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What is legal to bring back to the US?

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Apr 24th, 2013, 03:19 PM
  #1
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What is legal to bring back to the US?

Hi!

I will be travelling to Europe next month, May, and would like some suggestions on what I am allowed to bring back to the US (mostly for souvenirs).

My visits will be mainly in:
France (Paris)
Spain (Barcelona)
Italy (Naples)
Switzerland (Geneva)

This is my first time travelling to Europe so I have a couple of questions:

1. Is there a website that lists what I can and cannot bring into the US.

2. I would like to bring the following items back with me. Are they allowed? If they are, what's the limit?
- wine
- olive oil
- cheese
- olives

Thank you so much for your input!

LV
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Apr 24th, 2013, 03:42 PM
  #2
 
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This may be helpful. Have fun!

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...r-personal-use
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Apr 24th, 2013, 03:44 PM
  #3
 
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Here are links to the US Govt websites that answers your question:


https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...r-personal-use

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...r-personal-use

Keep in mind that liquids must be put into your checked bag(s). You might also want to look into having the items shipped home.

Have a great trip!!
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Apr 24th, 2013, 03:49 PM
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Here is a bag I have used many times to bring back bottles of many different sizes. If you are careful, you can reuse them, as well, for another trip.

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?p...&Ntt=wine+bags

We brought back a total of 6 bottles between my husband and me using these bags and all was well. Of course, more primitive methods also worked (lots of Tshirts and other clothing) but at least these bags seem to be waterproof in case of breakage.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 04:42 PM
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Wine is heavy and as noted needs to be checked. Cheese can be brought in. all of the things you list can be brought in, and in pretty much any amount (personally accompanied) you want. If you are over, there may be duty but it is nominal.No meat or fresh fruit, etc.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 05:12 PM
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You need to be careful with cheeses. Those made with raw milk are - I believe - not allowed. Check with the state department web site - and also check your $ limit.

Also be very sure to declare everything you have bought and brought back. The sniffer beagle is likely to find any foods - and if you haven;t declared them they will go through yuor bags with a fine tooth comb.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 05:23 PM
  #7
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Thank you so much for your input and the useful links.

I forgot to ask What other goodies are good to bring back from the places I'm visiting?
tuliip is offline  
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Apr 24th, 2013, 05:43 PM
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There is absolutely no restriction on cheese, even those made with raw milk, unless they are virtually in a liquid or near liquid state such as cottage cheese or ricotta cheese which are not admissible.

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...JQWHlvbA%3D%3D

However, the Customs people will enforce the state rules referencing carrying alcohol etc. of whichever state through which you will be entering the USA. Alcohol varies by state so you should check, not necessarily the state in which you reside, but the state into which you will first enter into the USA, for any restriction in reference to alcohol/wine.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 06:23 PM
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Just not the case for raw milk cheese for your own use. Bring 'em in and LOVE 'em.
And I don't think they have a problem with the alcohol rules FOR YOUR OWN USE. If you are bringing CASES, yeah.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 08:05 PM
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US Customs seldom is concerned with the cost of the goods you are bringing back. We've brought up to 12 bottles of wine plus a few bottle of expensive Spanish brandy back on several occasions without a problem.

The major problem will be with meats, processed or not. Jamón is still on the watch list, but just about any cheese (raw milk or otherwise) will pass muster with the Feds.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 08:49 PM
  #11
 
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Here is the official government Customs site
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/kbyg/
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Apr 24th, 2013, 10:27 PM
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We have just about given up bringing edible things back completely. Unless it is something really rare, almost everything is available in the States at gourmet food shops or online. Besides, it is a PITA lugging all that stuff from country to country, and then back across an ocean.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 11:43 PM
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Never understood how people would bring cheese back on a flight, especially a long haul one. Soft cheeses especially would deterioriate rapidly if not refrigerated, I can't imagine what a Camembert would look like after 12 hours on a plane! Yet, you see cheeses on sale at many airports in the departure lounge shops - Schiphol actually has a dedicated cheese shop for departing passengers. Am I missing something here?
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Apr 25th, 2013, 07:16 AM
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All this reminds me of the I Love Lucy episode where she was trying to sneak a cheese on the plane wrapped up like a baby.
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Apr 25th, 2013, 07:26 AM
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I would suggest the cheeses are probably not for people getting on a 12 hour plane ride - but for people that are going to be flying only an hour or two.

And agree don;t see the need to bring cheeses home from europe when Zabar's - less than a mile away - carries more than 200 different varieties imported from every country you can think of.
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Apr 25th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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My French friends who are presently living in our city regularly bring back big wheels of fine brie when they return here after having visited their families in France. Most cheese are not as delicate as some would have us believe. I certainly would not leave Roquefort in the garage over the summer but 12 hours at near room temperature has never harmed any transferred cheese that I have tasted.

while we can locally obtain a relatively interesting selection of French cheese, some of the prices are 3 to 4 times what they might sell for in France. I believe that occasionally bringing a bit of cheese makes a lot more sense the schlepping wine home. Cheese is not as heavy and will never stain the contents of your luggage red.
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Apr 25th, 2013, 10:12 AM
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<>

True, but it can spoil a plane ride for you and all the other passengers. Back in my ill-informed youth, and even having read the Mark Twain essay on it, I stupidly brought Limburger back from Germany, packed in a knapsack in the overhead bin. Halfway over the ocean the smell was intolerable and I was quickly singled out as the culprit by flight attendants and nearby passengers. They put the cheese in an airline fridge and gave it back to me at the end of the flight, but boy was I persona non grata!
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Apr 25th, 2013, 11:16 AM
  #18
 
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Any cheese you bring back should be vacuum packed. Most cheese stores either have it ready for taking home, or will vacuum pack it, if asked. Any cheese purchased at duty free should already be vacuum packed.

And as noted, the price difference can be amazing. We stopped by the Agur Cooperative on the way to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port last July and bought two 1-kilo wheels of Ossau-Iraty at less than half the cost of buying it at a local market in the Pays Basque, and less than 25% of the price we pay at home.

And if you like good beans like Alubias de Tolosa, Judion or Fabina Verde, which goes for nearly $19/lb in the States, you can save quite a bit, at least 75%, if buying them at a local market. We always pick up a kilo or two before heading home.
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Apr 25th, 2013, 12:38 PM
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Is foie gras allowed in?
Vonse is offline  
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Apr 25th, 2013, 03:30 PM
  #20
 
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If it's from France, yes, the government has an agreement with one company. Spain, no, but just tell them it's from France, should they ask. Best of all, don't bother to declare it if you're only carrying a tin or two.
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