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Duty-free idea...want to know if it's legaly possible..

Duty-free idea...want to know if it's legaly possible..

Oct 5th, 2012, 06:50 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,902
Somehow I think the immigration/customs would be suspicious of someone lugging twenty tons of merchandise out of a secure area to go to their car. I have no idea how to even get out of the immigration area once I have had all of my documents processed.

I agree with someone above. Duty free is not cheap!!!

There would be a record of what you have purchased I am sure as you have to show your boarding pass. When you come back in to the country they might be wondering where your 5 cameras, 3 video cams, 4 ipads and 30 bottles of perfume are!!
MissGreen is offline  
Oct 5th, 2012, 08:23 PM
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Why would you not want to make the duty-free purchases on your back?
Underhill is offline  
Oct 5th, 2012, 11:02 PM
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The purpose and spirit of "duty-free" is that one buys some items in Country A (or onboard), but is taken into Country B for use in Country B. There will not be any duty from Country A, because the goods won't be consumed there.

The OP clearly doesn't understand this idea. He thinks it means it's a perk for someone who purchases an international ticket and can therefore not pay duty on items bought and used in Country A, as long as it's for personal use. That's simply silly.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 5th, 2012, 11:51 PM
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In the UK you can buy duty-free goods on the way out of the UK and collect them when you return.
alanRow is offline  
Oct 6th, 2012, 09:09 AM
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Yes, and many airports have duty-free in the international arrivals area, but BEFORE customs. Point is, the international traveler returning to Country A can buy his duty-free items for Country A wherever available, but the items still have to go through customs of Country A. If over the limit imposed, then they need to be declared and duty charged.

For the OP, since he's planning to use his cigarettes after he returns to the US, he just need to buy them at the last airport before he boards his flight to the US, or on board. For flights from airports with US pre-clearance like many Canadian or Irish airports, have to buy them at those airports before US Customs.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 6th, 2012, 05:41 PM
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See...problem with that is, as I stated before, I travel very light....don't want to check baggage (layover means 4X probablility of lost luggage), and there is no way of added carry-on even bribing ailine with money (I already called airline and asked).
beerbackwash is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 12:53 AM
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You buy your cartoon of 200 cigarettes on board while you return. They won't count as your carry-on. Trust me. Seriously, how much do you save on duty on 10 packs of cigarettes? If luggage and all are so troublesome, then you just have to forget it.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 9th, 2012, 07:07 AM
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First of all, duty-free doesn't count toward your carry-on allowance, so you can buy your duty-free cigarettes in your last airport before arriving in the U.S. and pick them up at the gate without any problems. And if you buy the cigarettes on the plane that is doubly true, though potentially more expensive.

Second, you are obviously trying to do something illegal despite your protestations; it's illegal to consume duty-free products in the country of purchase. Illegal without any question.

Third, I'm not convinced you can even do what you want. Duty-free shops are post-security, and in order to legally bring duty-free goods back into the U.S. you have to go through customs (and pay duty on anything over your duty-free limit). I suppose you could stroll out of the airport (though I think it's highly unlikely). Liquor and tobacco products are almost always brought to the plane. Perfume is often not simply because it's not actually cheaper in a duty-free store than elsewhere in most cases (i.e., there are no longer special duties on perfume, just VAT, and most perfume is cheaper in the U.S. than in other countries).
doug_stallings is offline  
Oct 10th, 2012, 12:21 PM
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Flying out of the US, you will get your duty free purchases at the gate, you won't be able to bring back to the car.

Buy your cigs, 2 cartons on way out and carry on, if they have the 3 or 4 carton savings box of cigarettes, you can buy the whole lot and leave the US with 3-4 cartons. You will pay approx $33/carton in US at duty free. Bring a zip out duffle for on the way home, or an expandable bag and pack that in your carry on. Also, pack light and leave room to bring back your purchases - this will just make things easier for you.

Buy more cigarettes at duty free on your return flight to the US. You will be able to walk out of the Dufry store with these. Take out your folding duffle/bag after you purchase and fill up the bag so you don't have to carry around giant plastic Dufry bags around the airport and on the plane.

