USA Customs, Currency & Airport Tax regulations details

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Customs Rules

Import regulations::

Articles from certain countries are given special duty preferences when imported into the USA. Contact the US International Trade Commission or US representations abroad for more information.
Residents :
1. Returning residents of the USA can import up to USD 800.- worth of articles acquired abroad free of duty, if 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 American Samoa, Guam or the US Virgin Islands: duty-free exemption of max. USD 1600.- (of which max. USD 800.- 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 and arriving by same aircraft as owner.

Persons returning to resume residency in the USA after travel, work or studies abroad 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 are subject to local state taxes. For more information, contact the Distilled Spirits Council of the USA.

Members of a family residing in one household returning together to the USA may group articles acquired, for application of the flat duty rate. 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 with max. value of USD 50.- may be imported, including max. 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.- value is exceeded, the whole quantity is dutiable.
4. Non-commercial import of goods with max. value of USD 800.- from Cambodia, Cuba, Korea (Dem. People's Rep.) and Viet Nam is allowed if:
- the USD 800.- allowance is used max. once per 6 months;
- the goods are purchased in that country;
- they are for personal use and not for resale; and
- carried by the traveller.
Note: Articles from Cambodia, Cuba, Korea (Dem. People's Rep.) and Viet Nam imported from other countries may still be restricted.
Import of Cuban cigars from any country is prohibited. Contact the US Customs Service or US representations abroad for more information.
5. USA residents returning from 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.

Non-residents can import the following articles for personal use free of duty:
a. 100 cigars or 200 cigarettes or 4.4 lbs.(2 kg) of smoking tobacco (persons of 21 years or older), or combination thereof;
b. 1 US quart of alcoholic beverages (persons of 21 years or older);
In addition, each non-resident (incl. minors) can import gifts of max. value of USD 100.- free of duty, once per 6 months, if their stay in the USA is not less than 72 hours.

State restrictions: Quantities in excess of one US quart of alcoholic beverages per person imported into certain states are subject to local state taxes. For more information, contact the Distilled Spirits Council of the USA.

Alcoholic beverages and cigarettes may not be included in the USD 100.- gift exemption. If not entitled for the USD 100.- gift exemption, articles not exceeding a value of USD 50.- may imported, including max. 100 cigars or 3 lbs. of tobacco. The USD 50.- exemption may not be grouped together for members of a family.

1. Narcotics, marijuana, dangerous drugs, absinthe (and any other liquor containing artemisia absinthium).
2. Fresh, dried or canned meat or meat products, plants , seeds (incl. 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. Goods from Iran and leather souvenirs from Haiti (e.g. drums).
5. Wildlife, fish and their products are subject to restrictions. Articles manufactured from wildlife such as clothing (i.e. leopard skin coats, crocodile shoes etc.), purses, carvings, etc are prohibited.
For more information contact the US Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife or US representations overseas.
6. Lighters without fuel are permitted in checked baggage or max. 2 lighters with fuel if properly enclosed in a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved case.
7. Matches in checked baggage. One book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches is permitted as carry-on items.
8. Dairy products and eggs from certain countries.
9. Cuban cigars from any country.

Small quantities of pest-free cut flowers without soil are generally allowed. Certain plants, plant products and seeds are admissible with an import permit. For more information contact the US Dept. of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), National Center for Import and Export.

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)".

Wild Fauna and Flora::

For detailed information see .

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 litre of alcoholic beverage; and
b. max. 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, free of duty.


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 must be vaccinated against rabies.Puppies must not be vaccinated against rabies before 3 months of age. A dog’s first rabies vaccine must be given at least 30 days before arriving in the United States, so the youngest that a puppy can be imported into the USA is 4 months of age.
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.
Rabies-free regions are subject to change. For recent rabies-free regions see
2. If transporting dogs from a country affected by screwworm, a documentation from a veterinarian confirming the dog was inspected and found negative for screwworm within 5 days of travel is required.
3. The above pet requirements apply to all US ports of entry EXCEPT the territory of Guam and the state of Hawaii. Import of unvaccinated dogs from areas other than those mentioned in 1. is subject to advance permission from CDC. For more information please contact: Unvaccinated dogs arriving without prior CDC permission may be denied entry. For more information please see 'Bringing Animal Products into the United States' in

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: 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 and 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 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.
For details contact the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service,

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

Baggage Clearance regulations::

Baggage, regardless of next destination, is cleared at the first point of entry in the USA. This also applies to baggage belonging to passengers making an international transfer. However, at some US airports, passengers making an international transfer without an additional stop in the USA, are not required to collect their bags. Passengers should check with their carrier. All transfer baggage must be labeled to the next destination.
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:


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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