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bringing alcohol into the U.S.

Old Jul 4th, 2011, 07:23 AM
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bringing alcohol into the U.S.

hi there,

Does anyone know the rules from bringing alcohol into the U.S.? I'm hoping to bring a few bottles of rum home from St. Lucia, and I'm wondering if that's likely to cause any issues. I know that there is no federal maximum but have read that if you bring "too much" it could raise suspicion that it's not for personal use. I figure three bottles isn't too much, but then again I also think that lipstick is not a liquid.

I know that there are state maximums as well, but sadly the agency that regulates this for my state (Massachusetts) either doesn't post that info on its web site or buries it in an unfindable location.

Thanks for any insights.

Sasha
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 09:11 AM
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P_M
 
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Please check out this web site, it looks like you are only allowed one litre.

http://www.crossingmadeeasy.com/what...bring-back.htm
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 09:49 AM
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I believe what that page is saying is that you can bring back one liter duty-free, and the rest you pay a duty on.

That is also what the U.S. Customs site says:
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/va...aying_duty.xml

Here is an excerpt from that page:

"Federal regulations allow you to bring back more than one liter of alcoholic beverage for personal use, but, as with extra tobacco, you will have to pay duty and Internal Revenue Service tax.

While federal regulations do not specify a limit on the amount of alcohol you may bring back for personal use, unusual quantities are liable to raise suspicions that you are importing the alcohol for other purposes, such as for resale. ...

Also, you should be aware that state laws might limit the amount of alcohol you can bring in without a license. If you arrive in a state that has limitations on the amount of alcohol you may bring in without a license, that state law will be enforced by CBP, even though it may be more restrictive than federal regulations."

I don't really need to bring back that much alcohol -- I was thinking of bringing one bottle for myself and one to two more as gifts. I just wanted to make sure I understand the lay of the land first. I may just choose different gifts!
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 11:24 AM
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Simply put bringing back 3 bottles of alcohol from the Caribbean will not raise any eyebrows at the customs checkpoint neither will it trigger any type of inquiry from any other Federal or State agent. Three bottles is well within the amounts normally considered for "personal consumption".

As stated, you are allowed 1 liter back duty-free and you could be assessed duty on the other two. Just declare all three bottles on the customs form. You may even find the customs agent allows you to pass through without assessing any additional duty.
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 12:24 PM
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roamsaround is absolutely right. I carried a case of french wine back from Guadeloupe and the Customs officer didn't even blink. They are far more interested in making sure that agricultural products don't get in.
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 12:51 PM
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Good catch about the "duty free" part for one litre, thanks.
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 01:57 PM
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It's one litre per person duty free. However, we always bring back several bottles of tequila when we go to Mexico. It's more than 1/2 price over there compared to the US. In 10 years, never had a custom offical say anything to us.

Just pack really good in your checked luggage so it doesn't break. I usully put in beach towels, but the last time I brought some small bubble wrap.
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 03:03 PM
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Ah yes, packing them -- ugh! Good idea about the bubble wrap.

Thank you all for the help!!

Sasha
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Old Jul 5th, 2011, 09:58 AM
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The first time I flew back to the US from Europe, I had several bottles in my suitcase and tried to pay duty. They didn't want it.

Since that trip, I have brought back many bottles on other trips to Europe and Carribean. I always list them on the declaration and they never charge. Lots of other people have had the same experience.

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Old Jul 5th, 2011, 02:20 PM
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Duty on a bottle of wine amounts to about 25c or 30c per bottle which is why they don't bother to collect it. It's may be a buck or two for a bottle of spirits, but still peanuts.
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