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Legal for 19 year old to bring wine to US in checked luggage from Europe?

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Aug 5th, 2010, 02:13 PM
  #1
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Legal for 19 year old to bring wine to US in checked luggage from Europe?

my 19 year old daughter is working at a winery in Europe & would like to bring us a couple of bottles of wine in her checked luggage when she returns from Europe. Since her originating country doesn't have a specific drinking age, would that mean she could bring a couple of bottles of wine back to the States?

I know that she can be taxed if she brings more than a couple of bottles, I believe, by US Customs, but I don't know if being underage for alcohol is an issue that US Customs has the authority to address.

We'd love for her to bring some wine back, so are trying to figure out if it's legally okay!

Thanks for any help you might have!
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Aug 5th, 2010, 02:20 PM
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No, she needs to follow the laws of the country she is entering. For example, when I was 19 (legal age in BC Canada) I could not cross the border into the US with alcohol until I was 21.
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Aug 5th, 2010, 02:28 PM
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Not legal, but it would probably get through. If stopped, just play stupid. They will confiscate and not fine.
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Aug 5th, 2010, 02:30 PM
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J62
 
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Duty on wine is about 25c per bottle. The several times I've brought back 10-12 bottles US customs hasn't bothered to collect the $2-3 USD.
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Aug 5th, 2010, 02:37 PM
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It's not legal as she is underage in the country she is entering. If she does not declare the bottles, yes, they could be confiscated but honestly I don't know if there would be further consequences because of her age. When our then 18 year old daughter traveled to the Czech Republic and Croatia with family friends, she brought back some liquers in her luggage. I can't remember if she declared them or not, but we had no idea she was bringing them back. You might want to check with US Customs to see what penalties might occur, it would be a shame to have anything more serious than losing the wine bottles happen.
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Aug 5th, 2010, 02:38 PM
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I dont thnk anything will happen to her they will just confiscate it and dump it if they find it.
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Aug 5th, 2010, 03:36 PM
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J62
 
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US customs is responsible for enforcing US federal laws, and as far as I know there are no federal laws regulating drinking age, so no, it's not "illegal in the country she's entering". - regulating drinking age is left to the individual states.

All states have set the drinking age to 21 in order to receive federal highway funds, which was a back door way for US congress to set the drinking age.

Now as to whether US customs also enforces state laws I'm not sure.
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Aug 5th, 2010, 03:49 PM
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Thanks so much for all of your quick & excellent responses. I'll look forward to planning a trip sometime with you all on this site. In the meantime, I'll pass on your great suggestions & comments to my daughter so she'll know the situation. THANKS!
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Aug 5th, 2010, 03:57 PM
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US Customs will indeed enforce the laws of the state through which one enters into the USA.

As this 19 year old is neither purchasing (not as far as customs is concerned) nor consuming alcohol she is only in possession. Different states may have different laws concerning the possession of alcohol by a minor. For example, in Texas a minor may legally work in a bar, serve liquor, yet not legally consume. As we do not know the state through which she will enter into the USA, no one can say with great authority what circumstances she might encounter.

However, it is unlikely that there will be any issue at all and that the wine will pass un-noticed and unencumbered.
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Aug 6th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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By federal law you do have to be 21 to bring alcoholic beverages into the country. It doesn't make sense to me, but that is the law. You can check it at the US Customs and Border Protections website. http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/...egulations.pdf
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Aug 6th, 2010, 09:06 AM
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All I know is that the US boarder people did indeed dump my very fruity, very expensive california coolers when I tried to cross at the border between Vancouver, Canada and Seattle because I was 19 (legal age in BC) and not 21. Very sad.
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Aug 6th, 2010, 10:46 AM
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"By federal law you do have to be 21 to bring alcoholic beverages into the country. "

That's not what the website says, paul1950. It only refers to the duty exemption - it says nothing about importing alcohol being prohibited by federal law. If the issue were only about a duty exemption, then I'm sure anyone would be happy to pay the 25 cents duty, or whatever the current duty is.

Really a moot point or a matter of semantics, because it's also clear that CBP enforces local state laws, which jamikins found out the hard way.
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Aug 6th, 2010, 11:31 AM
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ipod-robbie.. not sure which gov. website but yesterday I saw that one of the requirements to import alcohol is to be 21 yrs. old.
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Aug 6th, 2010, 11:44 AM
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I am pretty sure that "21" is mentioned on the customs form they give you on the plane. I have no difficulty not respecting laws with which I disagree. As I said earlier, the risk is confiscation, nothing more.
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