What items and products prohibited to import in the US: official list of requirements

Customs and border protection is required to enforce hundreds of laws for 40 other government agencies such as the security Service, fish and wildlife, US Department of agriculture and the Centers for control and prevention of diseases. These agencies require that unsafe items are not allowed to be imported into the United States. CBP officers are always at ports of entry and are responsible for protecting Americans from potential threats marked on the official website of the Agency.

Какие предметы и продукты запрещено ввозить в США: официальный список и требования

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CBP prohibits the import of U.S. products that may cause harm to public health, public safety, American workers, children, Pets or other animals, and damage to national interests. Sometimes the products causing damage or able to do that can seem fairly innocent — but this impression is deceptive.

Before you travel abroad, you can discuss with the staff of the CBP items, which are planning to return to the United States to make sure that they are not prohibited and are not restricted for importation. The ban means that the product cannot be imported into the United States. Examples of prohibited items are dangerous toys, cars that don’t protect passengers in a collision, the meat of wild animals, or illegal substances like absinthe and rohypnol. The restriction means that require any special license or permit Federal agencies to import such product into the country. For example, firearms, certain fruits and vegetables, animal products and some animals.

Absinthe (alcohol)

Import of absinthe is regulated by rules of the Department for control over products and medicines of the USA and the rules on taxes and trade, Department of the Treasury alcohol and tobacco. Absinthe must contain less than 10 parts thujone (a toxic substance with psychotropic effects — approx.ed.) per million, term “absinthe” cannot be trademarked or be listed separately on the label and the image and / or graphics may not reflect hallucinogenic, psychotropic or mind-altering effect. Absinthe imported in violation of these rules shall be withdrawn.

Alcoholic beverages

In addition to U.S. laws, the laws of the state in which you first entered the United States, will regulate the amount of alcohol which you can take, and the need for a license. If you plan to bring your own alcohol before you leave you should contact the appropriate state Commission on alcoholic beverage control to determine what you need to do to comply with laws and regulations of this state.


Cars imported into the United States, must comply with the requirements of the Agency for environmental protection to fuel emissions and safety standards and the requirements of the U.S. Department of transportation to prevent theft. Attempt to import a vehicle that does not meet all the requirements can be disastrous. More info on the special page.

Almost all cars, vans, sport utility vehicles, etc., purchased in foreign countries must be modified in accordance with American standards, except most late model vehicles from Canada. Cars that were not modified acceptably, must be removed or destroyed. Also under these circumstances the vehicle may require a security Deposit when you check-in until you complete all the necessary conditions.

And even if the car meets all Federal standards, it may be subject to additional EPA requirements: contact EPA and DOT before importing a car.

Information on importing vehicles can be obtained on the website of the Agency for the protection of the environment. You can also find information about importing Management page on the safety of vehicles.

You can also visit the EPA website.

Cars imported into the United States temporarily by non-residents (for a period of less than one year) are exempt from these restrictions. To import a car to the United States and sell it if it was not officially held on the CBP form 7501 is illegal.


You may need the permission of the Department of agriculture and/or permission of the Centers for control and prevention of diseases to import biological specimens including bacterial cultures, culture medium, urine, fungi, arthropods, mollusks, tissues of livestock, birds, plants, viruses, or vectors for research, biological or pharmaceutical purposes. Permission requirements are on the website of the USDA, and information on permits CDC can be found on a special page.


Although ceramic tableware is not prohibited or restricted for import, you should know that such tableware made in foreign countries may contain dangerous levels of lead in the glaze, where the substance can seep into food and drinks. Management under the control over products and medicines recommends that if you buy ceramic tableware abroad — especially in Mexico, China, Hong Kong or India — she was checked for the presence of lead and were used only for decorative purposes.

Cultural artifacts and values

In most countries there are laws that protect their cultural values. These laws include export controls and / or national ownership of cultural property. Even if they purchased from the company in the country of origin or in another country, legal ownership of such artifacts may be questioned in the case of importation into the United States. When you import such goods into the United States you must have permission and receipts. Not to bring stolen items, no matter how many times they passed from hand to hand. Restricted import of such items as:

  • any pre-Columbian monumental and architectural sculpture and murals from Central and South America;
  • artifacts of native Americans from Canada;
  • pre-Columbian Maya archaeological objects from Guatemala;
  • pre-Columbian archaeological objects from El Salvador and Peru;
  • archaeological objects like terracotta statues from Mali;
  • from the colonial period such as paintings and ritual objects from Peru;
  • ritual and ecclesiastical objects from the Byzantine period, such as icons from Cyprus and the Khmer stone archaeological sculpture from Cambodia.

