For a complete list of US customs regulations, go online to US Customs and Border Protection (www.cbp.gov).
Duty-free allowance per person is as follows:
- 1L of liquor (provided you are at least 21 years old)
- 100 cigars and 200 cigarettes (if you are at least 18 years old)
- $200 worth of gifts and purchases ($800 if a returning US citizen)
If you arrive with $10,000 or more in US or foreign currency, it must be declared. There are heavy penalties for attempting to import illegal drugs. Note that fruit, vegetables and other food must be declared (whereupon you’ll undergo a time-consuming search) or left in the bins in the arrival area.
Every visitor entering the USA from abroad needs a passport. Visitors from most countries only require a passport valid for their intended period of stay. However, nationals of certain countries require a passport valid for at least six months longer than their intended stay. For a country-by-country list, see the latest 'Six-Month Club Update' from US Customs and Border Protection (www.cbp.gov).
Generally not required for stays of up to 90 days; check www.travel.state.gov for details.
- The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows nationals from some 38 countries (including most EU countries, Japan, Australia and New Zealand) to enter the US without a visa for up to 90 days.
- VWP visitors require an e-passport (with electronic chip) and approval under the Electronic System For Travel Authorization at least three days before arrival. There is a $14 fee for processing and authorization (payable online). Once approved, the registration is valid for two years.
- Those who need a visa – ie anyone staying longer than 90 days, or from a non-VWP country – should apply at the US consulate in their home country.
- Check with the US Department of State (www.travel.state.gov) for updates and details on entry requirements.