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I'm travelling to the US on business in a month or two. I'd like to bring some British chocolate as a gift for the people I'll be meeting.

As I understand it, pre-packaged, commercially-produced chocolate should be fine to bring in, provided I declare it on the CBP form.

My question is simply how much of a delay, if any, should I expect from doing this? Is it a simple case of showing the agent the food, or is it likely that I'd be sent for further inspection? I'm travelling with a colleague, so if it's likely I'd be held up for a while, I probably won't bring food at all.

  • Sorry, deleted my earlier answer because "Gifts intended for business, promotional or other commercial purposes may not be included in your duty-free exemption." per this. – The Photon Dec 13 '19 at 22:14
  • How much chocolate -- a few boxes, or hundreds of dollars worth? I have brought many boxes of chocolate into the US without any problems at all. – Mike Harris Dec 13 '19 at 22:56
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When you declare the chocolates you will likely be sent to agricultural inspection. However, at least at the time we typically arrive, this is very short. Your bags go through an x-ray, they may ask you to open some of them so they can look at anything the x-ray picked out as being of possible interest. I don't believe it has ever added even 10 minutes to the process.

We normally save a bit of hassle by ensuring everything that might draw the x-ray's eye is in one bag, this limits the amount of unpacking needed. In our experience the x-ray notes things which are organic in nature and have a density in the ballpark of water.

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    I have declared chocolate several times. I have never been sent to agricultural inspection. Yes, it's possible, but I would not say it's likely. – Doc Dec 15 '19 at 20:11
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[This assumes your business is not to sell chocolates]

You will need to list the chocolates you plan to gift on your customs declaration, with an estimated value, and if your total (with all other things you plan to leave in the US) is over the limit, you will have to pay customs duty, which will take some time.
If you are below the limits (about 400$, not sure what the latest value is), nobody cares, and you just walk by; delay is zero seconds.
However, you could always get picked for a random searching. From my experience, bringing chocolate doesn't affect this positively or negatively.

Packaged chocolates have no other limit (aside from your luggage weight limits), and count as 'food'. Note that liquor-filled chocolates are quite a different topic!

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  • The amount of alcohol in liquor-filled chocolates is so negligible (~8 ml/block) that even with harder liquors like vodka you would need a pallet of the stuff to exceed duty free limits. – lambshaanxy Dec 14 '19 at 0:57

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