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United States

Capital: Washington, D. C.
Population: 318,719,000 (2014)
Area: 3,717,813 square miles
Top 5 Largest Cities: 1. New York City 2. Los Angeles 3. Chicago 4. Dallas-Forth Worth 5. Houston
Lanuage: English
Climate: Mostly every type of climate
Motto: “In God we trust”

Importing household goods into the United States of America differs from many countries. The process could be a challenge, but Nationwide Van Lines LLC will assure this to be an easy performance. Our highly knowledgeable staff will walk you through every detail of successfully moving your furniture here to the U.S. Below, you will find the knowledge needed to help familiarize yourself and also to help prepare you for your furniture move in regards of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Please remember, we are always happy to assist you with your questions and concerns to keep you in the know.

Required Documents for Import

Once your shipment of household goods has arrived to the United States, all entry documents will be filed by your importer of record. Nationwide Van Lines LLC will appoint a licensed Customs agent as your importer of record to complete your filing of documents and statistical information concerning the entrance of your goods. We will provide you classification of goods that are not permitted to avoid any custom entrance issues or non-acceptance. If you choose to act as your importer of records, please be advised that you have within 15 calendar days to fulfill documentation at the specified location given by the port director. You must provide a valid and clear passport photo and a copy of your visa. Be prepared to fill out the following documents or have the following documents at hand:

Import Declaration – A document stating the household goods being shipped.

Customs Value Declaration – A document used to calculate duties and taxes that states the value of the entire household shipment.

Entry Manifest (CBP Form 7533) - For more information regarding your entry manifest, please visit

Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles (CFR – 3299) - For more information regarding your declaration for free entry entry of unaccompanied articles, please visit

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Declaration (Form 6059B) - For more information regarding your U.S. customs and border protection declaration, please visit

Application and Special permit for Immediate Delivery (CBP Form 3461) - For more information regarding your application and Special permit for Immediate Delivery, please visit

Evidence of right to make entry - For more information regarding your evidence of right to make entry, please visit;node=19%3A2.

Entry summary for consumption form - For more information regarding your entry summary for consumption form, please visit

Estimated duties – For more information regarding your estimated duties, please visit

Entry Summary - For more information regarding your entry summary, please visit

Entry Summary Documentation - For more information regarding your entry summary documentation, please visit

The following personal documents are required by Customs

  • Copy of Visa for non-US citizens and permanent residents
  • Copy of Permanent Resident Card
  • Passport
  • Original Bill of Lading
  • Inventory list of items in English
  • Form DS – 1504 for Diplomats
  • I-94 Stamp or Card
  • Power of attorney
  • Food Questionnaire for Hawaii
  • CBP Form 7501 (Customs Entry Summary)
  • Work permit
  • Import Security Filing (ISF)

Additional detailed document requirements

  • All HHGS will be examined at the discretion of Customs.
  • On your Inventory List, do not indicate “Packed By Owner” (PBO) or any miscellaneous descriptions.
  • Your length of stay admitted into the United States will be identified by your I-94 arrival stamp or card.
  • To have your items deemed duty-free, you must obtain a long-term Visa that’s not at B-1 or B-2 status. Only personal effects can be shipped on a short-term Visa.
  • If you are a foreign Diplomat with an A-1 Visa, a broker is not able to clear Customs on CF – 3299 entries.
  • If you are a foreign Diplomat with an A-1 Visa, you must be processed by the Department of State on your DS – 1504 form. You will submit this information to the Department of State by the Consulate or the Embassy of the Diplomat no less than 10 days prior to the arrival of your HHGS.
  • Be prepared to incur other costly examinations ranging from $200.00 USD to $1,700.00 USD or more on Full Container Load shipments.
  • For Hawaii, your HHGS must be at use for personal usage for a year or more, non-continuous, without an intent to sale.
  • For Hawaii, HHGS shipments from the 49 United States does not fall under the U.S. Customs guidelines.
  • Most of your HHGS that are used for less than a year will be charged duties. These items must be identified on the back part of the Customs Form 3299 showing the value you pain in USD, country of origin, the quantity and the material of make.
  • Only used HHGS and personal effects may be imported into the United States under Informal Entry (goods valued $2,500 USD or less)
  • HHGS going to Hawaii containing anything that is at use outdoors has a high chance of being examined by Customs for sanitary reasons. Items must be cleaned and free of any dirt, bacteria and insects.
  • Your ISF must be filed prior to your HHGS and personal effects set out to sail to avoid any penalties.
  • To have your HHGS and personal effects deemed duty-free, you must have used your goods for at least 1 year in the residing origin country.

The Examination of Household Goods and Entry Documents

Once your household goods have arrived here in the United States along with your documents, both are subjected to examination by Customs. A CBP officer will examine your household goods to determine the value, correct markings, proper invoicing, the existence of prohibited items, damages, deterioration and illegal narcotics. It’s important to assure all items are properly described and accounted for to avoid any delays or seizure of items. Once your items are approved for release, they are safeguarded by the proper officers.

