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December 13, 2013


Posted by Attorney Norka Schell
Law Offices of Norka M. Schell, LLC
Tel. (212)564-1589
Website: www.lawschell.com

While you are planning your holidays trip to another, here is some information on Duty-Free Exemption which you should remember.
Duty-Free Exemption also called the personal exemption, is the total value of merchandise you may bring back to the United States without having to pay duty. You may bring back more than your exemption, but you will have to pay duty on it. In most cases, the personal exemption is $800.00, but there are some exemptions to this rule.
Depending on the countries you visited, your personal exemption will be $200.00; $800.00; or $1,600.00.  There are limits on the amount of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products you may include in your duty-free personal exemption.  
Duty-Free Exemptions ($200.00; $800.00; $1,600.00) apply if (a) the items are for personal or household use or intend to be given as gifts; (b) they are in your possession, that is, they accompany you when you return to the United States. Items to be sent later may not be included in your $800.00 duty-free exemption; (c) they are declare to Customs Border Protection (CBP). If you do not declare something that should have been declared, you risk forfeiting it. In in doubt, declare it. (d) you have not used all of your exemption allowance, or used any part of it, in the past 30 days; (e) the items are not prohibited or restricted. Note the embargo prohibition on products from Cuba.
Final note. Family members who live in the same home and return together to the United States may combine their personal exemptions. Children and infants are allowed  the same exemption as adults, except for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.  


Posted by Attorney Norka Scheell
Law Offices of Norka M Schell, LLC
Phone: (212)564-1589
Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen

Most children born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents acquire U.S. citizenship at birth.  As soon as possible after the birth, the U.S. citizen parent should contact the nearest U.S.  Embassy or Consulate.  If the consul determines that the child has acquired U.S. citizenship, a consular officer prepares a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (Form FS-240).  This document is recognized in the United States as proof of acquisition of U.S. citizenship, and it is acceptable evidence of citizenship for obtaining a passport, entering school, and most other purposes.  Failure to document a child promptly as a U.S. citizen may cause hardship for the parents or child later on when attempting to obtain a passport or register for school.