I have been trying to find info on what exactly duty free is and also what allowance is, but to no avail. I am going on my first cruise the end of April with NCL on a Western Caribbean cruise. Can you give me any info or direct me to a website with the definitions and numbers? Thanks so much.
What are the customs allowances?
United States residents must declare all articles acquired abroad and in their possession when they return to the U.S. This includes items purchased in "duty-free" shops. The duty-free exemption allowed for purchases or gifts for returning U.S. residents varies, depending on how long they have been out of the U.S. and which countries they have visited. The standard exemption for U.S. residents who have been abroad more than 48 hours is $400, which may include one liter of alcohol (if you are at least 21), 100 cigars and 200 cigarettes.* Residents returning to the U.S. from the U.S. Virgin Islands may bring $1,200 worth of goods duty-free. The duty-free exemption for U.S. residents doesn't need to include items that are mailed back to the U.S.; those will be assessed for duty when they arrive. The duty-free exemption for a package mailed as a gift is $100; the exemption for a package marked for personal use is $200. Non-U.S. citizens should check with their local authorities for customs allowance information. For more specific customs information, be sure to attend the briefing by the Cruise Director before your ship reaches home port. (Check the daily onboard newsletter for time and place.) You can also obtain information before you sail by contacting the nearest U.S. Customs office (look under United States Government, Department of Treasury in your local phone book). You can also visit the U.S. Customs website - www.customs.ustreas.gov - or call 1.202.927.6724 and ask for the brochure "Know Before You Go." Note: Bottles of liquor you purchase on board or ashore will be held in a secure area and delivered to your stateroom at the conclusion of the cruise.
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Got to this; website www.customs.ustreas.gov That will give you the proper information. There are exceptions and some differant rules that apply to differant ports so read it in it's entirety and take note of these exceptions and special conditions.
Just FYI. While the customs form says to list everything you bought, we have always just listed "souveniers" and an amount (i.e. $200.00) for all the small things we bought, and listed larger purchases (i.e. bracelet $100.00) separately. We have never been questioned about the souveniers. I think they should hand out the customs form at the beginning of the cruise instead of the last night. Things would be easier to keep up with that way!
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