Introduction,Clearing Vehicles,Clearing Weapons,Importing Liquor,Bringing Pets and Wildlife into the United States,Importing Plants,Shipping by Mail,Clearing Luggage,Restricted or Prohibited Items,Duty or Duty-Free?,Clearing Prescription Medicine,,Immigration of Foreign Workers,General Guidelines Chart,Resources,Completing U.S. Customs Form 3299 18,Other Required Paper Work
You are entitled to import a foreign-made car if you are:
Some imported automobiles are subject to the "Gas Guzzler Tax" stipulated in section 4064 of the internal Revenue Code. Liability for the tax is the responsibility of the individual importing the vehicle, and the tax rate is determined by the EPA's fuel economy rating. (This rating may differ from the fuel economy rating cited by the manufacturer.) Additionally, before registering and titling your vehicle, many states require proof that you have paid the "Gas Guzzler Tax" in cases where it is applicable.
For information on the "Gas Guzzler Tax," contact:
Firearms and Ammunition
Generally speaking, firearms and ammunition purchased in the United States and taken out of the country by a resident may also be imported back into the country. However, it is the responsibility of the returning resident to provide a bill of sale or commercial document indicating proof of possession or ownership. A customs form 4455 or 4457, "Certificate of Registration," may be used for this purpose.
Guns and ammunition purchased outside the United States, however, are subject to complicated clearance procedures and are very difficult to import. You will need to apply for a permit through the "Application and Permit for Importation of Firearms, Ammunition and Implements of War," ATE form 6, from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Department of the Treasury, Washington, D.C.20226; phone (202) 927-8320, fax (202) 927-8601. It is recommended that anyone considering the shipment of foreign-purchased guns into the States consult with the local U.S. consulate prior to departure. Due to the risk of accidental explosion, United policy stipulates that ammunition may not be shipped with your household goods.
Firearms manufactured before 1898 may be imported into the United States without difficulty. But make certain that the gun is a genuine antique; replica firearms require authorization by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) in order to clear customs.
Weapons with fixed blades are generally permitted entry into the States. However, souvenirs such as swords, camel whips, machetes and similar articles capable of being used as weapons may still be in violation of local and state laws.According to U.S. Customs: "Knives designed for 'utilitarian use' such as household purposes, personal grooming, trade or professional employment, crafts or hobbies, hunting and fishing, and scouting activities are also permitted unrestricted entry, provided that the imported knife does not open automatically and is not a switchblade."
All alcoholic beverages included in your household goods shipment are subject to duty and tax. Moreover, with few exceptions, alcoholic beverages are not mailable and, therefore, will be seized when imported through the mail. You may, however, import wines and alcoholic beverages into the United States in your household goods shipment--pursuant to the laws of your state of residence.
Many states require a permit or receipt that must be presented to U.S. Customs officials upon importing alcoholic beverages. If this is the case, you will need to secure the permit prior to your departure so you can have it ready to present to U.S. Customs officials. To expedite this process, you should write your state's alcohol control board for information on how to petition for a permit. This should be done about 60 days prior to your move since the actual petition should be made at least 30 days before the shipment's departure. It's important to find out your state's law for importing alcohol before you move; there are some states that do not permit the importation of alcoholic beverages at all. For example, if a shipment has to clear customs in any port in Texas, alcohol will be confiscated and destroyed. If you are moving to one of these states and have included alcoholic beverages in your shipment, your household goods may be subject to the costly process of unloading the shipment until the alcoholic beverages are removed and destroyed.
For information on state laws regarding the importation of alcoholic beverages, write to the U.S. Customs Service, Department of the Treasury, Washington, D.C. 20229, U.S.A. and ask for Publication 523--"Information for Travelers: State Laws on Importing Alcoholic Beverages."
Prior to departing for the States, compile an inventory of all alcoholic beverages you plan to import. This list should include the brand name, number of bottles, volume per bottle, alcoholic content and price for each item.
Keep in mind that extreme changes in temperature may affect the taste and appearance of some alcoholic beverages, especially wine. Therefore, if you are moving a very large or expensive wine collection, you may want to request air freight transportation through us.
While many departments of the U.S. government share in monitoring the importation of pets and wildlife, the 1976 amendment to the Animal Welfare Act stipulates that the Department of Agriculture is responsible for establishing the standards for transporting, handling and treating imported animals.
The U.S. Public Health Service requires that all imported pets be examined for evidence of any disease that can be transmitted to humans, and the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requires that animals and birds--both domestic and wild--be free from any disease that could threaten our country's livestock and poultry industry.
