View Full Version : Personal US alcohol case import procedure

06-03-2009, 08:23
Hello all,

I’m trying to find a good guide on the process of brining back a case of alcohol back via. Checked baggage for personal use.

The process seems to be that you must file paperwork with the airlines, US Customs and the port of entry and pay additional fees to each. The issue is that there are no clear cut guidelines for any of this and it seems the left hand does not know what the right is doing. For example, I contacted the port of NY and they referred me to US Customs.

I’m just trying to figure out if it’s worth the hassle to try to bring back say 6-12 bottles of 4 Roses Super Premium and some Japanese whisky or if it’s just too risky and that I may risk losing it all along the way.

06-03-2009, 08:45
Airlines have limits as to how much alcohol you can bring back in checked luggage. 5 liters. about 6 bottles. Per person.

Last time i flew overseas the airline gave you a card to fill out declaring anything you brought back...you handed that to customs (the classic "Do you have anything to declare" line) and then they either tossed it aside or made you pay duty.

06-03-2009, 09:33
Thanks Timothy, that makes sense.

I've just never brought back more than one or two purchased at Duty Free.

06-03-2009, 13:10
As Timothy indicated, one reason that nothing is definite is that there are several players each with their own rules and it's never clear if one player is concerned about the other's rules.

Obviously you must first meet any airline requirements. To be honest, I've never had any issues here either with checked liquor or carry on. Remeber that if you buy at airport duty free you normally carry it on the plane, however if you have another flight after clearing customs, it will have to go into checked luggage. I frequently take an extra suitcase just for bringing back items.

Then you must clear customs and this is where while they have the authority to become a roadblock (e.g. They are allowed to enforce state import rules, they can stop "commercial" import activity, etc), I have never encountered a problem. My largest return purchase was 9 bottles of spirts and 12 bottles of wine for the 2 of us and have never had any issues. We were sent to the "need to pay" line initially with the above purchase, but since it was largely wine we were sent on our way since, at that time, duties were based on alcohol %. The main thing is to make sure you declare anything on your slip, failure to declare upsets customs and can cause loss of items or fines significantly higher than any potential duty.


06-03-2009, 13:35
Good advice Tom.

All I need now is one of these:


06-11-2009, 18:39
Very cool find. It would have to be high dollar bottles to justify $350.00 though. I usually just wrap bottles in t-shirts and hope for the best:grin:.