp affixed to the bottle of liquor or pack of cigarettes is your receipt. That will serve as proof of you paying your required taxes on the liquor or cigarettes.