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What can I carry in my luggage?

There are specific rules and restrictions on the transport of goods, valuables and cash / securities. Baggage can be checked by the competent authorities (ie customs). To avoid long delays at customs where even problems it is interesting to know in advance what is allowed and what is not.

As baggage can be opened and examined by CBP, you should prepare for this eventuality in the preparation of these, so that unpacking them is as easy and quick as possible.

Liquid chlorine, flammable paints, and fireworks are strictly prohibited. You will need permission to carry hammers, drills and other work tools, baseball bats, golf or hockey clubs, weapons and ammunition (under certain conditions) but only in checked baggage.

For hand luggage, only one per person, you should always remember that containers of liquid, gel or aerosol can not exceed 100 ml. These limits can only be exceeded in certain cases:

  • If you are traveling with a baby you will have to declare to the control zone the liquids necessary for your child’s diet such as milk, juices etc.
  • Liquid medicines in quantities greater than 100 ml after declaration and verification in control zone.

There are also prohibitions and restrictions on many products. If you want to take one of the products listed below, you will need to strictly follow the US Customs guidelines.

: Any article, software or project relating to military purposes must be declared, and you must obtain a license for its import.

: In the case of possession of weapons and / or ammunition, you must apply for a permit to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). If you held it before leaving the United States, you will not need to show authorization. You should always remember to register the personal weapon with the CBP before you leave, using the 4457 form.

: To obtain all information on vehicle imports, it is advisable to contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, in the United States, each state establishes specific rules for vehicles, so it is necessary to also contact the agency of the desired state. In general, vehicles registered in Europe and Canada in the last two years are in compliance with the US requirements of all states. Otherwise, it is possible, through a specialized agency, to enter a vehicle on bail. The modifications necessary to adapt the vehicle to American standards must be made immediately and it will not be able to move until the modifications are finished. Otherwise, the vehicle will have to leave the country or be destroyed. For non-immigrants who enter a car in the United States for less than a year, these changes are not necessary, but the vehicle parts can not be sold under any circumstances.

: The products that fall into this category are crustaceans, animal tissues, viruses, bacteria and fungi. These require a permit from the Department of Agriculture or the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

: There is no real limit, it depends on the destination. It is advisable to check before traveling.

: These require authorization.

: Do not introduce counterfeit products. Only one is tolerated per person. Beyond these will be seized.

: It is prohibited to bring products from countries under embargo, such as Iran, Myanmar, Cuba and Sudan, or products from countries subject to partial embargoes such as Côte d’Ivoire, the Balkans and the Sierra Leone. The only exceptions are products such as books, magazines, movies or similar products, as well as gifts or hygiene products whose value does not exceed $ 100 USD.

: Drugs of illegal import or medical products prohibited on American soil. Products such as needles can not be imported without a prescription that demonstrates their therapeutic use, for example in the case of diabetic patients.

In general, you can take any medication you need by presenting a prescription and if it is sealed in the original box. We emphasize that products such as contact lenses require a prescription in the United States. The amount allocated varies depending on how long you stay in the United States. For residents, the maximum amount is 50 units.

You should inform the customs officer about drugs that can be used as a drug or that may be addictive, such as some cough medications, antidepressants or sleeping pills.

: It is permitted to bring coffee, tea, honey, spices, vinegar, oil or prepared and packaged foods.

It is partially allowed to bring fruits and vegetables. It depends on their origin and that of the traveler. You risk fines of up to $ 500 USD for non-filing.

The entry of cheese and bakery products is partially authorized. It is always safer to inquire before traveling.

It is prohibited to bring instant soups or similar products, as well as meat from farm animals, raw or cooked, even in packaging.

: To introduce these items you will need to have documents that prove they are your property, including the history of their possession.

If you have an export license issued by the country of origin, you can enter with objects such as sculptures, engravings and works of art. However, you will need to pay attention to the type of license you have as it is often found that some permits, including provided by large companies are fake or invalid.

Art objects from Mali, Cyprus, Iraq and Cambodia are being examined with special attention due to the looting of works of art in recent years.

: Cats do not require a vaccination certificate, however, dogs must be vaccinated against rabies in a period of between 30 days and one year before departure. Dogs from countries where there are no rabies cases are exempt.

Airlines require health certificates, but these are not required by Customs. These are used to demonstrate that the animal does not suffer from any disease.

The importation of products containing dogs or cats is prohibited and is liable to a fine of up to USD 10,000.

Domestic birds must pass through quarantine at entry into the United States. The owner must declare them before starting his journey, complete the VS 17-129 form and pay the quarantine fees before starting the journey.

Hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs and the like animals can be introduced without any steps. However, to avoid problems at customs, it is advisable to carry a certificate of good health.

In general, when bringing animals to the United States, it is advisable to inquire about the particular conditions of the destination state.

Example: Mme Lalonde
A few weeks ago, Ms. Lalonde and her husband Brice traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to visit their son, who teaches economics at the local university.

Mrs Lalonde lives in Pau, the city of sausages and cheese!

Thinking of giving pleasure to her son Paul, her husband and she thought it good to take away some delicacies of the soil.

Once in flight, they are in doubt when completing Customs Form 6059B (this is offered by flight attendants before landing at destination, to be handed over to the authorities upon arrival). They are asked if they have brought meat or food. Maybe the food in their luggage is going to be a problem. In the doubt they prefer to avoid responding specifically to the question in the customs form.

Once in customs, Mr and Mrs Lalonde are subjected to more routine checks than random customs.

The surprise of opening their luggage creates a difficult situation for them. Groceries are seized and the couple is fined for not reporting them.

Example 2: Mario
Mario is an entrepreneur in the tourism sector, employed by a German travel agency in Bavaria. He specializes in travel to the Americas. Arriving in Miami from Mexico and after a short break in Cuba, Mario bought some of the famous Cuban cigars.

Upon arrival in Miami, Mario declares owning these cigars.

It is then that the agent asks a specific question about the country of origin of these cigars.

Since Cuba is on the list of countries under US economic embargo (as well as North Korea, Iran, Syria, Sudan and Burma), Mario’s cigars are confiscated.

Before entering the United States with an ESTA or not, if you have any doubts about the legality of certain products in your possession, check first with our customer service. Otherwise, you risk the seizure of your property by US Customs.