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Customs inspectors are nosy.  Of course, that's what they are supposed to be.  When you return to the U.S., prepare your Customs Declaration based on the prices you paid for the good you are bring home.  Read our recommendations on how a little record keeping will speed the process, if needed .


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Travel Advice -   Purchase details you may need to clear Customs

The items that you purchase during your international travels must be declared on your Customs Declaration when you return to the United States. If the value of these items exceeds your  exemption, you will be required to pay a Customs Tax (see our article on Clearing Customs).

For expensive items or items that look expensive, be sure to retain your sales receipt and the type of currency used for the purchase. On the Customs Declaration, you must value the item in US Dollars. Be prepared to convert the purchase price to dollars based on the currency used and the exchange rate when the item was purchased.

We keep track of our purchases using a Personal Digital Assistant, noting the item, date, cost of purchase, and exchange rate. We take a re-sealable envelope with us to collect receipts for all purchases. On the return trip, we use the file on the PDA to construct our Customs Declaration. We provide the receipts only in case of an inquiry by a Customs agent.

Pack all of the items that you purchased in the same bag, in case the Customs agent wants to inspect the goods. Do not  gift-wrap items  as the Customs inspector may need to examine the article to determine the validity of your claim.

An inspection by a Customs agent does not indicate that you are suspected of a Customs violation: agents periodically inspect the belongings of a few persons from each flight to keep the rest of us in line.


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