Tips for navigating the U.S. customs process
On a typical day, nearly 1 million individuals enter the USA at its ports of entry. Everyone is subject to inspection by U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers for compliance with U.S. immigration, customs and agriculture regulations.
If you know what to expect, the process will be much easier and make your entry into the U.S. far smoother.
Customs & Customs Regulations
At the customs area you will be asked to hand in your form and for a declaration. Please keep in mind that U.S. Customs and Border Protection may search your belongings even if you don’t declare anything. Here are a few things to note:
- Duty-Free Items: You are permitted to bring in duty-free up to 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars per individuals 18 and older, up to one liter of alcoholic beverages per individuals 21 and older, and gifts and purchases valued at a maximum of $100 total.
- Cash: You must declare cash of $10,000 or more, whether it is U.S. or other currency.
- Do Not Bring These Items: counterfeit goods, Cuban cigars, most agricultural (plant and meat) products, firearms, cultural artifacts and property, automobiles, and drugs and drug-related equipment. The presence of any illegal drugs will result in prosecution. Check here for full list of prohibited and restricted items.
Click here for full list of customs rules.
If you want to travel with your pet, make sure you know the regulations regarding each animal. Be sure that your pet has proper documentation before entering and traveling throughout the USA. Animal health certificates or inspections may be required prior to entry. Check with your airline for specific rules. Pets are not typically allowed in shops and restaurants, though there are some exceptions. Dining establishments with patios and outdoor seating are often more pet friendly. Check with your hotel or accommodation before booking to see if it accommodates pets and if there is an extra charge.