Coming Home: Customs
As your jet nears New York or other gateway city, your flight attendant will pass out official customs declaration forms. You must declare ALL articles purchased abroad and in your possession if they exceed $400 – $1,200 per person depending on the country. While overseas, you may mail gifts valued under a certain dollar amount to relatives and friends in the U.S. as long as the packages do not contain tobacco, liquor, or perfume with alcohol. You can mail as many of these gifts as you like, as long as you do not mail more than one per day to any individual. Mark each package with “Unsolicited Gift.” DO NOT list these purchases in your declaration. Merchandise acquired abroad must accompany you if it is to be included in your duty-free exemption. Immediately after landing, proceed to the Immigration Department, where your passport is checked and stamped to allow you to reenter the U.S. If you are taking expensive foreign-made cameras or jewelry on your trip, the customs officers may want you to include those items with your purchases on reentry – this is where your having registered these items before departure really pays off! One more tip: Since customs officers may examine your gifts, you will avoid having elaborate wrappings torn open if you loosen the ribbons and wrappings yourself before packing.