As a nonresident, you are allowed up to $100 worth of merchandise, free of duty and internal revenue tax, as gifts for other people. To claim this exemption, you must remain in the United States for at least 72 hours, and the gifts must accompany you.|
This $100 gift exemption, or any part of it, can be claimed only once every six months. You may include 100 cigars within the gift exemption, but alcoholic beverages may not be included.
Family members may not group their gift exemptions. For example, say a husband and wife are bringing a $200 gift to a friend in the United States. Only one family member would be allowed to claim the $100 gift exemption. The remaining $100 would be dutiable at the flat rate of duty. However, the husband and wife could each bring in a $100 gift, and each would be granted the gift exemption as long as other Customs requirements are met.
If you've used your gift exemption and then return to the United States before the six-month period has ended, you may still bring in up to $200 worth of merchandise free of duty for your personal or household use. Any of the following may be included in this $200 exemption: 50 cigarettes, 100 cigars, 150 milliliters of alcoholic beverages, 150 milliliters of perfume containing alcohol, or equivalent amounts of each. If you exceed any of these limitations, however, or if the total value of all dutiable articles exceeds $200, no exemption can be applied.
Do not gift-wrap your articles because they must be available for Customs inspection.
No specific duty exemption for wedding gifts is granted to nonresidents. If a U.S. resident goes abroad to marry a person of another country, that person will be granted resident status when the couple returns to the U.S. to reside (see Customs' pamphlet for returning residents, Know Before You Go).
Gifts Sent by Mail
Persons in the United States may receive free of duty a gift mailed from a foreign country or from a Caribbean Basin beneficiary country, if the shipment does not exceed $100 in fair retail value. If the gift is sent from the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or Guam, the duty-free gift exemption rises to $200. You may send as many gifts as you wish, but the U.S. recipient will have to pay duty if the gift parcels received in one day total more than $100 (or $200) in fair retail value. Gifts that exceed these amounts will be subject to duty based upon their entire value; there is no $100 (or $200) deduction for gifts sent from abroad.
Packages should be marked "Unsolicited Gift," with the donor's name, nature of the gift, and the package's fair retail value clearly written on the outside wrapper. When you arrive in the United States, you do not need to declare to Customs any gifts you have sent from abroad.
Alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, and perfumes containing alcohol may not be included under the provision for gifts mailed from abroad.