When you arrive or return to the United States, you will have to go through US Customs and Immigration.
US Customs is the division of the US Department of Treasury that is responsible for obtaining all duties and taxes on items imported into the United States.
On the plane flight, you will be given a Customs Declaration Form to complete. You will give this form to the customs officer when you arrive at the airport terminal. The official will ask you about your purpose in this country. You should say that you are a student. Your answers should be short, direct and honest. Avoid giving extra information. The officer will ask for more details only needed.
Customs officers may examine luggage, cargo and travelers if they suspect someone is smuggling items illegally into this country. Many airports have "sniffing" dogs that search for drugs or agricultural products. You should review the
web site, which provides guidelines for international travelers entering this country.
Completing the Customs Declaration Form
The sample form is presented as PDF format. You might need to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view
Click on the image for an enlarged
Things to Consider
- You are allowed to bring less than $100 worth of gifts into the United States without paying "duty" (which is like a tax).
- Do not bring any food into the country. It is against the law to bring perishable food products into the United States. This includes fruit, vegetables, meat or plants. If you were given food on the plane, leave it on the plane.
- Linens, clothes, professional equipment and other household items may be brought into the country without paying duty — but only if you have owned them for a while and they are not for resale.
- Products made from certain animal species are forbidden in this country. For more information, contact the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services.
- There isn't a limit to how much money you may bring. However, if you are transporting more than $10,000 you must file a report with US Customs.
- Any medications that contain narcotics, or which are administered by a syringe, must be accompanied by a signed prescription from your physician. Penalties for smuggling narcotics are very severe.
For more information on immigration laws, visit the US State Department
web site http://www.state.gov