Flying to the US with engagement ring.

Nov 23rd, 2013, 07:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 2
Flying to the US with engagement ring.

Hey, need a bit of help..

I will be flying to the US early next month and will be proposing to my girlfriend over there. She's an american citizen and I'm not. I'm simply flying there on a tourist visa and have every intension of flying back to Hong Kong.

For some reason I'm finding it pretty hard to get a straight answer to the following question and people give me different answers all the time..

What Is the best way to bring an engagement ring through US customs once arriving in the United States?

The following thoughts came to mind... Is it considered a gift cause I'm giving it to someone? Do I have to declare it cause it's over $100USD in value and then pay a certain percentage of duty? If so, how much duty would I have to pay? Or should I just try and walk through without declaring and hope for the best?

Any help at all would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance.
rmaxtor is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 01:16 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,470
Maybe you can find your answer here, from the paragraph about personal imports:
Odin is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 05:39 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
Put it on a chain and wear it around your neck .if it fits, wear it on your little finger. What if you were a female and you simply wore it as any other piece of jewelry you owned? I don't have to pay duty when I wear my diamonds when I fly into France, UK etc. why would someone have to do that flying into US?

I believe that link is for US citizens that are bringing back jewels that hey have purchased overseas and that will remain permanently in US.
DebitNM is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 06:46 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,470
Maybe this link might explain it better for non residents with gifts. Wearing your own jewellery that you've had for years & travelling with it is not the same thing at all.
Odin is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 07:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 2
Thank you for the responses. To be honest I'd be more than happy to pay the duty. My main concern is for customs to think I'm getting married there on a tourist visa and committing visa fraud which is absolutely not the case. I have a return ticket back home and I hope that's enough proof without a 2 hr grilling of questions.
rmaxtor is offline  
Nov 24th, 2013, 09:24 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,925
No info to add but just wanted to offer congrats and good luck, rmaxtor!
annw is offline  
Nov 27th, 2013, 05:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,439
As long as you have your outbound ticket, I doubt they are going to question you. I would just wear the ring on a chain u\around your neck (and leave the box home: you can get another in the US if you feel the need).
lcuy is offline  
Nov 27th, 2013, 09:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
If the OP is traveling with the GF, there shouldn't be any problem. If there is, just propose to her right there at customs. If he's traveling by himself, it may take some explaining, if he actually gets questioned and searched.
rkkwan is offline  
Nov 27th, 2013, 09:45 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Anyways, reading the OP again, he's probably flying into the US by himself. I say it's better for him to leave the ring behind. Or get a ring in the US instead.
rkkwan is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 04:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 636
Don't lie (it doesn't sound like you plan to lie, but some of the advice others have provided is along the lines of being less than forthcoming about the ring you're carrying). First of all, it's unethical. Second, getting caught could disrupt your current and future plans. If you want to make a life with your American girlfriend, there's a good chance you'll want to spend some time in the US in the future. You don't want to mess up your chances of being able to visit (or stay) in the US by lying to Customs and Immigration.

So, declare the ring. Bring documentation to show how much it's worth. Bring documentation to show that you have strong ties to your current home in Hong Kong. Beyond proof of a return ticket, proof of your current residence in the HK (do you have a lease that's going to run for a while), a letter confirming employment from your employer, etc?

And although you didn't ask this question, unless you have your heart absolutely set on proposing to your girlfriend on this trip, in the US, consider saving that proposal for when she visits you. Or if you have your heart set on proposing to her now, leave the ring at home, get her an inexpensive but pretty ring in the US, and show her a photo of the ring that is waiting for her the next time she visits you. That way you'll avoid the risk of Immigration thinking that you're planning to overstay your tourist visa.
frogoutofwater is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Can't agree more with the above poster.
rkkwan is offline  

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