It's important to note that the United States restricts the importation and exportation of many animals and birds protected by the international treaty of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). For the applicable restrictions and the documentation required for your animal's admittance into the States, contact the U.S. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, Division of Quarantine, Mail Stop EO3, Atlanta, Ga.30333, U.S.A.; phone (404) 639-8107, fax (404) 639-2599. You may also contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, whose address appears at the end of this Guide.
The transporting of any animal takes considerable planning by the pet's owner. For example, you may be able to expedite the clearing procedure by writing to the veterinarian at the port of entry and notifying him of your pet's flight number and expected time of arrival. It's also a good idea to schedule the animal's arrival for a weekday when the personnel necessary to clear the animal are on duty.
Generally, any items of a biological nature--including plants, cuttings, seeds, vegetables and fruits--are subject to approval prior to importation into the United States. As a result, all plants, plant products, fruits and vegetables must be declared to customs and presented to the customs officer for inspection. The Department of Agriculture regulates the importation of plants and plant products.
In addition, the U.S. Endangered Species Act places numerous restrictions on the importation of endangered plants such as certain cycads, orchids and cacti. For more information and for detailed requirements on importing plants, contact:
Any personal belongings of U.S. origin which were taken out of the States may be mailed back into the United States free of duty, provided the articles were not altered or repaired while abroad. To expedite the customs process, label any such packages as "American Goods Returned."
For more information on mailing items into the United States, contact the U.S. Customs Service and request publication #514 "U.S. Customs -International Mail Imports."
Any baggage accompanying a person arriving In the United States is subject to inspection by U.S. Customs. As a rule, articles for personal or household use are not subject to duty. However, since every item coming into the country must be reported to the customs inspector, it is recommended that you prepare a list of all items packed in your luggage, including articles you plan to distribute as gifts. To further facilitate entry into the country, the U.S. Customs Service advises travelers to pack separately any items purchased abroad.
Contact your nearest American consulate or U.S. Customs office well before packing day to discuss prohibited articles. Many of the items restricted from entry into the United States have been noted in previous sections of Your Doorway to America. Besides the restrictions placed on such items as weapons and ammunition, liquor, medicine, animals and plants, there are other less obvious items which are subject to strict enforcement of U.S. laws.
According to the U.S. Customs Service, items prohibited from entry into the United States include "absinthe, liquor-filled candy, lottery tickets, narcotics and dangerous drugs, obscene articles and publications, seditious and treasonable materials, hazardous articles (e.g., fireworks, dangerous toys, toxic or poisonous substances), products made by convicts or forced labor, and switchblade knives." A person attempting to import any prohibited item into the United States will be subject to a personal penalty, and the item will be seized.
Articles subject to restrictions include:
The United States has many regulations governing the importation of products made from parts of animals deemed to be endangered. Although items made from these animals may be on sale in many countries, these same items may not be permitted importation into another country. Therefore, it is important to determine any guidelines governing the importation of endangered wildlife products well in advance of your departure. Keep in mind that 100 countries, including the United States, have signed CITES, a comprehensive wildlife treaty regulating the import or export of endangered plant or animal species.
Here are some of the goods prohibited from entering the United States: products from most crocodile skins; lizard products from Brazil, Paraguay and some Asian countries; most snakeskin products from Latin America and Asia; and all sea turtle products including tortoiseshell combs, I jewelry, leather, and creams and cosmetics made from turtle oil.For more information on the importation of wildlife products, contact:
A U.S. resident moving back into the States is ordinarily permitted an exemption on $400 (retail value) worth of items purchased abroad--provided these items accompany the U.S. resident into the country and are either for use as personal goods or as gifts. Once you have claimed this exemption, there is a waiting period of 30 days before you can claim the exemption again. Americans returning from American Samoa, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands have an exemption of $800.
Non-residents entering the United States are permitted to bring in the following items free of duty:
Generalized System of Preferences
In 1976, the United States and other developed nations entered into a trade agreement called the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) whereby certain products of approximately 130 developing nations are permitted duty-free importation. The GSP agreement, which was renewed in 1984 and is in effect until July 4, 1993, was created to encourage export trade between developed and developing countries in an effort to strengthen the economic conditions in developing nations.
For an item to be eligible for the GSP program, the product must have been purchased in the same country or territory where it was grown, manufactured or produced. In addition, while some items may be entitled to GSP duty-free status, these same items may be restricted or prohibited from entering the United States due to protective regulations set forth by a number of governmental import agreements (such as the Trade Act) or by a specific governmental department (the Department of Interior, for example).
