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Customs Requirements On Moving To The USA

Everyone entering the US has to complete the Customs and Border Protection Form (CBP Form) 6059B, “Customs Declaration,” for accompanying goods.

If your goods are arriving separately you will need to complete the CBP Form 3299 “Declaration For Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles. “You cannot simply give a statement that the goods are “household effects”, but will need to provide more detail. The complete inventory of imported goods will be treated as the packing list and must be provided to CBP upon request.

Household effects, including furniture, crockery, linens, libraries, artwork and similar household furnishings intended for your personal use can be taken in without paying duty, provided they have either been available for your use or used in a household where you were a resident for one year. They must also not be intended for any other person or for sale.

Personal effects, which are items that belong to and are used by one person, such as clothes, jewellery, electronic and photographic equipment should not be described as household effects. They can also be taken in without paying duty.


Restricted Goods

There are a range of items that are restricted from being taken into the US.  A full list of restricted goods is available on the US Customs and Border Protection website under Prohibited and Restricted Items.  These include:

  • Alcoholic beverages – Federal and State laws determine the amount of alcohol that can be brought into the USA.
  • Automobiles – Automobiles imported into the United States must meet the fuel-emission requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency and the safety, bumper, and theft prevention standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • Firearms – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulates and restricts firearms and ammunition and approves all permanent import transactions involving weapons and ammunition. If you want to import weapons or ammunition, you must do so through a licensed importer, dealer or manufacturer.
  • Food Products – many food products are allowed to be brought in to The US, but some such as those containing meat products are prohibited. Fruit and vegetables may be restricted depending on where they were obtained.
  • Medication – Medication will be restricted and you should ensure that you only carry what you need and that you have a prescription to cover what you need.
  • Pets – There are many rules and regulations around the importation of pets (See Taking Your Pet To America).