I am travelling on behalf of my company from Mumbai to New York & we are looking to take phone stands as gifts for our customers. Will TSA have a problem with this? Is there a max quantity I should be limiting myself to?

  • How many are you proposing to take?
    – Traveller
    Commented May 27 at 7:38
  • 7
    As you are travelling from India to the US TSA will not be involved, they can only perform checks on passengers and luggage departing from the US. It would be India’s equivalent who would be involved, but I see no reason for them to have any issue. The Customs part of CBP may have an issue with it, though it depends on quantities and total value.
    – jcaron
    Commented May 27 at 8:10
  • 1
    nit: TSA will be involved if you have a connection, since all arriving international passengers are re-screened after clearing immigration & customs if traveling onward.
    – josh3736
    Commented May 28 at 9:42

1 Answer 1


TSA check persons and luggage departing from a US airport for security purposes.

So no, they won't be involved anywhere on a Mumbai-New York flight.

It will be the local Indian equivalent who will check your luggage (and you). If by phone stands you mean some passive device (probably made mostly of plastic and/or metal) which is just used to hold up the phone, then I don't see any reason they would have any issue with them.

If your phone stand is more than that, then it depends on exactly what. For instance if it includes a battery (i.e. acts as a power bank), then there may be issues depending on the number. Other types of "active" phone stands (e.g. with induction charging) should not be an issue for security purposes.

When you arrive in the US, you will however go through Customs (part of CBP), after you have gone through passport control and reclaimed your luggage.

Before you get there, you will have to fill in a Customs Declaration, form 6059B. I believe you can fill the form on the kiosks or via an app nowadays.

  • You will have to tick the "Yes" answer to the "I have (We have) commercial merchandise" question. The form defines commercial merchandise as "(articles for sale, samples used for soliciting orders, or goods that are not considered personal effects)".
  • You will have to enter the value of the items next to "VISITORS—the total value of all articles that will remain in the U.S., including commercial merchandise is". As explained overleaf, "For gifts, please indicate the retail value".
  • You will have to enter the description and value at the bottom of the second page.

As explained on the second page of the form:

CBP officers will determine duty. (...) Visitors (non-residents) are normally entitled to an exemption of $100. Duty will be assessed at the current rate on the first $1,000 above the exemption.

Note that since those are commercial goods it's quite possible you don't qualify for the $100 exemption at all, but I haven't checked.

Duty rates usually vary anywhere between 0 and 6%, but there's a lot of variation. You can check rates in the HTSUS.

  • 9
    @MikeM the form further explains "(articles for sale, samples used for soliciting orders, or goods that are not considered personal effects)", so I would posit that they are commercial merchandise. Maybe the customs officer will just ignore them and wave OP through, but better err on the side of caution (especially as we have no idea how many OP intends to bring, or their actual value). But in general, anything brought in multiples and not obviously used and/or personal effects (e.g. 10 pairs of socks) will be deemed commercial merchandise.
    – jcaron
    Commented May 28 at 11:26
  • 1
    @MikeM the alternative is to buy swag in the US for distribution in the US that was commercially imported and therefore has had any import tariff paid. In theory, you shouldn't be able to avoid paying the tariff (if any) by carrying it in like this. As noted, it's quite possible that customs would decline to collect the tariff due, especially if it is small, but willful or negligent failure to declare is a felony and also exposes the traveler to potential civil penalties. Gifts for your family and friends are personal. Gifts carried on behalf of your employer for its employees are not.
    – phoog
    Commented May 28 at 16:11
  • 1
    Furthermore, everything must be declared, even if it is subject to the exemption. If you have an $800 exemption and return with a $600 item, you are supposed to declare it, even though it is clearly below the exemption limit, whereupon they say "welcome home."
    – phoog
    Commented May 28 at 16:16
  • 2
    @phoog To clarify, only items that visitors intend to leave in the US, or items that residents bought abroad to bring to the US should be declared. Personal effects that visitors will take back with them, or that US residents brought abroad and back, should not be listed.
    – jcaron
    Commented May 28 at 16:35
  • 1
    @jcaron indeed, thank you for clarifying. I should have said "everything you as a visitor plan to leave in the US," and I probably should not have used the residents' $800 exemption in the example. A better example might have been a $20 box of chocolate being brought as a gift for a friend you're staying with, which is clearly below the $100 limit and yet must be declared.
    – phoog
    Commented May 29 at 14:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .