Know before you go this summer

by Robert Szostek
U.S. European Command Customs Public Affairs

People scheduled to move to the States this summer should start preparing now by separating things that are banned from import and finding new homes for them. It is also a good idea to apply early for import permits on restricted items, customs officials advise.

“Prohibited items include meat and meat products, such as sausage, pâté and salami, as well as plants, plant products and all destructive devices,” said Mike Dean, director of the U.S. European Command’s Customs and Border Clearance Agency. “If you’re planning on shipping firearms, ensure you have proof that you owned them in the States or have an import permit,” he added.

Dean also explained that other important points to remember are:
• Owners of vehicles not made to U.S. standards have to ship them through commercial importers registered with the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency. However, vehicles more than 25 years old are exempt from this rule.
• Most mopeds and motorcycles must also meet U.S. safety and pollution standards and all vehicles must be free of dirt, insects and vegetation.
• Wine collections can only be shipped with advance approval from the transportation office.
• Endangered species items such as ivory and some furs may only be shipped if owners can prove they were previously owned in the U.S. or are antiques over 100 years old.
• State attorneys general must approve imports of gambling devices. These devices must be registered with the Justice Department in Washington D.C.

For more information, stop by your local military customs office or check out the military customs website at