Importing Commodities

When you return to the United States after living or traveling abroad, the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency requires that you declare the following:

  • Items you purchased and are carrying with you upon return to the United States
  • Items you received as gifts, such as wedding or birthday presents
  • Items you brought home to give as gifts
  • Items you inherited
  • Items you bought in duty-free shops or on the plane
  • Repairs or alterations to any items you took abroad and are returning with, even if the repairs/alterations were performed free of charge
  • Items you intend to sell or use in your business

Prohibited and Restricted Items

Items are forbidden from entering the United States if they could:

  • Put community health at risk
  • Affect public safety
  • Negatively affect American workers or children
  • Disrupt domestic plant and animal life
  • Defeat our national interests

Restricted items require special licenses or permits from a federal agency before it can enter the United States. Examples of restricted items include:

  • Firearms
  • Certain fruits and vegetables
  • Animal products
  • Animal by-products
  • Some animals

A complete list of restricted and prohibited goods is available on the
United States Customs and Border Protection Agency’s website.


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