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Moving Household Goods to the United States: A Guide to Customs Regulations

Whether you have been living abroad or are moving to the United States for the first time, you are going to have to work with customs in order to get your belongings into the country. The National Van Lines team has created this guide to help you understand customs regulations for moving household goods.

Your Customs Status

Your reason for moving to the United States can have an effect on the customs regulations that you are required to follow. The U.S. determines your customs status as one of the following:

  • Returning resident
  • Government or military employee
  • Emergency evacuee
  • First-time immigrant
  • Part-time resident

Household Effects

The U.S. government considers the following to be household effects:

Residents returning to the U.S. and moving household goods can be exempt from duties on these items as long as the furnishings were in their possession for one year, though they don’t have to have been used continuously throughout that year.

Personal Effects

Personal effects are different than household effects and typically belong to just one person and not a whole family, including the following:

  • Clothing
  • Jewelry
  • Cameras
  • Tape Recorders

Similar to household effects, personal effects can also be exempt from duties if available for use for at least one year. Some of the things that may be acquired abroad, including professional equipment, are not duty-free.

Import Restrictions

When planning your move into the U.S., it is important to consider the items that customs will not allow into the country. This can save you a lot of time and the headache of trying to get rid of these items in order to leave the country. Items with restrictions or limitations include some of the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Guns
  • Animals
  • Cars
  • Pets

Planning an international move and moving household goods can be complicated, especially when it comes to customs regulations, but National Van Lines can help. Call us at [phone] for more in-depth information about the specifics of your move into the United States.

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