The import of items like those listed above, are only allowed in if accompanied by a permission to export issued by the country of origin, where such items were first discovered. It is known that providers of such items often offer fake export certificates. Potential buyers are strongly advised to visit the website of the US State Department.

Goods that are considered to be Iraqi cultural property or other items of archaeological, historical, cultural, rare scientific and religious importance illegally removed from the National Museum of Iraq, the National library and other locations in Iraq since 6 August 1990, also prohibited to import.

Defense articles

Items that have military applications and are considered defense articles, require a license before the permanent export, temporary import and temporary export abroad. Such elements may include software or technology, blueprints, design plans, retail software packages and technical information. If CBP officials suspect that such a thing was temporarily imported / exported or imported on a regular basis without a license, possible detention or arrest for violation of the international arms trade. A complete list of items and rules can be found on the website of the office of defense (DDTC).

Goods that have both commercial and military applications are considered dual-use commodities and may require an export license depending on product specifications. These products may include hardware, software, technology, drawings, plans, design and technical information. Full list of commodities and regulations controlled under the export regulations of the administration, can be found on the website of the Bureau of industry and security.

Fur dogs and cats

In the US it is illegal to import, export, distribute, transport, manufacture or sell products containing dog or cat fur. As of 9 November 2000 law on the protection of dogs and cats provides for the seizure and forfeiture of each item containing the fur of a dog or cat. The law provides that any person who contravenes any of its regulations may be fined up to $ 10,000 for each separate conscious and intentional violation, $ 5,000 for each separate gross violation or $ 3,000 for each violation of gross negligence.

Narcotic components

It is prohibited to import in USA drugs and their components, unless there is written confirmation of a real medical condition (e.g., diabetes). CBP will confiscate any illegal components related to drugs. The law prohibits the importation, exportation, manufacture, sale or transportation of supplies for drugs. For violation of rely fine and imprisonment.


The Bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives (ATF) regulates and restricts firearms and ammunition and approves or denies all permanent imports of arms and ammunition. If you want to import weapons or ammunition, you must do it through a licensed importer, dealer or manufacturer. In addition, if the national firearms act prohibits the importation of certain weapons, ammunition or similar devices, you will not be able to import them, if the ATF will not give you written permission to do so. If a firearm is in the List of munitions of the United States, and it is temporarily imported to the United States or temporarily exported, it may also require a license from the State Department or the fulfillment of the conditions for exemption from licensing.

You don’t need an ATF permit if you can prove that you are returning with the same firearms or ammunition that you took out of the United States. To avoid problems when returning, you must register your firearms and related equipment, transporting it to any CBP office before you leave the United States.

In many countries you are not allowed to enter with a firearm even if you are transiting to a final destination. If you are planning to bring their own firearms or ammunition to another country, you should contact the Embassy of that country to learn about its rules.

Fish and wildlife

Some types of fish and wild animals and products made from them are subject to the restrictions on the import and export of required permits or certificates. CBP recommends that you contact fisheries and wildlife, US before departure if you plan to import or to export any of the items in this list:

  • wild birds, land or marine mammals, reptiles, fish, mollusks or invertebrates;
  • any part or product of the above, such as skins, tusks, bone, feathers or eggs; or
  • products or articles manufactured from wildlife or fish.

Under the threat of disappearance kinds of wild animals and products made from them, generally may not be imported or exported. You will need a permit from the FWS to import virtually all types of ivory, unless it’s a bone of a warthog. Contact the Agency before acquiring ivory in a foreign country (1-800-358-2104) or go to the website of the Service of protection of fish and wildlife, US. You can import an object made of ivory if it’s an antique at least 100 years, and you will need documents confirming these data. If you plan on buying things such as jewelry from turtle shells or products made from whalebone, ivory, skins or fur, call the telephone number listed above. It is also worth to contact the CBP to find out which points of entry in the United States to import certain imported products and goods from this section.

Some States have stricter laws and rules than Federal and state laws take precedence. Remember that the Federal government will not allow the import into the United States wild animals that were killed, sold, captured or exported from another country if any of these acts violated foreign laws.

