Im asking this question on behalf of a friend who is travelling to the UK from Brazil. While here they are considering purchasing some electronics, like an iPad or a VR headset, as the prices are much cheaper there

They are unsure what the process for bringing it into Brazil would be on the way home. If the product boxes are open, and they are being brought in for personal use only, is it necessary to declare them?

And if so, how do they prove that certain items, like their mobile phone, was something they already had before they left?

  • They can prove the mobile phone was taken with them from its message history. Apr 27 at 18:51
  • @WeatherVane That's true, though what about other devices like an iPad or laptop? They're not planning on smuggling things in, but their own personal devices, combined with additional items that are close to the allowance limit, would push the total over the allowance limit
    – Wazbat
    Apr 27 at 19:08
  • 1
    I suggest you look up the Brazil import rules. I was just saying that it should be easy to show from call & message history that you already had something when you began the trip. Apr 27 at 19:11
  • @WeatherVane Yeah that's what I've been trying to figure out but I'm not from Brazil and don't quite understand them. Just wondering if anyone else from experience has traveled out of brazil, purchased something like an iPad, then traveled back, and how customs went or if they bother to check
    – Wazbat
    Apr 27 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


I see two relevant possibilities for a Brazilian citizen to bring goods bought outside the country in this specific case:

  1. Products for personal use are duty free as long as they where needed during the trip and are strictly for personal use (that is, not to be sold or being given as gifts). This official brazilian government page gives as an example: a photo camera, a watch and a cell phone as long as they show signs of being used during the trip to a foreign country.
  2. Besides that, Brazilian citizens can bring up to US$1,000 (one thousand american dollars) duty free when returning to Brazil, by air or sea. So it might be an option for some (perhaps all?) items that your friend intends to buy in the UK.

About your second question, how can your friend prove (s)he had something before leaving Brazil, the offically suggested way is to have a reputable document (such as a Brazilian invoice) of the product which is given when the product is bought. Showing history of calls (or something like that) is not guaranteed to be accepted (even though authorities have some discretion when deciding what will be considered a personal good). Anecdotally, people where buying stuff like laptops and loading the hard drive with an image of an operational system with lots of (old) files, as a way to "prove" it was previously owned.

There was a time when you could show up in the Receita Federal (the government service that is responsible for taxes, sort of like IRS in the USA) and present your goods before departing. They would give you a document stating that you had such items before departing, but this is not happening anymore.

Just for the sake of completeness, here is a link for the official "traveler guide" for Brazilian citizens. It states all the currently valid rules and exemptions one might use. You friend better read it carefully so he knows all the details.

  • It's incorrect to say that history of calls will not be accepted as proof of early possession, or that the only accepted proof is an invoice. An invoice will certainly help, but the authorities have some discretion when deciding what will be considered a personal good. For example, It's not unusual for them to ask for pictures of the product that have been taken before the trip. If an electronic device shows signs of usage, and it's a common device to take on a trip, this is probably enough.
    – sourcream
    Apr 28 at 17:42
  • Officially the Receita Federal suggests to have a reputable document such as an invoice,but it is possible that a border officer might accept other evidences such as a history of calls. I tend to stay on the safer side, so would always bring an invoice with me in such cases. Anyway I edited my answer and softened some parts of it, hope it's better now.
    – gmauch
    Apr 28 at 18:57
  • Nowadays, a history of calls or text messages does not prove anything, as that can be shared or transferred between devices. No idea if they will accept it or not, though. But there are other evident signs one way (wear and tear, age of the device) or the other (brand new device not yet available in Brazil, box and papers in luggage, in some cases power adapter plugs…).
    – jcaron
    Apr 28 at 19:57

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