View Full Version : Bringing alcohol into the US

04-07-2008, 02:24
Does anyone know the quantity of alcohol allowed into the United States and what charges would have to be paid for going over the said quantity??

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


04-07-2008, 04:16
The rules can vary, depending on which state you are flying in to or where the shipment is arriving. Do a google search on " us customs alcohol import" and look for links to articles on ttb.gov sites.

I can't post links from my handheld.

04-07-2008, 06:23
The standard duty free exemption is 1 liter per person 21 or over. If you are returning from certain countries in the Carribean Basin, that increases to 2 liters (one liter must be from that country). Also if you are returning from an US Insular Territory (e.g. St. Thomas) that increases to 5 liters.

If you go over these amounts you are subject to duty, however that cost is normally insgnificant either because of the potential savings (don't assume everything in duty free is cheaper - know your prices before you go) or because the product is unavailable in the US. Also, US Customs frequently will waive the duty on excess purchases if the amount is not worth processing. I frequently bring back 2-3 bottles over allowance and have never been charged anything, the important thing is to declare everything on your customs declaration. If you don't and it is discovered it is subject to loss.

As Callmeox said, US Customs can enforce state laws, but I have never had any issues with this.


04-07-2008, 07:18
I can't remember the duty rate for going over but as stated, it's not that much. I brought back 20+ bottles from a trip to the Carribean and they didn't charge me any duty. I didn't hide it, I claimed everything on the form but for some reason the Customs official didn't care.

04-07-2008, 09:40
Don't know about Australia, but when my wife and I return from Scotland, they always ask us "Have you been on a farm or pasture while in GB?" We always declare the number of liters that we have in our luggage (as high as 23 one time). When we say yes to the pasture question, they always send us to agriculture and have our bags and shoes scanned with infrared (or something). Agriculture sends us through the gate, not back to customs. Maybe we're just lucky! They're probably still scared of mad cow disease. Now that I've said this, I'll probably get the third degree when I come back this year.


04-07-2008, 15:14
I think I read on a US Customs web site somewhere that it was 1 litre per person.

For myself, I don't know what state we clear customs in as I'm a bit confused by our flight details. We are on the one flight number from Sydney to NYC. The plane lands in LA to re-fuel, and we have a two hour stop over. We've had two different reports from the airline - the first says we clear customs at our first port of call (LA). The other says we stay in a 'transit' lounge and don't clear customs until we reboard and land in NY.

04-07-2008, 15:29
I was asking to see how much alcohol I can smuggle in your bags!!:lol:

BTW - is your suitcase big enough to fit a 6'8" male that isn't very flexible?:skep:


04-07-2008, 16:08
BTW - is your suitcase big enough to fit a 6'8" male that isn't very flexible?:skep:

If we join the two suitcases together, we might just be able to :slappin:
It'll get a bit cold though. And we'd have to let Jen take us shopping in New York to buy clothes once we got there:bigeyes: :skep:

04-16-2008, 16:57
When I returned from Australia with a first stop at LAX, we went through customs at LAX, not later at ORD. Come to think of it, though, we stopped first in Honolulu (the night before we left!) and didn't go through customs there.

I think the agricultural thing with the UK is hoof and mouth, not BSE.

04-16-2008, 21:14
I think the agricultural thing with the UK is hoof and mouth, not BSE.

BSE=Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis, the fancy term for Mad Cow, because the brain develops sponge-like holes. So it's not good to have a brain like a sponge in this case!:slappin:

Anyway, back to the point of the thread, you have to go by the laws of the state you clear customs in. Coming back from Mexico last month I had just under 4 liters of tequila; I was under the impression that the limit is 2L per person. I figured I'd be honest and just pay the 10% or so duty tax. However, we had a stop in Dallas en route to Chicago and cleared customs there, where I was told that Texas "wants you to buy your alcohol in Texas" and the limit is 1L. He said they usually pour out the excess. Long story short, he let me through with all of it and no duty. 2 bottles were from the duty free store in Mexico; one disadvantage of not flying non-stop is that after customs you have to pack the liquor in your luggage since you can't (re)clear security with it. Don't forget that anyone over 21 is entitled to the limit; my wife wasn't with me.

I found it pretty difficult to find accurate, easy to understand customs info on a state by state basis on the internet. If anyone finds it, they should post links.

04-17-2008, 16:45
I also read some where that you can be over on one item, say alcohol, if you dont have the max of another, say cigarettes.

04-17-2008, 16:53
Some states also collect sales tax on any alcohol that i brought in from another country!