Food products (raw and finished)

You can bring US bread and some cheese. On the web site of the APHIS there is a section “travel Tips” and section “Game and hunting trophies”, which provides extensive information on import of food and other products in the United States. Many prepared foods are admissible. However, the meat of wild animals from African wildlife and almost anything containing meat products, such as bouillon, soup mixes, etc., to be imported not permitted. As a rule, allowed spices, vinegar, oils, packaged spices, honey, coffee and tea. Because rice can often contain insects, it is better to avoid its importation into the United States. Some imported foods are also subject to the requirements of the Department for control over products and medicines of the USA.

Advance notice of food imports

Security act, public health and preparedness for bioterrorism and response established the requirement that about food, imported (or offered for import) for commercial use, including manually carried, was duly notified to the Management on control over products and medicines of the USA — prior to the arrival of these goods in the United States. The timing of the FDA prior notice (forms of transport) is 2 hours by land 4 hours by rail or by air, 8 hours on the ship and to “send time” for international mail.

Food that was made by man in his personal residence, or food purchased from the seller and sent as a personal gift (for non-commercial reasons) to someone in the United States, does not apply to the requirements of the Law on bioterrorism. However, the food is sent to a natural person in the United States business is subject to special requirements of the Department for control over products and medicines of the USA. For example, if you go to the grocery store in England and buy a gift basket, and then send it to the post office or courier to his friend, the parcel is not subject to the requirements of the BTA. But if you go to the same store and ask them to send the gift basket for you for delivery are subject to the BTA requirements, and the seller will need to submit prior notice. Failure to notify may lead to rejection of the product, and even penalties for any of the parties to the transaction import.

Fruits and vegetables

Permission to import fruits and vegetables depends on a number of factors. For example, consider the Apple you bought in the foreign airport before boarding and did not eat. Whether will allow you to import Apple in the USA, depends on where you got it and where you are going after arrival in the United States. The same can be said about Mediterranean tomatoes. Such factors are important because fresh fruits and vegetables can bring pests or plant diseases into the United States.

A good example of problems that can cause of import of fruits and vegetables, is an outbreak of Mediterranean fruit fly in the 1980-ies. Getting rid of this pest has cost the state of California and the Federal government approximately $ 100 million. The cause of the outbreak was the only traveler who brought home one contaminated piece of fruit. Therefore it is better not to import U.S. fruits and vegetables. But, if you plan to do, contact CBP or see “Permissions” on the website of USDA-APHIS.

The penalty for what you have not shown agricultural produce at the point of entry in the U.S. is $ 300 for the first time and 500 the second. It is therefore important to provide all the products customs and border protection to check that the specialist on agriculture to determine whether this product is acceptable.

Meat, cattle and poultry

Rules governing the importation of meat and meat products are very strict. You may not import fresh, dried or canned meats or meat products from most foreign countries into the United States. In addition, you can’t import the food that was cooked with meat.

Rules for import of meat and meat products change frequently because they are based on disease outbreaks in different regions of the world. APHIS, which regulates the import of meat and meat products, and fruits and vegetables, invites you to contact them for more information. The list of countries and / or regions with specific diseases of livestock or poultry can be found on the page.

Game and hunting trophies

Information about this category of imported goods can be found on the website of the Service fish and wildlife of the United States. Currently, 14 ports of entry is designed to handle game and trophies; other items must obtain permission from the Service for the protection of fish and wildlife, US to enable you to import such products. You may also need permission from the country where the animal was produced. Regardless of the type, you will need to fill in a special form. Trophies can also be tested by CBP for sanitary purposes. General guidelines for importing trophies can be found in the System of authorization of imports (IAS) or APHIS by calling (301) 734-3277.

There are many regulations applied by various agencies, governing the importation of animals and parts of animals. Failure to comply may result in lengthy delays at the border, so it is important to contact the agencies of your state and Federal authorities before you enter the United States.


Gold coins, medals and bullion, formerly prohibited, may be imported into the United States. However, in accordance with the rules regulated by the Office of foreign assets control, such items imported to or exported from Cuba, Iran, Burma (Myanmar) and most of Sudan are prohibited. Copies of gold coins are prohibited if they are not labeled properly by the country of issue.

Haitian drums

Drums from the skins of the Haitian goat were previously associated with cases of anthrax, and the CDC restricts the import drums from the skins of animals from Haiti if they have not been thus treated to make them non-infectious. Travelers should be aware that the drums from the skins of desert animals from Africa may pose a risk, although low, the occurrence of anthrax.



