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Tips for Traveling Abroad-Customs and Import Restrictions

Tips for Traveling Abroad-Customs and Import Restrictions Featured Image
Tips for Traveling Abroad-Customs and Import Restrictions

Customs Restrictions of Foreign Destinations – What You Cannot Take to Other Countries

Many countries have restrictions on what may be brought into the country, including food, pets (see “Taking a Pet Overseas” under “Passports and Other Travel Documents,” below), and medications. Even over-the-counter medications may be prohibited in some countries. Check with the embassies of your destination countries as to prohibited items. A listing of foreign embassies and consulates in the U.S. is available on the Department of State’s website at Foreign embassy and consulate contact information can also be found on the Country Specific Information for each country.

U.S. Customs Restrictions – What You Cannot Bring Back With You

Some items may not be brought into the U.S., or may only be brought in under certain restrictions. For information on U.S. customs regulations and procedures, see the Customs and Border Protection booklet “Know Before You Go,” available at For further information, see on the same website.

There are special rules for products made from endangered wildlife. Many wildlife and wildlife products are prohibited either by U.S. or foreign laws from import into the United States, and you risk confiscation and a possible fine if you attempt to bring them into the U.S. when you return. Watch out for the following prohibited items:

  • All products made from sea turtles
  • All ivory, both Asian and African elephant, and rhinoceros
  • Furs from spotted cats
  • Furs from marine mammals
  • Feathers and feather products from wild birds
  • Most crocodile and caiman leather
  • Most coral, whether in chunks or in jewelry

You may import an object made of ivory if it is an antique. To be an antique the ivory must be at least 100 years old, and you will need documentation that authenticates the age of the ivory. You may import other antiques containing wildlife parts under the same conditions: they must be accompanied by documentation proving they are at least 100 years old. Certain other requirements for antiques may also apply.

For more information, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Law Enforcement, P.O. Box 3247, Arlington, VA 22203-3247, or call 800-358-2104,or visit


Copyright © 2012, U.S. Department of State