USA Customs, Currency & Airport Tax regulations details

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Customs Rules

Import regulations::

Articles from certain developing countries are given special duty preferences when imported into the USA. Information regarding the countries concerned and the eligible articles may be obtained directly from the US International Trade Commission, 701 E Street N.W., Washington, D. C. 20436, USA or from the nearest overseas US Consulate.
Residents :
1. Returning residents of the USA are allowed to import free of duty up to USD 800.- worth of articles acquired abroad, provided their stay abroad was at least 48 hours and their duty-free exemption was not used in the preceeding 30 days (see 3. below - "If not entitled").
For arrivals directly from the US possessions of American Samoa, Guam and the US Virgin Islands, a duty-free exemption of USD 1600.- is allowed (not more than USD 800.- of which may be acquired elsewhere than in these islands).
The duty-free allowances may include the following maximum quantities of:
a. Tobacco products: 200 cigarettes, a reasonable amount of tobacco and 100 cigars. For arrivals from the US Virgin Islands, Guam or American Samoa: 1000 cigarettes, not more than 200 of which may be acquired elsewhere than in these islands.
b. persons of 21 years or older: 1 US quart of alcoholic beverages . For arrivals from the US Virgin Islands, Guam or American Samoa: 1 US gallon, not more than 1 quart of which may be acquired elsewhere than on these islands.
c. Perfumes, lotions, Eau de Cologne, etc. if not under a trade mark restriction recorded in the US Treasury Department (importation of one trademarked article per passenger will usually be allowed, unless the trade mark owner has authorized a greater number of imports of its article).
d. Other goods for personal use.
Above exemptions are also applicable if shipped as cargo provided arriving by same aircraft and date as owner. It is advisable that US residents have valuable articles of foreign manufacture registered by a customs inspector before leaving the USA.

Generally, persons leaving the USA for the purpose of travelling, working or studying abroad and returning to resume residency in the USA, are considered returning residents by the US Customs.

Mexico and the Virgin Isl. (USA) are exempt from the 48-hour minimum time requirements.

State restrictions: Quantities in excess of one US quart of alcoholic beverages per person imported into certain states (e.g. New York) are subject to local state taxes. E.g: the New York State Tax is for liquors USD 3.25 per gallon, for champagne and for wines USD 0.80 per gallon. Passengers returning directly from the Virgin Isl. 9USA) may import one gallon duty free. Any amount in excess of one gallon is subject to US duties and N.Y. Taxes. For possible restrictions of US states other than those mentioned above, apply to "Distilled Spirits Council of the USA", 1300 Pennsylvania Building, Washington D.C. 20004.

Members of a family residing in one household travelling together on their return to the USA will group articles acquired for application of the flat duty rate without regard as to which member of the family may be the owner of the articles. For example, an eligible family of four would have their articles grouped for a total of USD 3,200.- fair retail value for entry at the flat rate of duty.
3. If not entitled to the USD 600.-, USD 800.- or USD 1200.- exemption (because the exemption was previously used within the past 30 days or stay outside the USA was less than 48 hours) articles not exceeding a value of USD 50.- may be brought in, to include not over 50 cigarettes or 10 cigars or 4 ounces of alcoholic beverages (age: 21 years or older) or 4 ounces of alcoholic perfume. This USD 50.- exemption may not be grouped together for members of a family. If the USD 50.- exemption is exceeded, the whole quantity is dutiable.
4. US Customs will allow non-commercial importation of up to USD 800.- worth of goods from Cuba, Cambodia, Korea (Dem. People's Rep.), and Viet Nam provided:
- this USD 800.- allowance is used only once every 6 months;
- the goods are actually purchased in that country;
- they are for personal use and not for resale and
- accompany the traveller at time of entry into the USA.
Note: Articles from Cuba, Cambodia, Korea (Dem. People's Rep.) and Viet Nam brought to the USA from other countries may still be restricted.
It is prohibited to import Cuban cigars from any country. Further information may be obtained from the nearest US Consulate or by writing to the US Customs Service, Washington D.C. 20229, USA.
5. USA residents returning from the USA possessions of American Samoa, Guam or the Virgin Isl. (USA) may apply their personal duty-free exemption to articles acquired in, and sent directly from, these islands. Further information regarding unaccompanied shipments should be obtained from the local US Customs Office.

