U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) FAQs


A traveler requiring medicines containing habit-forming drugs or narcotics (e.g. cough medicine, diuretics, heart drugs, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, depressants, stimulants, etc.) should:

  • Have all drugs, medicines, and similar products properly identified;
  • Carry only the quantity that might normally be used by an individual having a health problem requiring such drugs or medicine:
  • Have either a prescription or written statement from your personal physician that the medicine is being used under a doctor’s direction and is necessary for your physical well-being while traveling.

Medication can be sent by post if the prescription or doctor’s letter is included. A notation should be placed on the outside of the parcel stating, for example, “DOCTOR’S LETTER ATTACHED.”

Thai authorities require pets to be brought to the Animal Quarantine Station at Suvarnabhumi International Airport for inspection prior to export. The Animal Quarantine Station will issue an export permit and health certificate that are valid for a maximum of ten days. The Animal Quarantine Station requests at least three days to prepare and issue the documents.  The new recommendation is to bring your pet at least three but no more than ten days before the pet’s departure from Thailand. The pet owner must be present at the inspection, even if using a pet transit service.

All pets being exported from Thailand require an export exam and permit before being shipped.  You will need the following to export a pet:

  1. Your passport and one copy.
  2. Original vaccination record(s) for the animal(s) and one copy.
  3. Animal export form(s).
  4. 50 Baht per pet export fee. The exam is conducted at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Animal Quarantine Station on the first floor of Building CE 1 in the Free Zone (Entrance Way Number 1 of the Free Zone).

The Quarantine Station is open 8:30 AM to 12:00 Noon and 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM, Monday-Friday.

Telephone: 02-134-0731;
Email: qsap_bkk@dld.go.th;
Website: www.dld.go.th/dcontrol.

IMPORTANT: YOU MUST COMPLETE THE EXAM WITHIN THREE DAYS OF THE PET’S SCHEDULED DEPARTURE. The Quarantine Station will issue an export permit and a health certificate that you must present to the airline before the pet is shipped.)

You should check with the airline to determine what their requirements are and the state of ultimate destination to determine its requirements

Food, Plant, and Animal Products
General List of Approved Products

This list covers products from all areas except Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  • Bamboo – dried poles only
  • Beads made of seeds – (but not jequirity beans)
  • Breads, cakes, cookies, and other bakery goods
  • Candies, confectionery, chocolates
  • Cheeses – fully cured hard cheese only
  • Coconuts – (but husks or milk must be removed)
  • Coffee – roasted beans only
  • Dried foods – including polished rice, beans, and tea
  • Fish
  • Flower bulbs (*)
  • Flowers (*)
  • Fruits – canned or dried products only
  • Herbarium plants – (but not witchweed)
  • Herbs – dried, for medicinal use
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts – (but not chestnuts or acorns or nuts with outer husks)
  • Sauces – canned or processed
  • Seaweed
  • Seeds – (but not avocado, bamboo, barberry, coconuts, corn, cotton, currant, elm, hibiscus, lentil, mahonia, mango, pearl millet, potato, rice, sorghum, and wheat)
  • Shamrocks – without root or soil
  • Soup and soup mixes – (but not those containing meat)
  • Spices – dried (but not curry leaves)
  • Straw animals, hats, baskets, and other souvenirs – (but not items stuffed with straw)
  • Vegetables – canned or processed

*  Check with the U.S. Department of Agriculture at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ regarding Plant Protection and Quarantine Permits .   A phytosanitary certificate is required for propagative material.

The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, commonly known as the “Bioterrorism Act”, or BTA, was enacted on 12 December 2003, requiring that certain information be provided to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to the arrival of a food shipment.

This applies to any manufactured food for either humans or animals but does not apply to homemade or manufactured foods being sent as a personal gift to individual persons in the USA but you should clearly indicate this on the Customs Form if this is the case. If you don’t your parcels or packets containing food may be returned to you or even destroyed. This act also doesn’t apply to personal importation of food products carried by Air Passengers.

Note that air passengers or postal shipments are still subject to the normal food restrictions as stated above.

Those sending food products commercially will need to go the FDA web site at http://www.access.fda.gov/

Further information on the BTA can be found at www.fda.gov/oc/bioterrorism/bioact.html

The procedure is the following:

  1. The traveler has to request an export permit from Thailand’s Office of Archaeology and National Museum, Fine Arts Department Tel: (+662) 628-5033. They have to complete the form which is available in English.
  2. Other documents needed are original passport with 1 copy of the passport bio page.
  3. Two photographs (size 4”x6”) of the Buddha Statue with white background.
  4. It takes 2 working days to issue the export permits.

