When entering the US, there is a question (11d) on Customs Declaration about bringing soil with me. Does a beach sand count as a soil? Can I still bring it? Do I have to declare it?

This is a different question from this one because I don't need to have it in a carry-on and I want to bring it from outside the US. The other question is about bringing a sand with you on board the plane within the US and addressing concerns regarding TSA. My question is about importing the sand to the US Travelling with beach sand in carry-on

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  • I maintain it is the same as the other question - it doesn't matter whether it's in carry on or not really, it's about customs which both your checked and carry on luggage go through
    – Mark Mayo
    Aug 27 '15 at 22:29
  • This is a different question as explained in the question and it doesn't have answer in the other one.
    – Cano64
    Aug 28 '15 at 15:24

Just the fact that you say "yes" to one of those questions doesn't mean you will not be allowed in, your item will be confiscated, you will be fined, or anything bad at all will happen. It means the person you hand your card to will ask you some questions.

You can mark yes, circle the word "soil" and then write "beach sand" on the card. For example entering the US last week I marked yes to item a, food, and wrote "coffee beans, candy" on the card. Typically they ask you a few questions and if the item is allowed in, you're on your way. If it's not that clearcut they may ask you more questions, or look at the item, or search your luggage.

I do not know the official position on sand, but since many people have sandy shoes, clothes, towels and so on, I would suggest that if they cared they would have a question about being on a beach just as they have one about being on a farm (many other countries ask if you have been in a forest.) But as long as you declare it, you should be fine, at worst they will take it from you. That's the same as you leaving it behind, so I suggest you bring it and declare it.

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