While many household goods inventories can clear customs easily, some require the clearance of additional government agencies. In order to ensure timely delivery of your goods and not experience delay, it is important that you wait to ship certain items until you have received the pre-approved documents.
Household goods/ personal effects items that require additional documentation or clearance include:
- Firearms and ammunition – You’ll want to make sure the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) has approved the import prior to shipping from origin. The application process can take up to 6 weeks to complete and you would not want your shipment to arrive and be held as storage charges would be very costly. BATF Form 6 information may be found at the BATF website: https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/form/form-6-part-1-application-and-permit-importation-firearms-ammunition-and
- Pianos with ivory keys – If the piano you are importing has ivory keys you will need to provide an approved CITES certificate to US Fish & Wildlife for clearance. The CITES must be approved for export by the country of export’s government agencies. You should not ship your piano with ivory keys until the CITES has been approved. Also important to note is the CITES will have an expiration date which is strictly enforced so plan your import to allow ample time to clear prior to expiration. Information about the CITES processes and program may be found at US Fish & Wildlife’s website: https://www.fws.gov/international/cites/
- Vehicles which may require manufacturer letters for EPA or DOT – Not all vehicles being imported will have distinct labels providing ample proof of US regulatory compliance. When this happens, a letter from the vehicle’s manufacturer will be required to prove compliance. Keep in mind this letter can take a few weeks to obtain so make sure all vehicle documentation is in good order prior to shipping. If the vehicle is meant to be permanently imported and does not comply with regulations it must be cleared through a US-approved Registered Importer (RI). The RI will then modify the vehicle and clear all appropriate agencies.