Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Prohibited and Restricted Items at Customs and other Travel Insurance topics.
The US Customs Service has been entrusted with enforcing some 400 laws for 40 other government agencies, such as the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Agriculture. These other agencies have great interest in what people bring into the country, but they are not always at ports of entry, guarding our borders. US Customs is always at ports of entry - guarding the nation's borders is what we do. The products we want to keep out of the United States are those that would injure community health, public safety, American workers, children, or domestic plant and animal life, or those that would defeat our national political interests. Sometimes the products that cause injury, or have the potential to do so, may seem fairly innocent. Before you leave for your trip abroad, you might want to talk to Customs about the items you plan to bring back to be sure they're not prohibited or restricted. Prohibited means the item is forbidden by law to enter the United States. Examples are dangerous toys, cars that don't protect their occupants in a crash, or illegal substances like absinthe and Rohypnol. Restricted means that special licenses or permits are required from a federal agency before the item is allowed to enter the United States. Examples are firearms and certain fruits, vegetables, pets, and textiles.