Non-residents are allowed to import the following articles for personal use free of duty (see also additional gifts below):
a. 50 cigars or 200 cigarettes or 4.4 lbs.(2 kg.) of smoking tobacco (persons of 21 years or older). Combination of proportionate parts of the three quantities is permitted;
b. 1 US quart of alcoholic beverages (persons of 21 years or older);
In addition each non-resident (including minors accompanied or unaccompanied) is allowed to import gifts free of duty not exceeding USD 100.- in value, provided:
1. the stay in the USA is not less than 72 hours and
2. this USD 100.- gift exemption has not been claimed within the preceeding 6 months.
False statements made to a U.S. Customs Officer are punishable by Law.

State restrictions: Quantities in excess of one US quart of alcoholic beverages per person imported into certain states (e.g. New York) are subject to local state taxes. E.g: the New York State Tax is for liquors USD 3.25 per gallon, for champagne and for wines USD 0.80 per gallon. Passengers returning directly from the Virgin Isl. 9USA) may import one gallon duty free. Any amount in excess of one gallon is subject to US duties and N.Y. Taxes. For possible restrictions of US states other than those mentioned above, apply to "Distilled Spirits Council of the USA", 1300 Pennsylvania Building, Washington D.C. 20004.

No alcoholic beverages or cigarettes may be included in the USD 100.00 gift exemption. However 100 cigars may be included in this gift exemption. If not entitled to the USD 100.- gift exemption, articles not exceeding a value of USD 50.- may be brought in which may include up to 50 cigars or 3 lbs. of tobacco. This USD 50.- exemption may not be grouped together for members of a family.

Prohibited to import:
For both residents and non-residents importing prohibited items can result in significant fines, penalties and/or imprisionment.
1.
narcotics, marijuana, dangerous drugs, absinthe (and any other liquor/liquers containing artemisia absinthium).
2. Fresh, dried or canned meat or meat products, poultry meat, plants , seeds (including rice, soybeans and chickpeas), , vegetables, fruits, soil, live insects, snails and other living plant or animal pests.
3. Fish - unless certified as disease-free - including salmon and trout, or their eggs, if not canned, pickled or smoked may not be imported from anywhere except North America.
4. Imports from or exports to Iran and leather souvenirs imported from Haiti (e.g. drums).
5. Wildlife and fish and endangered wildlife species are subject to certain prohibitions and restrictions. This includes wild birds, mammals, reptiles, crustaceans, fish, mollusks and any part or product such as feathers, skins or eggs. Also prohibited are articles or products manufactured from wildlife such as articles of clothing (i.e. leopard skin coats, crocodile shoes etc.), purses, carvings, etc.
Further information may be obtained from the US Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, Washington, D.C. 20240, or at a US Embassy or Consulate overseas.
6. Lighters without fuel are permitted in checked baggage or a maximum of two lighters with fuel if properly enclosed in a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved case.
7. One book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches are permitted as carry-on items, but all matches are prohibited in checked baggage.
8. Dairy products and eggs from certain countries. For up-to-date information contact the nearest US Consulate.
9. Cuban cigars from any country.

Small quantities of cut flowers without soil are generally allowed into the USA. However, they should be pest-free. Certain plants and plant products are admissible under permit obtained in advance of importation. For information, write to: US Dept. of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), National Center for Import and Export, 4700 River Road, Unit 39; Riverdale, MD 20737.

Seeds of certain flowers, shrubs, vegetables and field crops may be admitted into the USA. Further information may be obtained by writing to Quarantines; US Department of Agriculture (see address quoted above) or at a US embassy or consulate.

Arms and Ammunition regulations::

For alien non-residents only: import of firearms and ammunition unless holding an approved Form 6 "ATF Form 6, Part 1 (Application and Permit for Importation of Firearms, Ammunition and Implements of War)".

Export regulations::

Free export of an unlimited quantity of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages.

Crew members customs regulations::

Crew are allowed to import:
a. one open litre of alcoholic beverage; and
b. 300 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 2 kilograms of smoking tobacco, or a proportionate amount of each; and
c. merchandise not exceeding USD 200.- in value, which may include gifts the crew member has purchased for persons in the United States, free of duty.
A special crew line is available.

