I have a trip coming up soon to the US and so I checked with customs on the amount of alcohol that is allowable per person. They told me that the limit is one litre. It seems to me that in the past I was able to bring two 750 mL bottles (1.5L) with me without trouble. Does anyone know if this is a recent change?
Original Post
You can bring more, however there is a small duty to pay. Nothing like Canada though. If for personal use, many times ICE will be very lenient.

In 2006 coming back from Spain we had 8 cases. ICE just said ‘welcome home” and we pushed our loaded wagon away.

Yu are allowed 1 liter for each person - free

While federal regulations do not specify a limit on the amount of alcohol you may bring back for personal use, unusual quantities are liable to raise suspicions that you are importing the alcohol for other purposes, such as for resale. Customs officers are authorized by Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) make on-the-spot determinations that an importation is for commercial purposes, and may require you to obtain a permit to import the alcohol before leasing to you. If you intend to bring back a substantial quantity of alcohol for your personal use you should contact the Customs port you will be re-entering the country through, and make prior arrangements for entering the alcohol into the U.S.
quote:
Originally posted by jburman82:
Do they really search your cars at US/Canada border crossings? I had read these were pretty relaxed entry points.


Truly depends on the Customs officer - I know a couple people who have had their car searched (my brother being one) and another couple of folks who head up regularly and have had no issues.

I also think you have a better chance of being searched coming into the US than going into Canada.
quote:
Originally posted by futronic:
I'd call again and tell them you're bringing wine, not alcohol. You ask about alcohol and they're going to assume vodka, rye, gin, etc.


Unless things have changed recently, my understanding is you're allowed to bring 1 liter of any alcohol beverage duty free into the US. Anything more is subject to duty and other taxes, which, according to the US Embassy, is 36 cents/liter.
I've crossed the US/Canadian border hundreds and hundreds of times, having grown up in a border city with a girlfriend (or two) on the other side. I've brought over a case of whisky and a case of wine together, and the duty worked out to be a $10 USD. Another time, I brought back a case of whisky to the US, and I was just waved through. Whether you get pulled over to pay duty is random, but I'd not worry about the duty going into the US.

Now, bringing in quantities to Canada? Cheaper to buy a vineyard and make your own.
quote:
quote:
Originally posted by jburman82:
Do they really search your cars at US/Canada border crossings? I had read these were pretty relaxed entry points.


Truly depends on the Customs officer - I know a couple people who have had their car searched (my brother being one) and another couple of folks who head up regularly and have had no issues.

I also think you have a better chance of being searched coming into the US than going into Canada.


My brother-in-law, the Canada Customs Officer, says they often do random searches of cars at land borders.
quote:
Originally posted by bman:
quote:
quote:
Originally posted by jburman82:
Do they really search your cars at US/Canada border crossings? I had read these were pretty relaxed entry points.


Truly depends on the Customs officer - I know a couple people who have had their car searched (my brother being one) and another couple of folks who head up regularly and have had no issues.

I also think you have a better chance of being searched coming into the US than going into Canada.


My brother-in-law, the Canada Customs Officer, says they often do random searches of cars at land borders.


I got pulled over from buffalo to niagara, to which the canadian customs officer asked me, "Are you bringing in any cocaine?"
and when I said "huh?"
He said "haha, had you worried didn't I?"

that scared the sht out of me.
quote:
Originally posted by bman:
I grew up in Windsor and while I wasn't bringing wine across back then, there were many times I was fearful of being searched. Never happened to me, but did to people I know. And it's WAY more frequent today. Be warned.


I was asked if I was bringing anything and I just straight forward told the US custom guy that I had 6 bottles. He told me the limit is 1L and I told him he can have the bottles if he wants. My car got searched and all he saw was the 6 bottles I mentioned. He said don't worry about it, but he wanted me to know the rules and for me to enjoy my stay.

This was last year.
Here's the US Custom's site: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/tra...kbyg/paying_duty.xml

Here's a quote from the site:

quote:
Federal regulations allow you to bring back more than one liter of alcoholic beverage for personal use, but, as with extra tobacco, you will have to pay duty and Internal Revenue Service tax.

While Federal regulations do not specify a limit on the amount of alcohol you may bring back for personal use, unusual quantities are liable to raise suspicions that you are importing the alcohol for other purposes, such as for resale.


So like I said, I brought a case of Canadian whisky back, and paid a very small fee.
quote:
Originally posted by bman:
My brother-in-law, the Canada Customs Officer, says they often do random searches of cars at land borders.


I've ben to Canada maybe 50-60 times and was only searched once as a teenager, until a few years ago. Coming back to the US, the Customs Officer told me I had won the lottery, with a smile. We had to get out of the car and sit in a waiting area while they searched the car, but they were done in 10 minutes and didn't mess up anything.
Specifically referring to heading into the States:

In the past couple of years I noticed a very distinct shift to a military mentality-atmosphere at the Ontario-Michigan borders.
I seemed as if MPs, fresh out the military, were put into these positions. It has become much more anal yes sir-no sir mentality. Roll Eyes
quote:
quote:
Originally posted by bman:
My brother-in-law, the Canada Customs Officer, says they often do random searches of cars at land borders.

But...then...he would feel compelled to say that wouldnt he.


He really couldn't care less, to be honest. The border guys are pretty Bolshi, especially when not in uniform.
quote:
Just do like bman does, smuggle it across in a diplomatic pouch.


The only time I've even touched a dip pouch was when we used an old ratty abandoned one to "liberate" sifted sand from a construction site in Guatemala - because cat litter was unobtainable in the country! Big Grin

I couldn't stand to see my precious wine confiscated, never mind paying hefty fines on top of that, so I've always declared every bottle every time. Yes, really....
I came through (terminal 3) with 14 bottles a couple of days ago and got hit with a smile and full duty. That's not so bad since I seem to be batting better than 50% on that score. But the guy very graciously told me he would do me a favour and give me the two most expensive bottles for my duty-free allowance. Of course I thanked him for his kindness, and we both smiled as I pulled out my credit card to make a very sizable contribution to the McGuinty political fund.

The previous time I paid duty, I got annoyed when they charged me the full duty on sales tax when the tax was separately stated and I had a receipt showing that it was refunded to me on departure. The guy told me he was just defending Ontario's wine industry. Even though he was young and obviously hadn't had his commando outfit for long, I couldn't believe someone could say something so stupid. Shows you the risk you take when returning to Canada on a Saturday night.
quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:
Specifically referring to heading into the States:

In the past couple of years I noticed a very distinct shift to a military mentality-atmosphere at the Ontario-Michigan borders.
I seemed as if MPs, fresh out the military, were put into these positions. It has become much more anal yes sir-no sir mentality. Roll Eyes
I noticed the same thing at the Lewiston border. I wonder if it happened when they got their new commando outfits.

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