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Duty Free Exemption Amounts from France? Per person

I am finding mixed information online. What is the duty free limit for household items, for US citizen from France to US? Thanks to all.

Posted by
353 posts

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/kbyg/types-exemptions

If you are arriving from anywhere other than a U.S. insular possession (U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or Guam) you may bring back $800 worth of items duty free, as long as you bring them with you. This is called accompanied baggage.

If you return directly or indirectly from a U.S. insular possession (U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or Guam), you are allowed a $1,600 duty-free exemption.

Posted by
6380 posts

Probably worth mentioning, the $800 is per person. You are obligated to declare everything, and if you are over "may" be subject to duty. I know for alcohol, and being "over" the duty free limit,(do that nearly every trip) I have never had to pay a duty. Probably similar with general household items, even if you are over, and have declared, they likely will not assess you any duty unless you are in the thousands (It is extra work and effort to go through the process for them, so the duty amount would need to be enough to make it worthwhile).

Posted by
3175 posts

There are some exceptions to the $800 limit. One of them is the $200 limit if you have been out of the country more than once in a 30-day period or have not been out of the country for 48 hours. There are other rules around exemptions and they are all pretty clearly spelled out at the link in the first response. One thing to mention is that family members can usually pool their $800 exemptions and so in my case, my family of four has a single $3,200 exemption, which allows me to go over $800 because my son, daughter, and husband never buy anything.

Posted by
613 posts

'm with Paul. I usually bring back twice the duty free amount of booze and have never had to pay for it. Declare everything. The fine for smuggling is worse than the tax if you get caught. It maybe that trying to bring back stuff that isn't allowed is a bigger problem than the duty free amount, so be sure to look into that.

As somebody noted, the customs guys are willing to let some slip because processing import duties means more work. A gambit on that is to trigger an agriculture inspection. My favorite (& it's been year since I've done this) is to respond yes to the question, " did you visit any farms?" When I answered, yes, I went hiking across several cow pastures", I got referred to the ag inspector who said,, "show me the shoes you were wearing". When he looked at my shoes and saw no dirt on them, he invariably said, "Ok, You are done. Welcome home." Nobody ever asked about the monetary value of my imports or the quantity of booze.

A little political correctness can also help. The customs guys have to say, "Welcome home." Not that they give a damn, it's their job. so don't just reply with some insane nonsense like "it's good to be back" Say something original, like, "After two weeks in France, I can't wait to eat a real American hamburger. You got any suggestions in the airport?"

I actually did this the last time I returned from EU thru SFO. The customs guy recommended what turned out to be a really good airport 9over priced) burger joint, and he never batted an eye over my double the allowed amount of duty free booze.