When traveling to the United States, it is important to be aware that there is a list of items that you are not allowed to bring into the country. The items vary from medicine and food to works of art.

These are the rules that you must take into account when you travel or come back to the U.S. after a trip abroad:


  • You can bring them, but you must declare them:

Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, olive (or vegetable) oil, bread, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, candies, butter and butter oil, hard and semi hard cheeses, yogurt, sardines and other canned foods, milk (NOT goat milk) for consumption by a baby or small child, formulas for babies (breast milk substitutes), tea and coffee in commercial packages, honey, rice flour, oats, corn or wheat, nuts, rice (as long as it does not have husk and it does not come from a country where the Khapra beetle is found).

  • Prohibited or Restricted Foods:

Meat, pork rinds, milk (see exception above), eggs.

Antiquities, Archaeological or Ethnological Items, Art at the American Customs

Antiquities must have a clear record of their origins before being exported. You may bring paintings, sculptures and art objects or colonial works of art into the U.S. as long as you have an export permit.

Weapons at the American Customs

In order to pass the customs with these objects, you must have a written permission from the ATF, which is the U.S. agency that regulates this matter.

Drugs and Illegal Substances at the American Customs

You can enter the United States with common medicines, but they must be indicated in a prescription and kept in their original box or bottle. The quantity has to be reasonable as well.

It is illegal to import:

  • Syringes, unless a prescription indicates that is for legal medical use, such as in the case of diabetics.
  • Contact Lenses

Rules About Pets and Ivory at the American Customs

You can bring pets to the U.S. but you should check the requirements imposed by each state, because they can vary by animal and origin.


Passage through customs of articles containing ivory has been recently banned. There are exceptions, but you have to follow very strict rules. For this reason, avoid, if possible, crossing the customs with boxes or musical instruments that are completely or partially made of ivory.


You may carry a maximum of $ 10,000 without having to declare them.