The rule of thumb. When you go abroad, take the medicines you’ll need, no more, no less. Narcotics and certain other drugs with a high risk for abuse — rohypnol, GHB, and Fen-Phen can’t be imported into the United States, and it is possible to receive a serious penalty. If you need medicines that contain drugs or other substances that cause addiction (e.g., some cough medicines, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antidepressants or stimulants), do the following:

  • tell us about all medications and products to the appropriate CBP officer;
  • carry such substances in their original containers;
  • take only the amount of substances that a person with such a condition (e.g., chronic pain) usually has for personal use;
  • carry a prescription or written statement from doctor stating that these substances are used under a doctor’s supervision and that they are necessary for your physical wellbeing while traveling.

For US residents entering the United States through the international land borders and transporting legally obtained controlled substance (except narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin or LSD), are subject to certain additional requirements. If a U.S. resident wants to bring a controlled substance (except drugs listed), but has no prescription for the substance issued by a practitioner licensed by the United States and authorized Management to enforce drug laws to prescribe a medicine, an individual may not import more than 50 metered-dose units of the drug in the United States. If a U.S. resident has a prescription for a controlled substance issued by a DEA registrant, it can import more than 50 metered units.

Please note that only medications that can be prescribed by law in the United States may be imported for personal use. Storage of certain substances may also violate state laws. Typically, the FDA does not allow the import of drugs, prescription that have been acquired outside the United States.

Management under the control over products and medicines of the United States prohibits the importation by mail or in person fraudulent medicines, prescription and non-prescription, and medical devices. These include the “cure” for diseases such as cancer, AIDS, arthritis or multiple sclerosis. Although such drugs or devices may be legal elsewhere, if the FDA has not approved them for use in the United States, they can’t legally enter the country and will be confiscated, even if they were obtained by prescription foreign a doctor.

For more information about travel and importation of medicines can be found on the page of drugs FDA.

Goods from countries embargoed

As a rule, you can’t import any goods from Cuba, Iran, Burma (Myanmar) or most of Sudan. The office for foreign assets control of the Department of the Treasury enforces economic sanctions against those countries. For importation of goods from those countries, you’ll first need a special license of the office for foreign assets control. Such licenses are issued rarely.


  • you can bring from any of these countries information and informational materials — books, magazines, films, posters, photographs, microfilms, tapes, CDs, records, works of art, etc Clean the belt and clean the CDs are not informational content;
  • household and personal effects of persons arriving in the United States that were actually used abroad by the importer or by other family members arriving from the same foreign household, are not intended for any other person or for sale and which are not otherwise prohibited for import;
  • accompanied baggage intended for personal use;
  • allowed to import the goods from Sudan include gifts worth up to $ 100.

There are some restrictions on travel to certain countries under embargo. Review the website to determine which countries have restrictions before heading out in them.


If you plan to take your pet abroad or bring it on your return, consult with your County, state, and local authorities to find out whether their restrictions and prohibitions on Pets are stricter than Federal requirements. Import of animals is strictly regulated for public health and for animal welfare. There are restrictions and prohibitions on the import of many species in the United States.

Cats are subject to inspection at ports of entry and may be denied entry into the United States if they have evidence of an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans. If the cat seems sick, at the point of entry may need further examination by a licensed veterinarian at the owner’s expense.

Cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the United States. However, some States require vaccination of cats for rabies, so it is recommended to consult health authorities at the place of destination.

All pet cats arriving in the state of Hawaii and the territory of GUAM, even from the mainland USA, are local quarantine requirements.

Dogs must also be free from signs of diseases that can be transmitted to humans. General health certificate is not required by the CDC for entry of pet animals into the United States, although some airlines or States may require them. Dogs must have a certificate that they have been vaccinated against rabies not later than 30 days prior to entry into the United States. This certificate must specify the date of vaccination, date of expiration (possible vaccinations 1 or 3 year) and signature of a licensed veterinarian. If the certificate has no date of expiration, CBP will accept it if the dog was vaccinated 12 months or less before coming to the United States. Dogs from countries free from rabies should not be vaccinated.

These requirements apply equally to service animals such as guide dogs.

If your pet does not meet the requirements of the CDC, as described above, contact the CDC at CDCAnimalImports@cdc.gov to discuss your specific situation.

