To Declare or Not to Declare?

Old Jun 25th, 2002, 08:43 AM
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To Declare or Not to Declare?

When I return from my (first) visit overseas, what do we have to declare (or not declare)? Is there a dollar amount for each item or a total dollar amount? I will just be buying the usual gifts that aren't a lot of money. Do they go by the dollar amount only or in some cases the item (for example if I want to bring home a bottle of wine)? Please just give me all the criterias. Thanks!
Old Jun 25th, 2002, 08:49 AM
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Since you say "we" I'm assuming there are 2 ..your form will be for both of you so you will have 800.00 that won't be counted..If it's little things I just list as Miscellaneous and the total. with a large ticket item I list that individually..if it;s over 100 yrs old or an original piece of art work that does not count towards your total no matter what it cost
Old Jun 25th, 2002, 08:53 AM
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On the plane you'll be given a customs form to complete - juts list the items - even group them if similar - and give the amount you paid. Be aware what you may not bring back - fresh food, etc. Anything you purchase in the aiport duty free before boarding will be okay. Don't be worried in the least, US Customs is a bunch of pussy cats. They'll ask you all sorts of questions sometimes - they're basically bored. You are their entertainment. Have a good trip.
Old Jun 25th, 2002, 08:55 AM
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Yes, I did say "we", but shouldn't have because it is my friend and we will be buying separately.
Old Jun 25th, 2002, 08:56 AM
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You are allowed a total of $400 without paying duty; that includes the one litre of alcohol and one carton of cigarettes allowed by Customs. I group things together like "souvenirs - $53" "clothing - $156". If I go over the $400, I get a little more specific. Once you go over $400 you'll pay duty on that excess (about 10% of the amount). If you have bought a particularly expensive item, list it separately. Keep your receipts. You don't pay duty on antiques or certain art. You can't bring back tortoiseshell or ivory (unless they are verified antiques). If you want info from the horse's mouth, go to:
Old Jun 25th, 2002, 09:07 AM
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Buying things in the duty-free shop at the airport doesn't mean anything in terms of what you must declare, you must declare these in your total and pay duty if you buy that much. The only supposedly free duties involved are simply what that shop has paid its govt in import taxes. They can still charge whatever they want and you must declare them.
Old Jun 25th, 2002, 09:13 AM
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Actually posters are overlooking a valuable advantage US travellers have when returning from some countires. We have treaties with certain nations encouraging tourists to purchase items handmade in their countries, often native or local handicrafts. These may be brought back duty free and are not counted against your $400 limit. The airport pruchases, of course, do count and must be declared - but if they involve food, you may bring them back without fear of confiscation. Get yourself a set of Custom rules if you're thinking of any food items. Have a good trip and don't be overly worried about what you bring back.
Old Jun 25th, 2002, 09:24 AM
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I believe that antiques over 100 years old and several categories of art are also not counted in the $400 limit.
Here's the official explanation:$400
Old Jun 25th, 2002, 10:18 AM
Dick Yeager
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Just to clarify, the word "antique", by law, indicates the item is at least 100 years old.

I get a kick out of people who think something 25 or 50 years old is antique.

Old Jun 25th, 2002, 10:20 AM
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Ok, thanks everyone. I doubt if I will go over $400.00.
Old Jun 25th, 2002, 10:47 AM
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Dick, I realize that my term "antiques over 100 years old" might seem redundant to you, but if someone bought, say, a uniform from World War One, they might just mistake it for an antique!
Old Jun 25th, 2002, 12:06 PM
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I may be mistaken, but I really don't think the customs folks are out to bust someone who brings $420 worth of merchandise back to US (I find it's not hard to spend $400 on "souvenirs", etc.); I think they are after the big rollers who buy jewels, furs,lots of leather, etc.
Old Jun 25th, 2002, 12:11 PM
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Twice I've come into the United States just over the $400 mark - by only $10 or $20. I'm always very careful to be scrupulously accurate when I fill out my documents, and both times avoided the temptation to "lowball" my purchase prices to come in under the $400 limit.
Neither time did anybody say anything to me - never hardly looked at my paperwork. Other times, I've come into the US and had my bags searched, my itinerary checked (and checked and checked and checked) for no apparent reason. I'm always the same very plain, middle-aged women....
Old Jun 25th, 2002, 12:19 PM
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I've always been really careful and put down everything as honestly as I can remember. Every time I went through customs they'd just take the card, never looking at it much or saying anything. Until the flight when the big guy stopped me, looked carefully at the card and said, "Quick, what's the most expensive thing you bought?" I held up my Burberry purse, which I'd carried on because I declared the VAT on it (and, thus, might have to show--I didn't). He smiled and waved me through. Knowing that it CAN happen now keeps me honest!
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