US Customs Service
Customs and Duty
Customs in the host country. Before entering a foreign country, visitors will be asked to complete customs declaration forms, which must be presented (along with the student’s passport and visa) to immigration and customs inspectors abroad. Custom regulations vary from country to country. For any specific questions about which articles are prohibited in a destination country, contact the consulate or embassy of that country. In general it acceptable to bring personal effects with obvious wear into a foreign country without paying any duty. Personal effects include items designed for personal use, such as clothing, cameras, iPods, laptop computers, sports equipment, etc.
Customs when re-entering the U.S. For details on U.S. customs regulations visit the U.S. Customs website at http://cbp.gov/.
Keep list of purchases abroad. Upon re-entering the U.S., travelers are required to declare all items acquired abroad. Keep a list of all purchases with the value and receipts when possible. Under current law, it is acceptable for US residents to bring back $800 (retail value) worth of goods for personal or household use, duty-free into the U.S. There are, however, limitations on cigarettes, liquor, and perfume.
Food & Agricultural Products. US customs prohibits bringing some foods and agricultural products into the US to protect animals and agriculture from disease.
Duty Free shops. Items purchased at duty-free shops abroad are only exempt from local taxes in the country of purchase. These items are subject to duties when entering the US if they exceed the duty-free limit.