I will be coming to the US from a country where Indian pulses are very easily available. I am coming to US for studying and thus will not have a car. I plan to cook my own food, and since the Indian store is kind of far, I would love to bring the whole year's worth of supply to US. I have the weight and space, but I was concerned about the baggage check for Moong bean and "Tuwer" daal (Daal will be split). I know that they do not allow "fresh produce" but I do not know if my food will be considered in that category. Beans will be dried and packed (though not in a tin, but in airtight plastic).

  • Just to clarify - you plan to enter US by air and are wondering if pulses packed in plastic bags are OK as far as customs are concerned?
    – RedBaron
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 9:56
  • 5
    I couldn't find a definitive answer for the products you specify, but the guidance here suggests you should be OK. However, you do have to declare all food imports and it's possible that they could be refused, in which case you'd lose your year's supply. I can't help but think that a trip to the 'kind of far' supplier once you arrive would be less trouble and less risk.
    – user79658
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 10:46
  • Does the ‘kind of far’ supplier offer online purchase or home delivery etc.?
    – Traveller
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 15:08
  • @RedBaron yes for those specific pulses Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 18:59
  • 2
    You might consider a grocery delivery service such as GrubMarket or Amazon, to see if they offer delivery from the "kind of far" supplier to your home. Worst case, you could use Uber, Lyft, or similar service to go to the store and back. It might be cheaper than the fees to check bags containing a year's worth.
    – jetset
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 19:41

1 Answer 1


I advise against bringing in pulses from home.

Air luggage restrictions
First of all, you can not bring enough for a whole year without going over the luggage limits and that is besides whatever else you need. You claim to have the space and weight, but you will find that a years worth of pulses will take more than one suitcase. Bringing just as much as you can fit into your case without going overweight will not last you a year if you eat them regularly.

Maybe yes, but not much
While some foodstuffs can be brought in, there are a lot of restrictions, specially on food that can be used to grow plants, as is the case of many pulses even when packaged for food use. You would have to declare to the customs officers and they might not allow the pulses in, not declaring them and having them found on inspection will result in fines.
Mostly there are restrictions which allow some 'personal use' items, but a years amount of a basic food will be well beyond what they expect for personal use.
Declaring food on entry into the USA will slow you down some at least, it may result in all your luggage to be checked in detail, slowing you a lot.

There are a lot of pulses which are common food in the USA, available at all supermarkets and if you want ones that are not as common in the area you will live, you can have them delivered from online shops, including the more common ones that sell about everything, but there will be 'Indian food' online shops as well.

Local experiences
Last of all, part of the joys of studying abroad is learning to know the local cuisine, and while you do not need to eat everything that is common where you live, you should at least be open to some of the more common alternatives to what you are used to at home.

In short:
In your case I would at most pack pulses for a single week, to get you started when you arrive and you will still have to declare those at customs on arriving in the USA, and buy locally for the rest of your stay. Personal imports will not be cheaper if you need to pay overweight luggage and you do run a big risk in the food not being allowed in, having it seized at the airport.

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