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Procedures for Importing Household and Personal Effects


When completing the Customs Form (CF) 6059B, “Customs Declaration,” for accompanying goods, or the CF 3299 “Declaration For Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles,” the statement that the goods are “household effects” is not sufficient information. The complete inventory of imported goods will be treated as the packing list and must be provided to Customs upon request. The following is an example of an invoice description.

Furniture: Tables, chairs, sofas, bedroom, home/office and living room furniture, desks, lamps, mirrors, etc.

Kitchenware: Silverware, glassware, chinaware, pots, pans, utensils, electrical kitchen appliances, etc.

Household goods: Linens, towels, rugs, toiletries, cleaning products, decorative articles, art, framed pictures, toys, strollers, crafts, holiday decorations, fans, washers, dryers, VCRs, TVs, stereos, records, collectibles, etc.

Sport equipment: (NO FIREARMS). Bicycles, weights, stationary equipment, skis, skates, surfboards, etc.

Clothes: For women, men, boys, girls, and infants.

Books/Printed materials: Books, calendars, personal records, photo albums, etc.

Home/Office equipment/Tools of Trade: Computers (CPU, monitor, printer, software, etc.), filing cabinets, shredders, fax machines, telephone equipment, calculators, books, etc.

Other personal effects: Item(s) not covered by previous categories should be individually described.

The quantity on the invoice must, at minimum, provide the count in boxes, crates, or pieces. This information is required for the efficient completion of Customs document review and examination.

NOTE:  To safeguard against the importation of dangerous pests, the U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits solid wood packing materials from China unless they have been fumigated and have appropriate documentation.

Goods That Accompany You
Household and personal effects that arrive in the U.S. on the same vessel, vehicle or aircraft, and on the same day that you do, are considered to accompany you.  Articles that are shipped as freight on a bill of lading or airway bill are also considered to accompany you when the baggage arrives in the U.S. on the same conveyance that you arrive on.  You must complete Customs Form 6059B, “Customs Declaration,” listing all items with their value that you are bringing into the United States with you.  Identify those you believe are entitled to duty-free entry, based on the information in this publication.  Explain your status to the Customs Inspector and ask any questions that you may have before the inspection of your belongings begins.

Goods Shipped Separately
Household effects entitled to duty-free entry do not need to accompany you to the United States; you may have them shipped to your U.S. address at a later time if you choose. Your shipment of personal and/or household goods must be cleared through Customs at its first port of arrival unless you have made arrangements with a foreign freight forwarder to have your effects sent in Customs custody in-bond from the port of arrival to a more convenient port of entry for clearance. (Ask your moving company if they offer this service.)  Customs will not notify you that your goods have arrived.  It is the responsibility of the shipper to notify you of the arrival of your goods.  After receiving this notification you must enter the merchandise.  Failure to enter the merchandise within 15 days after its arrival in port may result in the merchandise being moved to a general order warehouse. If merchandise is placed in a general order warehouse, storage charges will accrue and payment of those charges is the responsibility of the party importing the household goods.  Failure to obtain that merchandise from the general order warehouse within six months may result in its sale.  When you come to Customs to enter your goods, you must complete Customs Form 3299 “Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles,” to give to the Customs officer.  If you cannot come to the Customs office yourself, you may designate a friend or relative to represent you in Customs matters.  You must give that person a letter addressed to “Officer in Charge of Customs” authorizing that individual to represent you as your agent on a one-time basis to clear your shipment through Customs.
 


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