- All shipments are subject to examination at the discretion of Customs officials.
- Do not indicate “packed by owner” (PBO) or miscellaneous descriptions on the detailed inventory.
- For duty-free clearance, the household goods must have been used at least 1 year in the foreign household prior to shipment from the origin country.
- It is important for agents in the origin country to make sure the ISF is timely filed prior to the sailing of the vessel from the last foreign port for all ocean shipments to avoid penalties.
- Most household items used less than 1 year will require duty to be paid. It is important for the importer to list those items in detail on the back side of the Customs Form 3299. The importer should list the item, quantity, what material it is made out of, the value paid for the items in US dollars and the country of origin of the items.
- To import household effects (furniture, dishes, linens, libraries, artwork and similar household furnishings, etc.) for personal use, the items must have been available for personal use or used in a household where the shipper was a resident for 1 year and is not intended for another person or for sale. The year of use does not need to be continuous not does it need to be the year immediately prior to the date of importation (Hawaii).
- Only shipments of used household goods and personal effects may enter the U.S. under Informal Entry.
- For shipments to Hawaii containing garden tools, outdoor furniture, playground equipment, motorcycles, scooters or any other items used outdoors, it is likely to be examined by U.S. Customs. If Customs finds outdoor items to be dirty or contain insects or snails, they will notify the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture. The State may require the entire shipment to be cleaned, fumigated or frozen to clean potential bacteria or kill any invasive species. Shippers should be forewarned that they are responsible to pay for the expense of this process, it can be very costly and it may result in damage to household goods. Informed decisions should be made regarding the import of items.
- U.S. Customs may also order intensive exams on any shipments containing food products, medications or liquor. The shipper is responsible to pay for the exams and any damage incurred during inspections by Customs officials.
Following documents are required for import of household goods and personal effects into the United States:
Import of automobiles/motor vehicles are subject to import duties and taxes unless previously exported from the United States provided the customer can supply the export Ocean Bill of Lading and can prove that no modifications have been made to the vehicle since it was exported. Import is also subject to the following requirements and documents:
- All automobiles imported must meet both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements. If the required conversions are not performed prior to shipping the customer is required to post a significant bond (approximately 50% of the value of the auto) in order to have the necessary conversions performed in the U.S.. Information on emission standards can be obtained from the EPA. Any costs for exam, testing, or modifications of auto are payable by the Customer.
- Customer must provide, EPA Form 3520-1, the purchase invoice, title, and a copy of Drivers License.
- Customer must provide the Engine Family Name (EFN) information on all import shipments that include vehicles. The label is typically found under the hood of the vehicle or in the engine compartment, but could be on the inside of the driver’s side door frame.
- Proof of conformity by either:
- U.S. Title / Registration
- Letter of Conformity from the manufacturer
- Foreign military sales contract that indicates vehicle meets USA-EPA / DOT regulations
- Exemption as a 25-model year old vehicle as proven by the title
- There are strict controls and restrictions on the importation of animals, which is regulated by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and U.S. Public Health Service. Import regulations for pets may include the following, depending on the country of origin:
- Original Certificate of rabies vaccination showing proof that the vaccination was administered more than 30 days prior to the flight, but not more than 180 days
- Health Certificate from a veterinarian must be issued within 15 to 10 days prior to animals departure
- Dogs and cats are not normally quarantined, but birds require 30 days quarantine and an Import Permit
ANTIQUES, ARTIFACTS, CARPETS, PAINTINGS
- Purchase Invoice
- Detailed inventory
- U.S. Customs requires items to be at least 100 years old be classified as antiques.
- A recently purchased antique should indicate the circa date on the invoice.
- Antiques are duty free.
- Carpets of Iranian origin that have been used in the foreign household for at least 1 year and being imported with the owner’s household goods and personal effects are generally approved for import. It is recommended that if you have a large number of carpets or they
are new that you do not ship as the USA currently has an embargo on Iranian origin goods, subject to change at any time.
- Paintings of nominal value can be shipped with household goods shipments.
- Artifacts of any type should not be shipped without first checking with the USA agent and the country of export, as different regulations may apply depending on the country of origin, type of artifact and circa date. Additionally, many countries are parties to CITES Treaties or Acts that don't allow the import or export of certain types of artifacts or require permits that must be issued prior to export.
- Drug paraphernalia
- Haitian animal hide drums
- Cuban cigars
- Blank tapes and CDs from Iran
- Counterfeit items or items inappropriately using a federally registered trademark
- Products made from dog and cat fur
- Flavored cigarettes, including cloves