8 Things That You Can’t Bring to the US from Overseas
A woman carrying a Louis Vuitton bag
Image from Pixabay

Are you planning to visit the United States or coming back to the country from a trip overseas? You should first know what items you can’t bring to the US. This way, you can avoid being held at customs, or worse, losing that precious “thing” of yours. Because no matter what you do, these items won’t pass through the US border or make it past the strict inspecting eyes of US customs.  

For your reference and information, here is a list of eight things you can’t bring to the US from overseas.

8 Things That You Can’t Bring to the US

1. Cultural Artifacts

8 Things That You Can’t Bring to the US from Overseas
Green Indian statue
Image from Pixabay

Buying cultural artifacts and bringing them into another country is already an illegal deed. This legality is an effort on behalf of most countries to preserve and protect their unique heritage. So, cultural artifacts are things that you can’t bring back to the US from other countries.

Even if it is just a souvenir from “your travel of a lifetime trip” or a precious gift from someone, it will be difficult negotiate to get it into the United States. And when we say cultural artifacts, this includes anything from art, to antiquities or archaeological artifacts. Examples are pre-Colombian art from Central or South America, Native American property from Canada, terracotta sculptures from Mali, or Cambodian Khmer stone artifacts.

2. Absinthe

8 Things That You Can’t Bring to the US from Overseas
Bottles of Absinthe alcohol
Image from Just Fun Facts

Absinthe has a long history of prohibition in the US. But as of the year 2007, it became legalized, as long as it passes Custom’s certain conditions. First, it should be “thujone-free”. (Thujone is a chemical component of wormwood that was believed to induce hallucinations.)

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Second, the term “absinthe” cannot be the brand name and cannot stand alone on the label. And third, the artwork or graphics on the label cannot project images of hallucinogenic, psychotropic, or mind-altering effects, specifically like the green fairy.

3. Dog and Cat Fur

8 Things That You Can’t Bring to the US from Overseas
Head wears made of fur
Image from Pixabay

Though dog and cat fur trades are legal in other countries like China, the US considers it as “fully illegal”.

Since 2000, any activities that are in relation to products containing dog or cat fur are strictly a no-no in the country. A fine up to $10,000 will be charged to anyone who breaks this law, even if it is intended or by mistake.

According to an investigation done by The Humane Society and other organizations, some manufacturers will label dog and cat fur as mink of fox fur. Some may hide it under an ambiguous name such as “Asiatic raccoon” or “coyote”. So, be extra careful in buying clothing abroad, especially with those that have furs.

4. Fruits and Vegetables

8 Things That You Can’t Bring to the US from Overseas
Basket of fruits and vegetables
Image from Pixabay

Organic or not, fruits and vegetables, especially those that come from countries with the red flag, are prohibited from entering the US. Because according to the CBP, fruits and vegetables can introduce plant pests or diseases into the country they travel to. The rule applies to live plants and plant seeds, as well.

This is a lesson learned from the 1980’s Mediterranean fruit fly outbreak in the US that was due to the importation of contaminated Mediterranean tomatoes. The incident had cost the state of California about $100 million to eliminate the problem.

5. Live Animals That Depend on Species and Circumstances

8 Things That You Can’t Bring to the US from Overseas
Blue budgerigar
Image from Pixabay

Transportation of live animals into the US, whether they are intended pets or not, is subject to a long list of dependencies.

So, if you are planning to bring back an animal or are traveling back to the country with your favorite pet, you should adhere to Custom’s rules, or else you might lose your pet. The procedures and restrictions are all the same for animals (except for birds) entering the country in any instance. The process includes quarantines, vaccinations, and even prohibitions.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), all dogs and cats should be healthy and completely vaccinated against rabies. On the other hand, bats, civets, African rodents, and non-human primates cannot be transported as pets under any circumstances. Birds returning to the US are subject to different restrictions that depend on their country of origin.

6. Drug Paraphernalia

8 Things That You Can’t Bring to the US from Overseas
Marijuana cannabis and lighter
Image from Pixabay

Whatever your purpose is, bringing drug paraphernalia into the US is illegal unless it is prescribed for an authentic medical condition. Anything that is used to make, use, or conceal drugs will be confiscated.

Examples of these are marijuana vaporizers or even hollowed-out books that are meant to hide illegal substances. Doing so will make you face a heavy fine and can be a reason for you to be arrested. There is one exception to the rule, though; tobacco pipes are allowed.

7. Counterfeit Brand Clothes or Bags

8 Things That You Can’t Bring to the US from Overseas
Hermes bag
Image from Pixabay

Bringing counterfeit consumer goods into the US is considered illegal. Though it may be tempting because it can give you style on a budget; you had better not buy any articles with a fake trademark. It can be footwear, clothes, leather goods, or bags… all of these are subject for confiscation.

But, there’s an exception to this rule. You can bring in a counterfeit item as long as it is for personal use and you bought it without knowing it was fake. The only challenge is that you need to prove that you had no clue that the item you purchased is not authentic and that it was an honest mistake.

According to a 2019 report, the largest producers and distributors of counterfeit items are China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.

8. Meat, Livestock, and Poultry

8 Things That You Can’t Bring to the US from Overseas
Salami sausage
Image from Pixabay

Rules regarding bringing meat products into the US are the same as rules for bringing fruits and vegetables. However, regulations frequently change because they are based on different disease outbreaks.

Keep in mind that even if it’s canned or dried, as long as it is on the prohibited list of countries affected by a disease, you can’t bring in into the US.

The items that were mentioned in this article are just some of the things that you can’t bring into the US. For more details, you can call or visit the US CBP or Customs and Border Protection before traveling or entering into US territory.  

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