Yes, I know the quote was from the F&WS page. I said that tongue in cheek. Sort of. I would print it out with the web page address visible just in case I came across someone from F&WS who hadn’t read that page. The officer on duty has a lot of latitude and I’m not sure that all of them are up to date on every type of situation.andreas777 wrote: ↑Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:58 pmThe statement is taken from the official FWS PDF that zavaletas posted above.
In my view this is strange. Assume I commission a guitar at a luthier in the US and two years later that luthier sends the guitar to me in Germany. Then this is treated as a commercial activity, but if I fly to the US and take the guitar back in the aircraft then this is treated as a noncommercial activity because the sale took place within the US.
However, the main point is that if something is shipped from the US to another country, it is considered export / import and because shipping forwarders must fill out the bill of lading with the harmonized tariff code, it is “commercial “.
If you go to the US and buy a guitar, play it in your hotel room, then board a plane for home and carry it aboard as personal property, then US Customs doesn’t care. All the best to you for supporting our economy by visiting and buying stuff to take home. Move along...nothing to see here... There are no outgoing Customs checkpoints for regular commercial flights. Only if you are suspected of doing something illegal and they have received information about it would you be stopped.
Your home country might charge duty on it, though. If the reverse happened and I came to Europe, bought a guitar and carried it with me, I doubt I would be bothered by Customs in Europe as I left. When I arrived in the US, unless I had been stationed overseas for two years with that guitar in my possession, it is considered dutiable goods. Depending on the item, any duty due in excess of my yearly allowance would need to be paid. If the item was prohibited or needed CITES paperwork and I didn’t have it, it would be confiscated or impounded. If I did not declare it, then the guitar could be confiscated and I might well be be fined. All of these rules and what is prohibited and what is not are spelled out in a brochure labeled “Before You Go”, published by the Customs Service and given to international travelers or is available online or at International airports.
Most commercial exports are not performed by civilian courier on commercial flights.