and China Customs Information
Each visitor to China is required to complete
a customs declaration form and health declaration form; these forms are
distributed by the cabin crew during the flight to China. The customs
form must be filled out in duplicate and include a listing of items of
value you are declaring--i.e., all currencies (including cash and
traveler's checks), jewelry, watches, cassette players, radios, cameras,
and calculators. Caution: When in doubt about an item, declare it!
If you are traveling with a group, your tour
director will collect everyone's forms and present all forms to the
The endorsed duplicate copy will be returned
to you by your group tour director. You are required to keep the
duplicate copy of the customs declaration form until you exit China; at
that time, you must again present the form with your declaration of all
In theory, all personal possessions declared
upon entry into China must be taken out of the country at the end of
your trip. Therefore, if an item declared upon entry is lost while in
China, check with your Chinese host immediately. Depending upon the
value of the item, it may be necessary to file a report with the local
police in order for you to clear China customs at the end of your trip.
Currently, if you are traveling with a Regent group on a group visa, you
will not have to do any of the above.
However, this arrangement may change at any
point should the Chinese government change its entry policy.
When leaving the U.S. with any foreign-made
serialized items--e.g., cameras, watches, etc. that appear to be
new--such items must be accompanied by the sales slip or be registered
with the U.S. Customs Service in order to prevent having to pay duty
upon re-entering the U.S. Thus, to avoid any confusion, you should
declare any such items at your nearest U.S. Customs Service office or at
the U.S. Customs Service office at the international airport from which
If you carry more than US$10,000 (all
currencies, traveler's checks, money orders, or other bearer monetary
instruments) into or out of the U.S., you are required by U.S. law to
file a report with the U.S. Customs Service.
When re-entering the U.S., the duty-free
exemption for each person over 18 years of age is 200 cigarettes, 100
cigars, or 1.36 kilograms (3 pounds) of tobacco. In addition, the
duty-free exemption for each person over 21 years of age is one liter
(33.8 fluid ounces) of wine, beer, or distilled spirits.
When re-entering the U.S., you must declare,
at the price paid, everything acquired abroad, including gifts given to
you and articles purchased even if they have been worn or used. You
should be able to produce receipts for all goods acquired abroad and
calculate their total U.S. dollar value.
Warning: If you fail to declare (or if you
understate) the value of your purchases, penalties can be severe and
articles subject to seizure. Again, if in doubt, declare it!
While abroad, gift packages may be sent to
friends and relatives at addresses different from your own, and these
may be received free of duty if the value does not exceed US$50.
Note that many travelers are confused by the
term "duty-free" as it relates to shops. Articles bought in "duty-free"
shops in foreign countries are subject to U.S. customs duty and
restrictions, but may be included in your personal exemption. Also,
articles purchased in U.S. "duty-free" shops are subject to U.S. customs
duty if they are brought back into the U.S. "Duty-free" really means
that the shop has not been required to pay a duty on the items it sells.
Caution: Be prepared for challenges to the
originality of artwork and the authenticity of antiques. An original
artwork is duty-free, but mass-produced artwork carries a 25% duty. In
order to qualify as original, the piece should be the only one of its
kind and should be signed. (You can argue past the absence of a
signature. If the piece is indeed original, hold your ground and make
Certified antiques are duty-free, but duty on
non-antique porcelain, bronzes, and jewelry can range from 25% to 110%,
depending on the item. The U.S. Customs Service requires a signed
receipt from the dealer certifying that the item is more than 100 years
Note also that you may get a good price for a
supposedly brand-name product because it is counterfeit and thus subject
Caution: Do not bring meats, fruits, or
vegetables into the U.S. Also, many items made from the bone and/or skin
of endangered wildlife may not be imported into the country. Among these
items are all products made from sea turtles, all ivory, furs from
spotted cats, furs from marine mammals, feathers and feather products
from wild birds, and most coral.
The pamphlet, Know Before You Go, gives
pertinent information about U.S. Customs Service requirements and how
they apply to articles acquired abroad. Obtain a copy from your nearest
U.S. Customs Service office or from the U.S. Customs Service, P.O. Box
7407, Washington, D.C. 20044.