I will be on a trip with my wife to the US and then head to EU for several weeks. My friends have already asked me to purchase or pick up items in the countries we visit. I'd love to do this for them, but don't want to be dealing with the baggage and items being checked at every destination.

Is there a way to certify that the items carried are risk-free, meaning no drugs, hazardous material or anything like that? Is there any service offered by a courier or some company?

How do "Air On Board Couriers" deal with this when transporting items for others, a form?

I don't want to be liable for anything that was bought and shipped to me in another country. What is the best way to certify that, whatever is there, I am no liable for?

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    Unless you are a diplomatic courier or a cargo company, you cannot "certify" that you are not liable for goods you are carrying. You are always liable to the customs authorities as an ordinary passenger. If you are being asked to buy souvenirs in a public shop, that doesn't seem so risky; you can check the contents yourself. If you're being asked to collect a mysterious item from a stranger, that's probably something to avoid. – Calchas Jul 14 '17 at 8:46
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    Buying items for others is fine. Carrying packages is a good way to end up in prison, when you discover, too late, your colleague has a sideline in heroin import/export. My brother's law school clinic case was trying to get some mercy for a poor dumb bastard who did this. He failed. – Andrew Lazarus Jul 14 '17 at 16:45
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    If people want to send things to another country that you won't be liable for, they should pay a shipping company. If it was as simple as a form, surely every drug mule in the world would carry around a form claiming they aren't responsible for their baggage. – Zach Lipton Jul 14 '17 at 20:20
  • If you carry, its yours. Simple. – DavChana Oct 1 '17 at 16:38

As Dorothy says, anything you transport becomes yours for the purposes of customs. There is no way to 'certify' anything or prevent customs agents examining it. You are responsible for any duties on anything you carry, and you will bear the penalties if they are found to be illegal. This includes the fact that if drugs are found on your person it is you who will serve the years in prison, no matter how often you say you were carrying them for someone else. I know personally several people this has happened to.

Because of this, you should only bring back for people things that you yourself bought in a retail store, or packages that you have checked for yourself contain no contraband. Even this last point is high risk, because drug dealers have a lot of expertize in hiding drugs inside seemingly normal things.

My advice would be to transport only things for people you have known and trusted for a very long time, and only things that are strictly theirs, not anything they are asking on behalf of someone else, or things other people are sending to them. The very fact that you are considering this as a possibility screams "Don't do it".


There are no prohibitions from travelling with items that are meant for others. However, as you do, they become yours, you own them temporarily, and you are fully responsible for them as you go through security systems and through customs, including payment of duties or import fees (and, perhaps, overweight baggage charges). You assume any and all risks. The only form you'll fill out is your own declaration, on which you list everything, both your own acquisitions and those you're toting for friends.

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