Traveling to the United States


Service members, civilian component personnel and their dependents can claim the returning resident or non-resident exemptions when traveling to the United States on leave or temporary duty. Other exemptions are available when personnel return stateside on a permanent change of station or at the end of service move. The following links can help you avoid some of the pitfalls that can occur when traveling to the United States.




Know Before You Go

This U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection site has pages containing tips for returning residents and visitors, plus information on restricted and prohibited items, pets and animals, medicines, business travel and government employee exemptions.

International Mail Imports

U.S. Customs answers your questions on mailing gifts and personal property to the States.

Banned/Restricted Items

U.S. Customs and Border Protection's list of prohibited and restricted items.

Importing pets

Tips on importing cats, dogs and other pets and special quarantine requirements for birds.


Wildlife facts

Information on taking wildlife products, ivory, hunting trophies and endangered species products to the States. Find out more about applying for import permits for ivory or other wildlife items on the endangered species list.


Goods from Libya, North Korea and Cuba fall under U.S. trade sanctions (you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these pages too).

Alcohol import links and shipping wine collections

The laws on importing liquor into the various states are as diverse as the states themselves. People considering taking large amounts of alcoholic beverages back to the States are well advised to check with their state alcohol board (ABC) in advance.

Gambling devices

The Department of Justice explains the rules for importing a gambling device to the States.

Defense Personal Property System

This website has been prepared to help you understand your entitlements and responsibilities concerning shipment of household goods, unaccompanied baggage, boats, pets, POVs and mobile homes.

Arriving in the USA by private plane or boat

When a private plane or boat arrives in the United States, it must land at a Customs port or other place where Customs service is available. This pamphlet explains reporting and Customs formalities.