Duty and Taxes

All goods are due to duty or duty-free entry once imported into the United States. One aspect of the charges will be based on its classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ( Once deemed dutiable, goods are charge a rate or rates, a percentage of its value. A specific rate may be also applied based on the quantity. Duty rates span from 0 – 20% and a Customs tariff of 3%, the least in the world.

Requirements for Marking and Labeling

The correct labeling and markings are very important for Customs. Each mark and label should be in the English language. Please take a look below to discover the marking and labeling requirements.

  • The name and address of the importer
  • The country of Origin
  • Clearly numbered in reflection of the inventory list
  • The quantity

Prohibited Items

Not every item can pass through Customs in Canada. To avoid any delays and extra charges, please refer to the list of restricted items below.

  • Any articles from Cuba, Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, Iraq, Sudan and Serbia
  • Counterfeit Items
  • Any product containing cat or dog fur
  • Absinthe or anything containing an excess amount of Artemisia Absinthium
  • Some Vegetables
  • Some Fruits
  • Skins of animals
  • Any drums made of Haitian animal hide
  • Cuban Cigars
  • Meat and its products
  • Items of trademarks, copyrights, trade names and patent under the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
  • Controlled drugs and narcotics
  • Drug paraphernalia without prescription
  • Textiles
  • Tuna
  • Blank tapes and CD’s from Iran
  • Items that are produced in the Myanmar
  • Cigarettes
  • Clothing
  • Items that are produced in Iran
  • Jute and burlap bagging from or passing through countries that contain the Khapra Beetle

Restricted Items

Some items are permitted and restricted to quantity, but still requires either special authorization and/or duties to be paid. Here is a list below of Restricted Items.

  • Fish
  • Wildlife
  • Endangered Species and their physical parts
  • Game/Hunting Trophies
  • Ivory may require a permit
  • Goods from an embargoed country requires a license from the Office of Foreign Assests Control
  • Antiques, artifacts, carpets and paintings must have a Purchase Invoice and a detailed Inventory List. Must be at least 100 years old to be deemed as an antique and recently purchased antiques must have a circa date on your invoice. Carpets from Iran must be used for no less than a year and part of your HHGS shipment. Artifacts must be checked with your US agent and the country of export.
  • Skins of animals may require a permit
  • Shells may require a permit
  • Swords
  • Soil must have an Import Permit
  • For Hawaii, biological materials that’s of public health or veterinary importance requires an Import Permit
  • Feathers may require a permit
  • Electronic Cigarettes and the flavors used for the electronic cigarette requires an International Special Commodities (ISC) contract for import
  • For Hawaii, packing materials made of wood and materials from China must be fumigated and verified through documentation.
  • Contact lenses and cosmetics need clearance by the Food and Drug Administration
  • Gold coins, bullions and medals not from Cuba, Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, Iraq, Sudan and Serbia originally
  • CD players requires approval by the Food and Drug Administration
  • Microwave requires approval by the Food and Drug Administration
  • Guns must be previously owned and exported from the U.S.
  • Weapons will need to be registered with Customs before they are exported from the U.S.
  • Weapons bought overseas must be imported using the Federal Firearms permit. Sometimes Customs make exceptions for non-residences to apply with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) 6 weeks prior to the arrival of your HHGS.
  • Televisions using cathode ray tubes require clearance through the Food and Drug Administration
  • Plants and seeds requires an Import Permit and a Plant and Plant Product Declaration Form
  • For Hawaii, Plants and seeds requires an Import Permit and a PPQ Form 505 (Plant and Plant Product Declaration)
  • For alcohol, each states has its own restrictions and needed documents for import. You must detail the alcohol’s information in your Inventory list. If going to Hawaii, you must apply for a Liquor Permit with the City and County of Honolulu Liquor Commission on Oahu. You must be there in person with permit at hand to clear Customs. You also will need a Permit C (Household Goods Permit)
  • Food items are not recommended for shipping
  • Computers and laptops containing CD/DVD drives must have clearance from the Food and Drug Administration
  • If moving to Hawaii, inherited goods are duty-free if the item is over 100 years old and documented and were in use in your residence for 1 year prior to entering the U.S.
  • Medication requires clearance through the Food and Drug Administration

Receiving your Household Goods

The liability for duties are paid once Customs has cleared your shipment for release. There are no options of prepaid duties or taxes prior to exportation from a foreign country. Once your shipment is filed with CBP, the party and only the party listed as the receiver can pick up the shipment. If household goods are warehoused, the party of liability can be changed to another party, most whom purchased the goods. The Customs broker cannot pay duties, but can accept a check written out to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to forward. Once items are received, all articles are deemed owned by the receiver and no longer in ownership of the CBP.

For more information regarding moving to Germany, please visit:

U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW,
Washington, DC 20229
1 (877) 227 - 5511

All information featured above is for viewing purposes only. To obtain up-to-date information about overseas shipment, please notify your nearest Consulate.