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Unread 07-13-2012, 06:57 AM   #1
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Moving to the US. Border Customs and my guitars.

Hello fellow forumites!

I am going to move to the US next week and, regarding some info I have read over the past days, I feel the need to ask you this:

Can I travel through customs without problems or fear of my guitar getting confiscated?

I have read that there have been updates in the instrument permissions and that there is a big thing going on with the curent administration and Gibson guitars. I also read that some forum members have had problems with their Mayones guitars being held by customs until a certified list of the proicedence on the woods of such guitars was presented.

I have been reading the U.S. Customs website but can't find anything on there.

For now I am only going to bring one guitar. But I am afraid they will need some sort of additional demonstration of where it was purchased and make my day if it's a non US guitar for example.

I can bring one of these:

Gibson Les Paul (purchased in the USA with receit from store)
Fender Richie Kotzen (purchased in Spain with receit from store)
ESP SV (purchased in Germany (with receit from the store)

Mayones Regius (bought on ebay from a fellow forum member, only have Paypal transaction print outs)

Caparison Dellinger (bought from a friend in Spain, have original factory papers, accessories and case - can only prove ownership and place of purchase through bank transfer print out)


So, what do you guys think? I am worried that they may hold my stuff and have me run around for papers and whatever...

I only need one guitar to bring as a carry on.

Any input on this would be nice.

Thanks a lot!
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Unread 07-13-2012, 07:16 AM   #2
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My advice would be to fill out a commercial invoice for whatever stuff you're bringing with you to the US. You can find them online. You have to itemize everything you bring on the invoice and show country of origin (where it was made), value of every item, reasons for import and be as detailed as possible. Having the correct paperwork is you're only protection. That's a start anyway.
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Unread 07-13-2012, 08:10 AM   #3
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When I bring my gear into the USA I bring a piece of paper with the item and the serial number on it. The border patrol on your side will either stamp this piece of paper or give you a stamped slip with the info printed on it.

It gives you documentation to prove you entered the country with this stuff and when you exit it proves you did not buy it while visiting.
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Unread 07-13-2012, 08:17 AM   #4
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I just crossed in both directions (via the border crossing at Thousand Islands/Alexandria Bay) 2 weeks ago, with my cheap acoustic visibly sitting in my car's passenger seat, and neither country asked me anything about it. Granted, I was only visiting Canada, but it never even occurred to me that the stuff I brought along would be an issue. I've crossed there (in both directions) 3 times so far, and in terms of possessions, they only ever ask me if I have A) perishable fruits/vegetables/plants, B) alcohol, C) tobacco, or D) firearms. Maybe it's just that crossing, but it's never taken me more than 10-15 minutes to get through, including waiting for all the cars in front of me.

Granted, I expect they will react a little differently when you're coming through with a moving truck.

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Unread 07-13-2012, 12:14 PM   #5
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Hi! Thank you for the replies so far. I will be flying in from Europe. Usually I have travelled back and forth with my guitars without any need to declare or register anything. But since the laws change over time I am afraid that this time it may be diffferent.

Would you say that having the store/purchase receits and specs of the guitars, plus some paperwork (in some cases) would be enough? I don't want my guitar to get confiscated.

I am particularly afraid to bring the mayones, for example. I have no paperwork for this guitar other than my paypal invoice and ebay sellers info to demonstrate I bought it here in Europe. Still, aparently these guitars are made with woods that the customs have been keen to supervise in the past.
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Unread 07-13-2012, 12:53 PM   #6
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if you have a green card, you have nothing to worry about dude!
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Unread 07-13-2012, 01:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synrgy View Post
I just crossed in both directions (via the border crossing at Thousand Islands/Alexandria Bay) 2 weeks ago, with my cheap acoustic visibly sitting in my car's passenger seat, and neither country asked me anything about it. Granted, I was only visiting Canada, but it never even occurred to me that the stuff I brought along would be an issue. I've crossed there (in both directions) 3 times so far, and in terms of possessions, they only ever ask me if I have A) perishable fruits/vegetables/plants, B) alcohol, C) tobacco, or D) firearms. Maybe it's just that crossing, but it's never taken me more than 10-15 minutes to get through, including waiting for all the cars in front of me.

Granted, I expect they will react a little differently when you're coming through with a moving truck.
Flying is definitely different, but I have done the same as you. I go to the U.S. a few times every year and almost always bring my guitar. Never have I said anything about it, nor has border patrol, even when it has been visible. I usually go through Vermont and it seems like the same situation for both of us. Usually a very easy border crossing.
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Unread 07-14-2012, 01:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob123 View Post
if you have a green card, you have nothing to worry about dude!
I have my visa for now. The green card should arrive once I am installed with my wife.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinMTL View Post
Flying is definitely different, but I have done the same as you. I go to the U.S. a few times every year and almost always bring my guitar. Never have I said anything about it, nor has border patrol, even when it has been visible. I usually go through Vermont and it seems like the same situation for both of us. Usually a very easy border crossing.
That's what I tought and what I have been doing. But after reading a few cases of guitars that got held by customs, specifically a Mayones (one like mine), I have been having thoughts about this.

I think if I bring it as a carry on and have receits that prove it's mine and where I bought it from there should be no problems at all.

Right?
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Unread 07-23-2012, 11:21 AM   #9
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Ok! Nothing to worry! These people were more concerned about registering me than checking my luggage. They just scanned and asked if I had any food or soil with me. Apart from that everything went smooth.

Thanks a lot to everybody who helped me with their advise!
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Unread 07-23-2012, 11:35 AM   #10
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if you are moving TO the US there shouldn't be a problem with your guitars or gear. if you were visiting and leaving with stuff you bought there, maybe. if you move there and visit elsewhere and buy gear and bring it back, there should be an issue

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Unread 07-23-2012, 11:59 AM   #11
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What guitar did you bring`?
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Unread 07-29-2012, 08:10 PM   #12
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Took mY Mayones Setius GTM7 with me. All is good. I was just freaking out becasue I was moving here and wanted to go through inmigration as easy as possible since my connection flight was so little after my arrival. But in the end I just travellled as usual. One guitar only, this time secured in a double hard case and checked in as additional suitcase. No problems whatsoever. They were more concerned about what I may carry in my suitcase than the actual guitar.

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