I know I have to declare my newly purchased laptop from San Francisco when I land in Paris. Do I have to declare it when I am at the airport of San Francisco as well? Or can I declare it while being on the airport of San Francisco only?

  • @KateGregory I am thinking of buying a new laptop in SF. – gsamaras Aug 24 '16 at 17:49
  • This may be a duplicate of travel.stackexchange.com/questions/49773 – Giorgio Aug 24 '16 at 17:53
  • In most US airports, most of the time, you have to remove your laptop from your bag for the x-ray machine at airport security. There's no customs screening on departure. – phoog Aug 24 '16 at 17:54
  • 1
  • 1
    No it's not a dupe of that, since the dupe says that when you land in Paris, then you declare it in the customs. I am asking whether I should declare it in San Francisco's customs too... – gsamaras Aug 24 '16 at 18:00

There is no exit customs for ordinary travelers in the USA. The only reason I know of (and it does not apply here) is if you had a high-value object, like imported photographic equipment, on which duty is usually paid in the United States, and you want to register the serial number with Customs so that on return to the United States there is no issue about paying duty on it again.


Customs is generally about the importation of goods— barring illegal items and assessing duties on legal but taxable ones.

The U.S. has no formal exit controls, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not perform any standard outbound inspection of airline passengers departing the U.S. Even if you had something to declare, you would have no place to declare it.

The airline will care insofar as they need to know if anything you have cannot legally be taken aboard an aircraft (e.g. weapons, fire starters), but a laptop is not much of a concern.

Yes, it is illegal to take many things out of the country— say, eagle feathers, or some cryptographic technology, or things controlled by international treaty like counterfeit products or drugs. But the list of those items is not large enough, nor the likelihood of a random passenger carrying them, to justify the resources needed for passenger-level inspections from the U.S. Instead, the authorities will X-ray or hand-inspect checked luggage, and only interact with you if there is a suspicion of wrongdoing.

Besides, even if you bought the laptop new in San Francisco, it was probably imported from Taiwan or South Korea in the first place.

  • 1
    Since the page you link to concerning cryptographic export restrictions also concerns Windows 2000, I suspect it does not reflect the current state of affairs. – phoog Aug 24 '16 at 18:24
  • @phoog Fair enough, just linked to the EAR directly. – choster Aug 24 '16 at 18:26
  • So you agree with Lazarus, good! – gsamaras Aug 24 '16 at 18:44
  • @gsamaras Yes, but I am leaving the answer up as we cover slightly different background. – choster Aug 24 '16 at 19:33
  • Not that an X-ray would help discover cryptographic technology. – user253751 Aug 25 '16 at 5:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.