I buy 8 - 10 cartons/per person at a time (yes, you can legally do this, BUT you need to declare the value - it is considerably less than purchasing in the US. Remember, you are declaring the value or cost you paid, not quantity, so you are clean to clear customs with your 8-10 cartons, or whatever you are buying). Avg cost, depending on country, is $25USD/carton - I could probably tell you if I knew what country you were going to.

If you are going to a country where cigarettes are not heavily taxed, you can circumvent some of the hassle at duty free by just purchasing in a regular store and packing with your stuff. Again, you do need to declare the value of your purchase on your customs form. So say you bought 10 cartons at $25 USD or the equivalent of that price, you would mark on your customs form:
Item: Cigarettes, Value: $250

This is legal. Do know, however, that if asked about your purchase, you may be required to pay the US tax if the quantity is deemed to be over the limit, though I have never had this happen, it could.

Other items, as suggested by others, cosmetics, booze, food, are not any cheaper in the duty free shops compared to purchasing outright.
cherrybomb is offline  
Oct 10th, 2012, 12:25 PM
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"there is no way of added carry-on even bribing airline with money (I already called airline and asked).

I should have read all the way prior to replying, bribe the airline, srsly?

Why did I waste my time trying to be helpful?
cherrybomb is offline  
Nov 25th, 2012, 01:15 PM
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Actually, CherryBomb...your responses have been more educational/useful than anyone else so far!! FYI, my ittinerary will be...Chicago(ORD), layover at Heathrow, then to Berlin (Tegal). Return is Berlin, layover at Heathrow, then to Chicago. My vehicle will have stayed at the ORD airport parking lot for a week.

As far as cigarette prices, Cook County (that's Chicago and surrounding suburbs) is going to add another $1 per PACK tax soon...so just a single pack of cigs would cost ~$11.

If I can legaly purchase a case (or 2 or 3 etc..) of cigarettes for personal consumption at your aforementioned price, than it would definately be worth it to me financialy speaking....but only if I can do it legaly! As much research as I've done...there has to be a legal loophole somewhere!
beerbackwash is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 04:15 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
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"it's illegal to consume duty-free products in the country of purchase. Illegal without any question."

No it isn't. See alanrow's post above plus there is no UK requirement to consume goods purchased in an outbound "Duty Free" shop in a UK airport before returning to the UK.
Rubicund is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 09:54 AM
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As I tell the fine passengers on my international flights when I sell duty free items and they complain about the price of the cigarettes-"have you thought about quitting and saving your health and money"? Just saying.....
dutyfree is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 07:38 AM
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My thoughts exactly dutyfree. You would save all this hassle if you just quit smoking.
MarthaT is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 12:04 PM
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I know many people who do smoke (though I do not). Of those in this category who are over the age of 30, I know exactly zero people who would not quit if they could, and none of them find gratuitous advice especially helpful.
DonTopaz is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 05:07 PM
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Quitting is too hard. The OP should move away from Cook County. And find a new place - maybe in some other country - with no cigarette tax.
rkkwan is offline  
Nov 29th, 2012, 09:16 AM
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If you really want to save money on cigarettes - rent an 18 wheeler and go visit North Carolina or another southern states where cigarettes are dirt cheap. Buy a truckload and return to Chicago. Oh wait, that's like bootlegging too.

However, as another poster mentioned, Chicago has cheap prices on liquor and other things. I am confident if you look around and ask carefully, you can find a wise guy who has some to sell that "fell" off someone else's truck.
LBloom is offline  
Nov 30th, 2012, 06:35 AM
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I agree with all who advise you to quit smoking. I also know people who will tell you that its "impossible" to quit. Its not. I did it. Its hard....there's a difference. But this isn't a non-smoking forum.

Can't you buy cheap cigarettes at the Indian reservation casinos in Wisconsin? That's were everyone who is still addicted in Minnesota buys there stash - the reservation casinos here.
TC is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 03:16 PM
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Some countries have a limit to the amount of duty free tobacco you can bring into the country. I think the US is 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars.
sundowner is online now  

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