I have a gift for a friend from the father, a new boxed iPhone 6 and I am travelling to USA. Can I bring it with me? Do I have to declare it and maybe pay custom duties?

Which is the right way to carry with me? Maybe I can put it in the hold luggage? What are the risks? Can they seize it?

I am an American citizen, I am not resident i am visitor, I am travelling back to work.

  • Are you asking for advice on how to avoid paying custom duties?
    – JoErNanO
    May 19, 2015 at 16:49
  • 1
    Of course you have to declare it. May 19, 2015 at 16:49
  • @JoErNanO No, I'd like to know which is the right way to carry it with me, if I have to declare it and if there are duties to pay at the Arrivals. By risks I mean if they can seizure it. May 19, 2015 at 16:59
  • @SpehroPefhany ok so, at my arrive I have to declare it in NY. May 19, 2015 at 17:00
  • Ok then please add this information in the question body. ;)
    – JoErNanO
    May 19, 2015 at 17:02

2 Answers 2


Yes, always declare. If you get caught with it and you don't declare it, you'll be marked as a "smuggler" and that will stay on your file for years. Every time you travel, they'll see that and you'll be more likely to be stopped. It happened to a few people I know. Also, if you want to apply for Nexus or Global Entry, you'll probably be denied.


Yes, you have to declare it. Here is the form. There is no ambiguity ("including gifts for someone else" or "will remain in the U.S." covers either situation of you being resident or not).

enter image description here

I'm not a customs broker (so E&OE), but the harmonized tariff code for iPhones appears to be 8517.12.0050, which would appear to be free of duty. Your friend may be liable to pay use tax to his U.S. state of residence, but individuals often fail to do that, unless it's for business use.

  • Please please please add a nicer screenshot. :)
    – JoErNanO
    May 19, 2015 at 17:08
  • @JoErNanO Got that from CBP website but I'm sure i can do better. May 19, 2015 at 17:15
  • Ok so, appear to be free of duty. The phone will be for personal use. May 19, 2015 at 17:37
  • @GiovanniBastianelli It's hard to claim personal use if you bring a sealed, boxed gift.
    – JoErNanO
    May 19, 2015 at 17:38
  • @JoErNanO well I don't really want to claim personal use because it is a gift I can't unbox it. I have my own cellphone so I would travel with two phones, one without plan.. May 19, 2015 at 17:46

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