The list of articles permitted duty-free status under GSP includes many items commonly purchased by tourists in developingnations: baskets, cameras, candy, chinaware, earthenware, furniture, golf balls and equipment, jade, jewelry, music boxes, pearls, perfume, toys and wood carvings. Most of these items, however, must meet special requirements to warrant GSP duty-free status. For example, the only baskets permitted GSP entry are those made from bamboo, willow or rattan. Due to the number of specific requirements, it is wise to consult your nearest U.S. Customs office or American embassy to verify the GSP status of any item you wish to import into the United States.
The U.S. Customs Service publication #515, "GSP and the Traveler," provides a complete list of developing countries participating in the GSP program, as well as additional information on importing articles from these countries.
Avoid the temptation to consolidate your prescription medications into one container. Instead, keep your medicine in separate vials clearly labeled (in English) with the name of the medication and prescribing doctor, the dosage, and the directions for use. Medication mailed into the States is routinely inspected; if your shipment does not contain sufficient documentation, the product will be detained until you provide the required paper work.
It is also helpful to secure a letter from your doctor explaining the medications prescribed. Such a letter could also prove to be invaluable in an emergency situation. This type of documentation is especially important for those (such as diabetics) whose medication is administered via hypodermic injection.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration restricts the importation of drugs it has determined to be dangerous or fraudulent. To find out if your medication is included in this category, contact your Meldrum agent, your local U.S. embassy or the U.S. Customs Service.
In an effort to protect the American labor force, the United States has developed strict laws, regulations and procedures governing the immigration of foreign workers. There are different visa requirements pertaining to immigrants (those who wish to live in the United States permanently) and non-immigrants (those whose stay in the States is temporary). For information regarding immigration and visa classification, contact:
How To Fill Out A U.S. Customs Form 3299 which you will be required to complete and sign to clear your unaccompanied personal effects and household goods through U.S. Customs.
You (the shipper) must complete the following sections of Part I of form 3299.
1. Importer's (your) name.
2. Date of birth.
3. Date of arrival (the date you arrived in the United States).
4. U.S. address.
5. Port of arrival (the port at which the importer first arrived in the United States).
6. Name of arriving vessel/carrier and flight.
7. Name(s) of accompanying household member(s).
You are not required to complete section 8, Part I of the form.
The following sections of Part II must be completed.
9. Residency. This section is used to indicate your previous and present residency status.
10. Statement(s) of eligibility for free entry of articles. You must declare the items for which you seek duty-free entry.
If your shipments are not moving under a Govenment Bill of Lading, you are not required to complete Part III of form 3299.
In Part IV, you must mark all the applicable boxes and declare any of the following items contained in your shipment:
1. Articles for the account of other persons (gifts).
2. Articles for sale or commercial use.
3. Firearms and/or ammunition.
4. Alcoholic beverages of all types or tobacco products.
5. Fruits, plants, seeds, meats or birds.
6. Fish, wildlife or animal products.
7. Foreign household effects acquired abroad and used less than one year.
8. Foreign household effects acquired abroad and used more than one year.
9. Personal effects acquired abroad.
10. Foreign-made articles acquired in the United States and taken abroad on this trip or acquired abroad on another trip that was previously declared to U.S. Customs.
11. Articles taken abroad which were altered or repaired overseas.
Part IV, Section D, requires that you list any of the items declared in Part IV, items 1-11, and then provide customs with a description and a value of this merchandise.
You are not required to complete Part V.
You must sign form 3299 in Part VI, Section 2 and date the form in Part VI, Section 3. The completed, signed form should be mailed to Meldrum The Move Inc. Without the completed form, Meldrum will not be able to arrange customs clearance.
If you are unable to complete form 3299 at origin, please contact United International upon your arrival in the United States, and we will mail or fax it to you. Our corporate toll-free teleph-one number within the continental United States is (800) 325-3924; fax (314) 326-0307.
Supplemental Customs Form
In addition to Customs Form 3299, you should also complete the Supplemental Declaration for Unaccompanied Personal and Household Effects.
Be sure to complete items #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #7, #8 and #9.
If you are a resident alien, complete #6. If you are a corporate transferee, complete items #10, #11, #13 and #14.
You are not required to complete #15 and #16. At #17, check "Importer." Then sign the form at line #18.
Power Of Attorney
It's always best to complete a Power of Attorney form before leaving your country of origin. If one is not completed and given to your United agent, you will need to be present at customs for your shipment to clear.
To complete the Power of Attorney form, mark the box "Individual" in the upper right corner. Print your name in the first blank on the form. Then skip to the bottom where it reads "has caused these presents to be sealed and signed: (Signature) .Write your name and date the form on the next line to the right. Any co-worker, friend or family member can sign at the "WITNESS" space.
The form does not have to be notarized.
Be sure to complete all forms and give to your Meldrum agent before leaving the country. You can obtain paper work from your Meldrum agent. Use the forms in this guide, or photocopy the forms provided here.
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