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My girlfriend and I, who live in England, are going on holiday to US on 15th September. I've purchased an engagement ring in the UK (over £1000 in value) and want to propose on holiday. I will be travelling with the engagement ring in my carry-on, and have a receipt of purchase. I do not, however, have any insurance appraisal document, as it is not going to come on time before I leave.

Is there any other documents I need to bring or procedures I need to follow to prove this ring was bought in and will be returning with us to the UK after the holiday? Do I need to declare it somehow before entering the US? Is there a possibility I will be made to pay duty on it or have it confiscated to a hold? Thanks for any help.

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The US customs declaration form explicitly prompts visitors to declare only those items that will remain in the US. You therefore do not need to declare the ring.

If they search you, you'll ask them to do it in private (away from your girlfriend) and tell them that you're giving it to her and she's going to take it back to the UK. You won't be able to prove that, but they're unlikely to suspect you of lying. They're even more unlikely to search you in the first place: such searches are very rare.

It might be a good idea to bring the receipt showing how much you paid for the ring, in case things go very poorly and they decide to charge duty, but that possibility seems so remote that you are probably going to be fine if you don't bring it.

The receipt will also be useful in the (also unlikely) event you're challenged about the ring on return to the UK.

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  • Thankyou for the reassurance. Sep 5, 2019 at 14:17

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