Coming to the US can be scary, and it pushes peoples comfort zones.  Prior to now, temporary visitors (B1/B2 Visa Holders) to the US have had to pay duty on their household goods, forcing some people to have to make the decision about whether they would want to pay for the comfort of having their household goods with them. But, now there’s no need to worry if you’re faced with such a dilemma. Customs Border Protection (CBP) has given permission to B1/B2 visa holders to import their household goods duty free into the USA.

B1/B2 Visa Holders

If you are coming to the US for a temporary stay, then you need a nonimmigrant visa, what is known as a B1/B2 visa. B1 is for a temporary based business purpose; while B2 is for tourism, leisurely visits, etc. As the name defined, a B1/B2 Visa is a combination of both.

“… we find that persons entering the United States with a B1/B2 Visitor Visa may import household goods duty free under subheading 9804.00.05, HTSUS, as nonresidents.”

While that is great news, keep in mind that as a B1/B2 visa holder, you can bring your household goods into the US on a temporary basis only. Furthermore, you’re only allowed to bring along items for personal use, and you can’t sell, do business and earn cash from those goods while living in US territory.

It is also important to note that your household goods meet the custom criteria of the definition and usage of households. You can’t import restricted or harmful products into the US.

“Articles imported by or for the account of any person arriving in the United States from a foreign country: Books, libraries, usual and reasonable furniture and similar household effects, if actually used abroad by him or by him and his family no less than one year, and not intended for any other person, or for sale.”

What type of products and how many products can be imported into the USA is decided by custom and its classification of goods.

Importing Goods to the USA

In order for B1/B2 Visa Holders to import anything to the USA , you will need to fill a customs declaration form. First, you will have to fill the customs declaration form 6059 B for the products that you will be taking along with you. The form requests information about the goods being imported. You will also find a list of items which are free or come with a price on this form. Fill in all the spaces carefully and explain your reason and particular names to the customs officers.

To import things which are not accompanied by you, but rather you want to send them to the US at a later time, you will have to fill forms CF 6059B or CF 3299 (Declaration For Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles). These goods will also pass through a test by the customs office.

Also note that when you are filling an application form, you can’t summarize all of your items, you must detail out what you are bringing, and they must be listed in English.  For example, you can’t write on the form that you want to take furniture with you. Instead, you’ll have to mention what the specific furniture happens to be; is it a table, bed, desk, chair or something else?

In the same way, you have to mention the particular name of all your belongings in separate categories like sports equipment, clothes, books, office equipment, etc.

Remember, CBP has the authority when it comes to importing things into the USA including determining if B1/B2 Visa Holders’ household goods meet the criteria of the definition of used household goods under the classification of HSTUS subheading 9804.00.05.  Feel free to contact us with any questions or further clarification on this issue. As always are we are here to help and happy to do so!