In clearing U.S. Customs, a traveler is considered either a returning resident of the United States or a nonresident. In addition to visitors, nonresident status also applies to:
- Persons emigrating to the United States;
- Children born abroad who have never resided in the United States; and
- Persons who left the United States after establishing residency with no intention of reestablishing U.S. residency.
U.S. residents stationed or working abroad may also claim nonresident status when returning to the United States for a short visit, provided all articles (except gifts and items consumed during their visit) are exported upon leaving the United States.
Articles brought into the United States are subject to duty and internal revenue tax unless they are prohibited entry, but as a visitor or nonresident, you are allowed certain exemptions and privileges.