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Customs and Import Restrictions

There are customs restrictions in place between foreign countries to minimize threats of foreign viruses, disease and prohibited goods. Below you will find guides for how to travel without breaching United State customs regulations – or other foreign countries’ restrictions.

When Traveling Into a Foreign Country

When traveling to a foreign country, US Customs takes great steps to guarantee that no illegal items are carried. Yet, there are other harmful items that are not allowed out of American soil into foreign countries – ones that may not at first be considered illicit. As a general rule of thumb, avoid transporting the following customs restricted items between countries:

You will find these categories commonplace – nonetheless, the potential dangers they have dissuade officials from taking chances. For instance, customs foods restrictions are in place for fruits and vegetables because they may carry bacteria and germs that are harmful outside of their native environment. Pets without proper papers could also carry detrimental viruses from one country to another.

Before your flight to an international country, visit the foreign embassy and consulate’s websites. The US Passports and International Travel site provides precise details about customs banned items and visa-related information.

United States Customs Restrictions on Traveling from a Foreign Countries

US customs restrictions go hand-in-hand with the customs restrictions of a foreign country. Knowing what items are subject to customs duties varies, yet for the most part, some or all of the following items will require export permits or another form of legal passing:

Depending on which customs prohibited items are identified and in what quantity, travlers found to be in violation of customs restrictions face the following types of penalties:

When leaving a foreign country with certain items like antique or precious items, you are encouraged to save the receipts of all items in case you are stopped and questioned at the airport. You are also advised to review the specific customs regulations of the foreign county you are departing from.

Customs Regulations of the United States

When returning to US soil from a foreign country, all travelers are asked to declare the following goods:

  1. Items purchased abroad and brought into the US
  2. Inherited items
  3. Items bought at duty-free shops, on the ship or on the plane
  4. Repairs or alterations to items taken abroad – even if service was free of charge
  5. Items brought into the US on behalf of another individual
  6. Items to be sold or used at your place of business – including items taken from the US at the beginning of the trip

While a number of items can be declared and approved for entry, any products made from endangered wildlife are strictly prohibited.

US Customs List of Prohibited Items

Products made of or with the following will be confiscated at the port of entry (whether by air, sea or land crossing), and a fine may be incurred:

Note: The one exception is ivory and skins on antique items older than 100 years. A document of authenticity will be required, therefore be sure to save the receipts of items of this nature.