Pets::

Cats and dogs are inspected by quarantine officer at port of arrival. If there is evidence of ill-health, the owner must pay for the veterinarian for further examination of the animal.
In addition, dogs (except for puppies less than three months of age) require rabies vaccination not less than one month before arrival.
1. A valid certificate of rabies vaccination signed by a licensed veterinarian must accompany the dog. This certificate should identify the dog and specify the date of vaccination and expiration, and the type of vaccine used. If no expiration date is stated, the vaccination must be no more than 12 months before arrival.
No rabies vaccination is required for dogs that during 6 months or more preceding their arrival in the USA have been in Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Chinese Taipei, Curacao, Faroe Isl., Fiji, Guadeloupe, Guam, Iceland, Ireland (Rep.), Jamaica, Japan, Martinique, Montserrat, New Zealand, Norway, Saipan, Samoa (American), St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Vincent, Sweden, United Kingdom or Virgin Isl.
2. The above pet requirements apply to all US ports of entry EXCEPT the territory of Guam and Samoa (American). Dogs arriving from other areas than mentioned in 1. without rabies vaccination certificate may be admitted provided owner confines the dog at home for 30 days and has the dog vaccinated within 4 days after arrival at destination and not more than 10 days after arrival at port of entry.

Pets entering Hawaii need a health certificate issued by an accredited veterinarian within 14 days prior to arrival. Dogs (including special aid dogs) and cats must undergo a mandatory 120 day quarantine period in the State Animal Quarantine Station. Only if specific requirements are met, animals can qualify for a 30-day quarantine period or the “5-days-or-less” quarantine program (for details see website: http://hawaii.gov/hdoa). Pets may only enter Hawaii at Oahu, Honolulu International Airport. All dogs and cats entering Hawaii are required to have an implanted microchip, which has to be obtained from the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Quarantine charges are: USD 25.- registration fee, USD 10.- health record fee and USD 7.- per day for dogs and USD 6.50 per day for cats.
Animals entering Hawaii on direct flights from the British Islands, Australia or New Zealand may be exempt from quarantine requirements. Pets transiting Hawaii must be quarantined at the state facility for the transit period. The Animal Quarantine Station must be notified of the complete itinerary at least 72 hours prior to departure from Hawaii.
More information about import of pets in Hawaii can be obtained from the Dept. of Agriculture, Animal Quarantine Branch, 99-951 Halawa Valley Street, Aiea, Hawaii 96701-3246. Phone: (808) 483-7151, fax: (808) 483-7161.
- Further information regarding importation of pets may be obtained from US Dept. of Agriculture (for birds) or US Public Health Service (for other pets).
- Passengers travelling via Houston must stay on board the aircraft during the transit stop there when they have their pets in the cabin.

Birds: Entry or transit of birds is strictly controlled. Only one or two personally owned pet birds may be brought into the USA. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Import Centers that contain quarantine facilities for pet birds are located only at the following special ports: Alaska (transit only); Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Mission, TX (only for abandoned or smuggled birds); New York JFK, NY. Note that the US laws restrict the entry of psittacine birds (parrots, parakeets, cockatoos, etc.) to two pet birds per family per year.
All pet birds (with certain exceptions for Canadian-origin birds) must be accompanied by a Health Certificate issued within 30 days prior to entry by the national government veterinary office of the country of export and are subject to a minimum 30 day isolation period at a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) operated quarantine facility. An advance reservation must be obtained from the quarantine facility and a deposit of USD 40.- must be paid prior to import.
Full details should be obtained well in advance of travel from a US consulate or directly from the Veterinary Services (VS) - APHIS, (301)734-8364 (main phone number for live animal imports) and (301) 734-4704 (main fax number for live animal import) -US Dept. of Agriculture, 4700 River Road, Unit 39; Riverdale, MD 20737, USA; for birds returning to Hawaii, please call the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility at (808) 837-8092 for importation requirements.
Warning: Unauthorized importation of birds can result in seizure.

Pet birds originally obtained in the USA and returning to the USA with the owner are allowed to re-enter without a USDA import permit. The pet bird may be quarantined in the owner's home for the 30-day quarantine period.

Baggage Clearance regulations::

All baggage, regardless of next destination, is cleared at the first point of entry in the USA. This also applies to baggage of passengers making an international transfer.
Crew: A special crew line is available.



Airport Embarkation Tax

No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.



Currency rules

Currency Import regulations:

and

Currency Export regulations:

local currency (United States Dollar-USD) and foreign currencies: no restrictions, provided that arriving and departing passengers must report to US customs any money or other monetary instruments exceeding USD 10,000.-. Gold: Importation of gold coins or small, non-commercial quantities of gold must be declared upon arrival.




Passport, Visa & Health advice


Learn all about regulations for your destination country. From airport tax to be paid on departure, to importing pets, as well as rules on how much currency you may bring into and out of a country.

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