Persons in the U.S. may receive, free of duty, a gift mailed from a foreign country or a Caribbean Basin beneficiary country if the shipment does not exceed $100 based upon its retail value, or $200 if sent from the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or Guam. You may send as many gifts as you wish, but the U.S. addressee will be required to pay duty if the gift parcels received in one day total more than $100 (or $200). Gifts that exceed these amounts will be subject to customs duty based on the entire value. There is no $100 (or $200) deduction.

Packages should be marked “Unsolicited Gift”, with the name of the donor, nature of the gift, and fair retail value of the package clearly written on the outside wrapper.

Alcoholic beverages, cigars, cigarettes, and perfumes containing alcohol may not be included within this gift privilege.

Gifts intended for more than one person may be consolidated in the same package provided they are individually wrapped and labeled with the name of the recipient.

Be sure that the outer wrapping of the package is marked: 1) unsolicited gift, 2) nature of the gift, and 3) its fair retail value. In addition, a consolidated gift parcel should be marked as such on the outside with the names of the recipients listed and the value of each gift. This will facilitate customer clearance of your package.

The transportation of currency or monetary instruments, REGARDLESS OF AMOUNT IS LEGAL; however, if you take out of or bring into the United States more than $10,000 (U.S. or foreign equivalent, or a combination of the two) in coin, currency, traveler’s checks or bearer instruments such as money orders, personal or cashier’s checks, stocks or bonds, you are required BY LAW to FILE a report on FinCEN Form 105 with the Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. If you have someone else carry the currency or instruments for you, you must also file the report. FAILURE TO FILE THE REQUIRED REPORT OR FAILURE TO REPORT THE TOTAL AMOUNT YOU ARE CARRYING MAY LEAD TO THE SEIZURE OF ALL THE CURRENCY OR INSTRUMENTS, AND MAY SUBJECT YOU TO CIVIL PENALTIES AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

  • Among articles prohibited are absinthe, liquor-filled candy, lottery tickets, narcotics and dangerous drugs, obscene articles and publications, seditious and treasonable materials, hazardous articles (e.g., fireworks, dangerous toys, toxic or poisonous substances), products made by convicts or forced labor, and switchblades (except for use by a one-armed traveler).
  • “Piratical” copies of copyrighted articles-produced without the authorization of the copyright owner-are prohibited from importation into the United States.
  • Foreign-made trademarked articles may be limited as to the quantity which may be brought into the United States if the American owner of the registered trademark has recorded it with U.S. Customs. The types of articles usually of interest to travelers are: 1) lenses, cameras, binoculars, optical goods; 2) tape recorders, musical instruments; 3) jewelry, precious metalware; 4) perfumery; 5) watches, clocks. Persons arriving in the United States with a trademarked article are allowed an exemption, usually one article of a type bearing a protected trademark. The article must be for your personal use and not for sale.
  • Wildlife and fish are subject to certain import and export restrictions, prohibitions, permits or certificates, and quarantine requirements. This includes:
    • wild birds, mammals including marine mammals, reptiles, crustaceans, fish, and mollusks;
    • any part or product, such as skins, feathers, eggs; and
    • products and articles manufactured from wildlife and fish.

Endangered species of wildlife and products made from them are prohibited from being imported or exported. If you contemplate importing articles made from wildlife, such as tortoise shell jewelry, leather goods, articles made from whalebone, ivory, skins, or furs, please contact, prior to your departure to the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the following address:

Department of the Interior
Washington, D.C. 20240

  • Unsterilized specimens of human and animal tissue (including blood, body discharges and excretions); cultures of living bacteria, viruses or similar organisms; animals suspected of being infected with a disease transmissible to humans; and insects, snails and bats may require an import permit from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please contact the CDC at the following address for further information:OFFICE OF HEALTH AND SAFETY
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (F-05)
    1600 Clifton Road
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • Meats, livestock, poultry and their by-products (such as sausage, pate’), are prohibited or restricted from entering the United States, depending upon the animal disease condition in the country of origin. Please contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the following for further information:DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
    Imports-Exports Products Staff
    Federal Building
    6505 Belcrest Road
    Hyattsville, MD 20782

Further information on CBP matters may be found at the web site of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection which offers information on importing and exporting, law enforcement activities, and a “Know Before You Go” guide for the international traveler.