Pamphlet eases holiday mail rush

by Robert Szostek
U.S. European Command

***image1***Mailing packages stateside from Europe involves many prohibitions, restrictions and import duty rules. U.S. personnel can avoid the pitfalls by getting the “International Mail Imports” pamphlet from a military customs office.

“Many people do not know that Customs and Border Protection may fine you at least $300 if you mail meat or any meat products to the States,” said Bill Johnson, director of the U.S. European Command Customs and Border Clearance Agency.

Banned products include canned meats, pâté, salami, sausage and soup mixes containing meat. It is also illegal to mail handguns, alcoholic beverages and a whole list of other items to the United States. Other articles may need special import permits.

A customs declaration must be fixed to every parcel going to the States and falsifying it is a federal crime. “You must also realize that foreign-made goods sent to the United States are subject to the payment of duty,” Mr. Johnson cautioned.
“Even if you mail the items to yourself or buy them in a military exchange, the recipient may still have to pay duty and the customs user fee,” he explained.

U.S. residents may receive up to $100 worth of foreign-made goods per day, but have to pay duty on the total value of gifts exceeding that amount.

For more information on International Mail Imports, visit