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Registering cameras & laptops with customs b4 leaving US?

Knoxville, TN
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10 posts
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Registering cameras & laptops with customs b4 leaving US?
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I'm leaving for Greece in the morning & am just going over the Customs website when I saw this page (which I'll link) stating that you should register your cameras, ipod before you leave so that you won't have to pay duties on them coming back in country.

Anyone actually do this? Or is this just an old rule that no one actually follows? I'll have both a Panasonic video camera as well as a Canon digital in my carry on.

This is my first trip out of country so I'm probably blowing everything out of proportion, but please advise.

Thanks!!

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/register_items.xml

Mesa, Arizona
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9,998 posts
7 reviews
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11. Re: Registering cameras & laptops with customs b4 leaving US?
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I've heard of it, in fact, I used to register my stuff "a thousand years ago". I havent done that in 20 years.

Detroit, MI
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for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
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12. Re: Registering cameras & laptops with customs b4 leaving US?
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Maybe if you travel with three brand new shiny laptops and six brand new shiny ipods, you might get questioned if you purchased them in Europe. If you travel with a "normal" quantity of devices for a single traveler, which probably show some wear and tear, they are not going to question it. I have never seen a deal on electronics in Europe compared to the US when you consider the exchange rate and taxes, so I highly doubt many people smuggle electronics into the US to avoid duty.

UK
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49,560 posts
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13. Re: Registering cameras & laptops with customs b4 leaving US?
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<<I've heard of it, in fact, I used to register my stuff "a thousand years ago". I havent done that in 20 years.>>

Ditto, Ditto, though in the other direction.

<<So they posted all their receipts home (for Insurance) and were most surprised to get a visit one night from Customs bearing the envelope.>>

Hmm, someone I know must scan them and email them encrypted in future :-)

Isle of Man, United...
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43,112 posts
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14. Re: Registering cameras & laptops with customs b4 leaving US?
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<<and email them encrypted in future :-)>>

Worth a try Joe, IF you are sure EMail traffic is not monitored too.

Me? I just walk through the Green Channel with my best innocent smile on.

Jackson, Wyoming
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14,183 posts
216 reviews
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15. Re: Registering cameras & laptops with customs b4 leaving US?
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OK. I am not worried about our cameras or computers because it would be stupid of us to purchase them in the places where we travel. They are less expensive in the US.

I do, however, have jewelry from countries we visit. It is jewelry I have had for decades, but it is good jewelry and does not look old and worn. I have no way to prove that I have owned it for 30+ years. Does this customs issue only apply to electronics or could it be applied to anything you had?

Bangkok, Thailand
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16. Re: Registering cameras & laptops with customs b4 leaving US?
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Hi,

Anything and everything is subject to examination.. Electronic and such tends to be some of the more popular items, but it can be anything..

Again, the CBP issue is just like the IRS.. Unfortunately, when you come back to the US.. *you* have the "burden of proof" to show reasonable evidence of whats' newly acquired on your overseas trip and what's not.. the CBP doesn't have to.. and if asked for reasonable proof-- and you can't supply it, the CBP has the right to deem it as a newly acquired item and tax it accordingly.. There is an appeals process, but it's lengthy and best avoided if at all possible..

As example, my mother has some very nice Mikimoto pearls-- ear rings and bracelet-- that she bought years and years ago in Japan.. She's had them registered and she has in fact been asked about them before on returning from trips to Asia..

In the end, it really is a subjective call.. For me, since the form and the process are all free.. and if you live more than 50 miles (I recall) from a CBP office, you can have the form completed at any US Post Office, I've had it done for several of my items..

Have I ever been asked for proof? Only once.. But I consider the whole form/process as "cheap" insurance against unnecessary hassles.

Edited: 11 years ago
TN, USA
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16 posts
17. Re: Registering cameras & laptops with customs b4 leaving US?
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I saw the item on the custom's website and decided not to do the register thing BUT, since I don't want to tempt fate I have scanned the receipts for our laptops, iPods, handheld games, and cameras (the video camera is only a couple of days old) and saved it on the computer PLUS copied it onto a flashdrive that will be ion my purse PLUS emailed it to myself, incase the computer dies. That should take care of it.

Detroit, MI
Destination Expert
for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
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7,467 posts
18. Re: Registering cameras & laptops with customs b4 leaving US?
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How much is the jewelry worth? Are you talking $20, $200 or $2000. If the first two, no big deal. If it is in the $1000s, you may want to think twice about traveling with it in the first place.

If you do continue to travel with it, you could get it appraised in the US and carry a copy of the appraisal. This would show ownership prior to leaving the country. It would also be helpful for insurance purposes should it get stolen.

19. Re: Registering cameras & laptops with customs b4 leaving US?

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