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Proof of what you already own

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Revision as of 23:23, 12 April 2012 by Hennejohn (Talk | contribs)

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Although this discussion gives examples for on U.S. customs processes, the basic precepts apply widely.

If you plan to travel to other countries, you don't want pay duty on what you already own and take on your trip, especially valuables. As you return from any international trip, you can be charged duty on all valuables you have with you that exceed your duty exemption.

For fine jewelry, new model cameras, electronics, computers, etc., your government's customs bureau likely offers a means to avoid the problem. As an example for U.S. citizens, you can go to the customs web-site [1] to get essential information (e.g., "Know Before You Go), and start paperwork that can identify valuables you want to take. For them, the latter steps are essentially...

  • Fill out on-line as many Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Forms 4457 as needed to precisely describe the items you're likely to take on international trips, and then print them (see link to form in lower right corner of [2]). You may have to fill-in your address by hand.
  • Take the items, the forms and proof of ownership to a CBP office, and as the agent sees them, have him/her certify on the forms that you already own the items. (At the bottom center of the same page as for CBP Forms 4457, you'll see a link for "Ports" that will help you locate a CBP office.)
  • Take whatever valuables you choose and related 4457s on your trip, and have them handy for CBP inspection as you return to the U.S.

Original (in the U.S.) store receipts can be a fair substitute for proof of prior ownership if you lack time or access to a customs office before your trip. Even if dated well-before your trip, receipts from overseas sellers often have little standing. Don't count on getting customs forms certified as you depart your country; it takes time and customs officers may be busy.

This travel topic is an outline and should either be merged into an appropriate parent topic or else developed further. It has a template, but there is not enough information present for it to be of real use. It was last edited on 2012-04-12 and will be merged or deleted if not modified for one year. Please plunge forward and rescue it!

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