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What will customs allow me to bring back to the US?

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New York City, New...
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What will customs allow me to bring back to the US?

We're very excited for our trip - we leave on Friday!

Looks like there are lots of great things to bring back as souvenirs. Will US customs allow us to bring back spices or tea?

Thanks!

Mount Dora, Florida
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1. Re: What will customs allow me to bring back to the US?

I have no idea what the official policy is on tea and spices. We purchase tea, coffee, spices, candy, tobacco and baklava and bring them all back with us. We have a nice man in the Spice Bazaar who vacuum seals everything so there is little odor from any of our purchases.

I list generic "foodstuffs" on my custom form. We have never been questioned beyond that. No one has ever opened a suitcase. In fact, we do not even pause at customs. We just hand in the form as we continue to walk.

Once a friend gave us a huge sack of herbs he had picked from the hills near his farm. They were just in a plain plastic sack and they were very fragrant. I was a bit worried about that item, but it passed through without difficulty.

My philosophy is generally to attempt to take items through customs. The worst thing that could happen is that they would confiscate your item and you would lose it. If you do not have hundreds of dollars invested in your food items this should not be a huge problem.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: What will customs allow me to bring back to the US?

Sounds very reasonable, Busy-Retired. Thank you!

NY, NY
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3. Re: What will customs allow me to bring back to the US?

Typically meats are prohibited- whether fresh, vacuum packed or otherwise. Teas, spices, oils, vinegar, honey, and other things of that nature are typically allowed in as are cheeses (except I know you can't bring cheese from France as they don't pasturize their cheese). Alcohol can be tricky so I wouldn't recommend bringing that back unless you hide it in your checked luggage and don't claim it. Also, I'm not sure what the airport is like in Istanbul (I'm heading there for my first time next month) but at the airport in Athens, Greece, the duty-free shops that sell the oils, honey, etc., do not give you your purchased goods at the gate, as is the case here in the states. You must take it through security with you so if it doesn't fit in the 3oz bottle and in the quart ziploc bag, they won't even sell it to you if you are flying to the states. I learned that the hard way coming back from Greece my first time and wound up empty handed for all my friends and relatives because I didn't want to cart those items around while I island hopped and figured I'd buy it all at the airport.

Also, I agree with Busy-Retired above... if you just smile and keep talking while handing the agents your customs form, you'll never be stopped. (or at least I never have)

Saint Paul
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4. Re: What will customs allow me to bring back to the US?

Spices and tea won't be a problem.

As busy said, purchase them in the spice bazaar so you can have them vacuum-packed.

Returning with alcohol really isn't a problem. The us customs website tells you what is allowed (quantities) but customs people often turn their heads.

Jeez, I'm not sure I'd return with raki again anyway!

You'll have a $400 exemption up front, which will cover an awful lot of purchased souvenirs.

We even bought / shipped a carpet home........worth much more than our exemption..................it arrived safe & sound, and no mention of duty owed.

You can't help but be excited about visiting Turkey...............we can't wait to return.

Concord, California
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5. Re: What will customs allow me to bring back to the US?

cbp.gov/xp/…prohibited_restricted.xml

this is from the customs website.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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6. Re: What will customs allow me to bring back to the US?

Thank you, vagabond, for supplying the legal answer regarding US Customs.

7. Re: What will customs allow me to bring back to the US?

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