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britab3 Sep 1st, 2004 08:12 AM

Do I need to register electronics with US customs?
Going to Barcelona for 3 months and have heard different stories regarding duties charged on US electronics when re entering the country. Is it necessary to register laptop, digital camera etc before leaving? if so where can this be done?

Christina Sep 1st, 2004 08:32 AM

I don't travel with those things, so can't say whether it is necessary (although so many people have digital cameras nowadays, I doubt they are all registering them).

However, I do know the US CUstoms web site gives information on how to register them, if you want -- you have to go to a local customs office to do it as you have to show them the stuff. YOu can read about it:

ira Sep 1st, 2004 08:36 AM

Hi britab,

If your stuff looks used, the customs agents won't bother you.

If you are buying them just before you go to Europe, I suggest that you register them.

Robert2533 Sep 1st, 2004 09:10 AM

We often end up carrying a still, digital and video cameras as well as a PowerBook and Palm whenever we travel on business or holidays and have never had a problem, that includes purchasing new cell phones and other needed equipment while in Europe. Normally, US Customs cannot be bothered with your personal equipment, but always have some type of proof of ownership if an item is worth more then a couple of thousand dollars retail, just in case anyone asks.

The same advice holds true when it comes to expensive watches and jewelry. Remember that the value of all items that you can bring back into the country without having to pay duty has doubled in the last couple of years, so most of the smaller digital cameras are well within this range.

You can register the items if you want, but it is generally not necessary unless it can be considered commercial equipment.

vinolover Sep 1st, 2004 09:21 AM

My husband travels out of the country for business on occasion and he did register his computer equipment with customs that last time we traveled.

It was a simple process, fill out the paperwork ahead of time (he got his paperwork from a colleague who picked it up at the airport customs office but perhaps you can get it on-line). They need the serial number, make, model, etc.

Then on our day of travel we got to the airport a little early, took the papers and the equipment to the customs office (I don't recall them even looking at the equipment), they just stamped the paperwork. It took only a couple of minutes.

Upon return no one ever questioned the equipment or asked to see the papers but it was nice that have it for peace of mind.

TopMan Sep 1st, 2004 09:29 AM

I frankly think it all depends on how you "look" to the Customs agent...and I say that seriously.

I know you are supposed to register electronics, cameras, etc., but I've never done it and I've also never been asked about any of these items to include phones, digital cameras, MP3 player, CD player, etc., in my various trips out of the country.

HOWEVER, I once returned to Florida from a cruise to the Bahamas and an agent asked me about my wristwatch..when I held up the obviously less-than-pristine crystal she immediately backed off.

I swear it is all subjective but if you want peace of mind I agree, register the stuff...but then whatever you do don't lose the paperwork!

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