Moving to the US. Border Customs and my guitars.

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by neurosis, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. neurosis

    neurosis SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
    Location:
    FairfaxVirginia
    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!
     
  2. Mayhew

    Mayhew SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    17
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    Ottawa
    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.
     
    neurosis likes this.
  3. RV350ALSCYTHE

    RV350ALSCYTHE SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,004
    Likes Received:
    77
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2012
    Location:
    Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario/Michigan
    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.
     
    neurosis likes this.
  4. synrgy

    synrgy Ya ya ya I am Lorde

    Messages:
    6,314
    Likes Received:
    1,120
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    Frederick, MD
    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. ;)
     
    neurosis likes this.
  5. neurosis

    neurosis SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
    Location:
    FairfaxVirginia
    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.
     
  6. bob123

    bob123 Banned

    Messages:
    2,673
    Likes Received:
    434
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    Location:
    Michigan
    if you have a green card, you have nothing to worry about dude! :hbang:
     
    neurosis likes this.
  7. MartinMTL

    MartinMTL SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    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.
     
    neurosis likes this.
  8. neurosis

    neurosis SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
    Location:
    FairfaxVirginia
    I have my visa for now. The green card should arrive once I am installed with my wife.

    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?
     
  9. neurosis

    neurosis SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
    Location:
    FairfaxVirginia
    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!
     
  10. Sepultorture

    Sepultorture Murder Machine

    Messages:
    5,022
    Likes Received:
    181
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Location:
    Oshawa, ON, Canada
    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
     
  11. Maggai

    Maggai Slayer of the gods

    Messages:
    558
    Likes Received:
    103
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Location:
    Norway
    What guitar did you bring`?
     
  12. neurosis

    neurosis SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    984
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
    Location:
    FairfaxVirginia
    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.

    :)
     

Share This Page