What You Can and Cannot Take With You When You Travel
All countries have restrictions on what you can and cannot bring into the country including the U.S. In fact, on an average day, the CBP, the largest and most complex component of the Department of Homeland Security, processed almost 1 million passengers and seized over 11,000 pounds of drugs, almost $300,000 of undeclared or illicit currency and over $4.7 million dollars of products with IPR violations. While you may not be smuggling drugs or large amounts of cash, you still may find yourself with issues if you are unfamiliar with customs rules. Even one apple or other food or beverage item may find you detained and facing fines or even jail time depending on how much, where and what you have.
Medications, fruit, plants, meat, animals, jewelry and money are just a few items you will want to research before packing in your bag to avoid finding yourself at odds with an overworked border officer in the U.S. or abroad.
The CBP is entrusted with enforcing laws and ensuring that items which may “injure community health, public safety, American workers, children or domestic plant and animal life, or those that would defeat our national interests.” A list of prohibited and restricted items in the U.S. include:
- Absinthe (Alcohol)
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Ceramic Tableware
- Cuban-made Products
- Cultural Artifacts and Cultural Property
- Defense Articles or Items with Military or Proliferation Applications
- Dog and Cat Fur
- Drug Paraphernalia
- Fish and Wildlife
- Food Products (Prepared)
- Prior Notice for Food Importation
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Game and Hunting Trophies
- Haitian Animal Hide Drums
- Meats, Livestock and Poultry
- Merchandise from Embargoed Countries
- Photographic Film
- Plants and Seeds
- Textiles and Clothing
- Trademarked and Copyrighted Articles
If you are traveling abroad, keep in mind that “I didn’t know” is not an excuse for transporting illegal items. Consider the following tips before you travel.
- If you aren’t sure if an item is allowed, ask
- Check your destinations rules regarding import and export before you go
- If you have a tight connection, avoid having to declare an item by simply not bringing it as delays at customs may cause you to miss your flight
- Be serious when going through customs, it is no joking matter
- Read and fill out all customs forms carefully
If you are interested in learning more about CBP, you can find them online at cpb.gov.
Island Trader Vacations reviews the news and tips to help you make the most of your journey.