Birds can be imported as Pets if they meet the requirements of APHIS and the U.S. fish and wildlife. There is a temporary ban on the importation of pet birds from countries / regions affected with highly pathogenic avian influenza subtype of avian influenza H5NI. For more information visit.

All domestic poultry are non-United States origin imported into the United States (except Canada), must be quarantined for 30 days in a quarantine facility of the Department of agriculture at the expense of the owner. After booking and receiving payment in full for all quarantine services quarantine Agency will issue import permit from the USDA (form VS17-129). This permit must accompany the bird in transit. The Department of agriculture defines pet birds as those that are imported for their individual owners and not for resale.

For more information visit the APHIS Animal Health

Other common Pets such as rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils and Guinea pigs may be imported if they have a good health. The importation of reptiles and invertebrates is restricted; most species of snails are not allowed. All civets, African rodents and nonhuman primates are prohibited importation, except for purposes of science, education and exhibitions. These species cannot be imported as Pets. Contact the CDC for more information.


CBP will not examine film you bought abroad and brought to the United States if the officer no reason to believe that it contains illegal material such as child pornography. You will not be charged a fee for the film purchased in the United States and exported abroad, regardless of whether used or not. But the tape you bought and used abroad, it is considered dutiable.

Plants and seeds

Some plants, cuttings, seeds that can reproduce, unprocessed plant products and certain species under threat of extinction, are allowed for importation into the United States but require import permit and other documents; some are prohibited entirely. Allowed or endangered species must have an export permit from the country of origin.

Every single plant or plant product including handicraft, made of straw, must be presented to the CBP officer and submitted for audit, no matter how they are free from pests. For information about importing plants or plant products please visit.


Soil is considered the loose surface of the earth where you grow plants, trees and shrubs. In most cases, the soil consists of disintegrated rock with admixture of organic material and soluble salts. The soil is prohibited to import into the United States, if not accompanied by import permit. On import you need to tell the CBP officer to allow inspection.

Textiles and clothing

In General, there is no limit to how much fabric and clothing you can bring, if it is intended for personal use or as a gift. If not, you may have to pay a fee for the goods. However, unaccompanied personal shipments (packages sent by post) can be limited in amount.

January 1, 2005 were cancelled quotas for all countries that are members of the world trade organization (WTO). There are still some countries, such as Vietnam, which are not part of the WTO and have quotas for commercial deliveries. These countries may require an additional document called a “visa” accompany the shipment.

China may be restrictions on certain types of clothing, called “safeguards.” It is recommended to contact a specialist in the import CBP in your area or at the point of entry through which you plan to import to determine what countries are subject to quotas and what products from China are subject to limitations.

May require additional documentation for textiles from other countries such as African countries to qualify for duty-free import. The same requirement can be charged in accordance with numerous free trade agreements that are concluded between the United States and a foreign government.

Trademark and copyrighted articles

CBP enforces laws relating to the protection of trademarks and copyrights. The articles violate a registered Federal trademark or copyright, and the copyright protected by the Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works are subject to detention and / or arrest.

Items with marks that are counterfeit or inappropriately used was the Federal procedure a trademark are subject to seizure and confiscation. The importation of items intended for sale or public distribution of counterfeit marks may lead to a fine. Items with marks that are similar to the point of confusion with a registered trademark, and the goods are gray market goods (goods with genuine marks not intended for import into the United States, which CBP provided the gray market protection) are subject to detention and arrest.

However, travelers arriving in the United States, may be granted an exception and allowed to import one item of each type, provided that the product is intended for personal use and not for sale. This permission may be granted not more than once every 30 days. For example, an arriving person who has three of the purse, regardless of whether all trademark, copyright infringing, or all three have the same trademark violation, you are allowed to keep only one purse. If an object is imported in accordance with the provisions of the exception for personal use is sold within one year after the date of importation, the object or its value shall be confiscated.

As for copyright infringement, the confiscation is subject to the clearly pirate products — that is, not authorised, but substantially similar to the copyrighted material. The exception of articles for personal use of the importer, not intended for sale or distribution.

You can return the genuine trademarks and copyrighted articles. The most frequently imported products protected by copyright include software on CD-ROMs, sound recordings, toys, stuffed animals, clothing with cartoon characters, videotapes, DVDs, music CDs and books. Most frequently imported goods, protected trademarks include bags and accessories as well as clothes.


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