USA Customs, Currency & Airport Tax regulations details

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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 preceding 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.
2. 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 traveler.
Note: Articles from Cambodia, Cuba, Korea (Dem. People's Rep.) and Viet Nam imported from other countries may still be restricted.
Import of Cuban alcohol and/or tabacco products acquired in Cuba for personal use is allowed in accompanied baggage.
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.

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.

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. Unprocessed pork products and pork byproducts from the Dominican Rep. and Haiti.
4. 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.
5. Goods from Iran and leather souvenirs from Haiti (e.g. drums).
6. 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.
7. Dairy products and eggs from certain countries.
For more information contact the US Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife or US representations overseas.
8. 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.
9. Matches in checked baggage. One book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches is permitted as carry-on items.

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:

Import permit is required. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulates the importation of firearms. For further details please refer to
If importing arms and/or ammunition into the US Virgin Isl.: passengers must contact the Firearms Unit of the US Virgin Isl. Police Department prior to arrival at Tel: 1-340-776-1525.

Wild Fauna and Flora:

For detailed information see .

Export regulations:

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


Pets entering Hawaii (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:
The Dog and Cat Import Form AQS-279 must have been submitted to the Animal Quarantine Station more than 10 days prior to arrival.
Pets entering Hawaii on direct flights from the British Islands, Australia, Guam 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.
All dogs and cats entering Hawaii are required to have:
- microchip, implanted before the rabies anti blood test is performed;
- at least 2 rabies vaccinations. The most recent vaccination must have been administered by a licensed veterinarian more than 30 days before arrival;
- original Health Certificate in English issued within 14 days prior to arrival;
- a Neighbor Island Inspection Permit (NIIP) if flying directly to Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA), Kahului Airport (OGG) or Lihue Airport (LIH). Refer to the “Checklist for Requesting Direct Airport Release at Kona, Kahului and Lihue Airports" No permit is required to fly into Honolulu at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), island of Oahu.
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 96701-5602. Tel: 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).

Birds: Entry and transit of birds is strictly controlled. Max. 5 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 5 pet birds per family per year.
All pet birds (with certain exceptions for Canadian-origin birds) must be accompanied by:
1. USDA Import permit;
2. Health Certificate issued within 30 days prior to entry by the national government veterinary office of the country of export;
3. An advanced reservation from the quarantine facility for a minimum of 30 day isolation period at a USDA operated quarantine facility.
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.

Cats and dogs must be at least 6 months of age and are inspected by quarantine officer at port of arrival. If they appear to be sick, the owner must pay for the veterinarian for further examination of the animal.
It's allowed to import a maximum of 3 dogs for 1 trip only.
There is a temporary suspension for dogs imported and originated from:
- countries that CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) considers high risk for dog rabies; AND
- countries that are not at high risk if the dogs have been in high-risk countries during the previous 6 months. This does not apply to dogs who where in transit through a high-risk country only provided they did not leave the airport transit area in that high-risk country.
As the list of these countries may change, see for the latest information.
Import approval may be granted on a limited case-by-case basis. To request advance written approval (CDC Dog Import Permit) from CDC you must email [email protected] at least 30 business days (6 weeks) before you intend to enter the United States.
The temporary suspension is not applicable to service dogs (SVAN).

Dogs must be accompanied by one of the following documents:
1. a valid certificate of rabies vaccination if arriving from a high-risk canine rabies country. As the list of these countries may change, see for the latest information.
The certificate becomes valid 28 days after the first vaccination and must include the following information:
- name and address of owner;
- identifying information for the dog;
- vaccine product information;
- date of vaccination and expiry date;
- name, license number address and signature of the veterinarian.
If no expiration date is stated, the vaccination must be no more than 12 months before arrival. Puppies must not be vaccinated against rabies before 3 months of age. A dog’s first rabies vaccine must be given at least 28 days before arriving in the United States. Dogs older than 15 months of age that previously received a rabies vaccination (with the first given after 3 months old) may be imported immediately after booster vaccination (if required), without the need to wait 4 weeks before traveling.
A serologic test is required if the dog's current rabies vaccination was given outside the USA;
2. a CDC-issued unimmunized dog permit "Permit to Conditionally Import a Dog Inadequately Immunized against Rabies". Must be applied online 10 business days prior to arrival. Entry is only allowed via John F. Kennedy Intl. airport (JFK);
3. written (or oral) statement that the dog has not been living in a high-risk canine rabies country for the past 6 months or since birth.
The above pet requirements apply to all US ports of entry EXCEPT the territory of Guam and the state of Hawaii.
For more information, see (bringing an animal into the U.S.).
IMPORTANT: until further notice, it is prohibited to import dogs originating from Egypt.

Baggage Clearance regulations:

Baggage is cleared at the first point of entry in the USA.
Exempt: At some US airports, passengers making an international transfer are not required to collect their bags. Passengers should check with their carrier if they need to pick up baggage before transferring.


Currency Import regulations:


Currency Export regulations:

local currency (United States Dollar-USD) and foreign currencies: no restrictions, if 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.

Airport Tax

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

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.