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Register Electronics when traveling abroad from the US?

Register Electronics when traveling abroad from the US?

Old Jun 25th, 2006, 08:53 PM
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Register Electronics when traveling abroad from the US?

Question - I read that I should register my electronics (cameras) with the US State Department (or some other agency - don't remember which one but I will look it up - prior to going out of the country. Otherwise, they might try to tax me on the way back into the US as if I had purchased the item there. How often have any of you run across this? Is it really necessary to do it or not? Thanks.
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Old Jun 25th, 2006, 09:21 PM
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Several years ago (about 24), upon my return to the USA from the far east I had my one-and-only negative experience with a customs agent in Honolulu.

I properly declared the flash and lens I purchased while out of the country. The customs agent was not impressed as I had no proof that I actually left the USA WITH all the other camera equipment in my possession. He was lenient and believed my pleas of ignorance.

I recommend you register as suggested.

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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 05:00 AM
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I did this once, on our first trip in 1996. Haven't done it since. I don't own anything very expensive, just a point-shoot digital, and 'everybody' these days carries a cell phone...
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 05:18 AM
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I had one "experience" with a Customs agent after returning from a Caribbean cruise. She asked if the watch I was wearing "is new?" I told her to look at the crystal (obviously scratched) and she sent me on my way.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of these "encounters" depend on the subjectivity of the agents involved. I have never registered any of my electronic equipment and probably never will.

But I've been lucky with Customs, too.
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 05:26 AM
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To be safe, file a customs form 4457 listing such items you are taking on vacation. You fill this out, get it certified by Customs, and carry it with you.

http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/...t/cbp_4457.pdf
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 06:17 AM
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Robespierre is certainly the one to know. Follow his advice. Fill-out a simple form and have it certified or risk paying the duty and/or fine when you can't prove it was with you when you left. I'm always "cash poor" when I end a vacation and really don't need the hassle.
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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 06:20 AM
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Hi db,

Unless your camera is brand new when you depart, it is unlikely that a Customs agent won't notice that it has marks of wear and use on it when you come back home.

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Old Jun 26th, 2006, 06:42 AM
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If you have foreign goods of any value, I suggest you err on the side of caution and file the form. You never know what mood swing the Customs agent will be experiencing when you return, and once one has dutied your gear there may or may not be any appeal.

In my case, I still have the original 4457s I filed when each of the pieces of my camera system was new, and they're part of my travel kit. (Not that a CBP agent would look twice at a 30 year old SLR lens, even if it does look brand new!)
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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 12:46 PM
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Thank you for the advise. I called the customs rep and he said I could register my electronics right at the airport (LAX) prior to departure - to just show up an hour early and be sure that nothing gets checked in my baggage as he has to see it to stamp the form.
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