Are you planning to explore the shipping market of USA or need to ship some personal effects to the country? Before venturing out, you need to make yourself aware of some really important things. The foremost thing that you need to do is hire a company that provides efficient freight forwarding as well as customs clearance services. If you are an individual visiting USA for the first time, your next step is go through the essentials of US Customs & Border Protection:
Recognise the fact that special items and purchases that have been bought 12 months ago or less should be declared, including wedding gifts. Their duty charge will be around 10 to 15% of their overall cost. Antiques less than a century old also incur extra charges. A certificate proving the production date of the article must be provided. Even after that, the Customs can perform an independent verification.
- These items are not allowed in the USA and can cause you to incur fines if the Customs finds you carrying any of them:
- Food items and drinks
- Narcotics as well as medicines containing prohibited substances
- Plants, vegetables, fruits and seeds
- Soil, animal and livestock pests
- Biological specimens and cultures
- Absinthe containing thujone
- Fish, eggs and unprepared fish
- Endangered species of wildlife
- Items infringing copyright and trade regulations
- Semi- and fully automatic weapons
- Cat and dog fur
- Hazardous articles such as uncertified toys, health hazardous substances, uncertified toys.
- Traitorous material
Items which are restricted in the USA include firearms, which would require you to obtain a permit from ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) with the help of a registered dealer. If you wish to avoid hassle, better not include cash, gold or other expensive item in your freight.
Be wary of the fact that shoes, prams, sporting goods, outdoor equipment and camping gear can become subject to tests by Customs. It would further increase the amount of time for which your goods remain with Customs.
The primary form needed for customs clearance in USA is Customs Form 3229 or ‘Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles’. Make sure you submit the originals and not photocopy of the form, otherwise it would get cancelled by CBP. Keep a detailed inventory of everything you are carrying along with copies of your visa and passport. Avoid using terms like ‘contents unknown’ or ‘miscellaneous’ while filling in the inventory.
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