19 USC § 1496a
Clearance restrictions of individuals returning from abroad; special circumstances; "baggage and effects" defined
through Pub. L. 116-282, except Pub. L. 116-260

Except as otherwise provided by law, no individual returning to the United States from abroad shall be—

(1) entitled to the admission of his or her baggage and effects free of duty without entry; or

(2) entitled to expedited customs examination and clearance of his or her baggage and effects.

Paragraph (2) shall not apply to individuals in special circumstances (including being seriously ill or infirm, having been summoned by news of affliction or disaster, and accompanying the body of a deceased relative). For purposes of this section, the term "baggage and effects" means any article which was in the possession of the individual while abroad and is being imported in connection with his or her arrival and is intended for his or her bona fide personal or household use. Such term does not include any article imported as an accommodation to others or for sale or other commercial use.


Section was enacted as part of Customs Procedural Reform and Simplification Act of 1978, and not as part of Tariff Act of 1930 which comprises this chapter.

Clearance Procedures Study; Report to Congressional Committees

Pub. L. 95–410, title II, §216, Oct. 3, 1978, 92 Stat. 904, provided that the Comptroller General, in cooperation with the Customs Service of the Department of the Treasury and the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Department of Justice, study clearance procedures for individuals entering or reentering the United States, and to report the results of his study and any recommendations for expediting the clearance process to specific committees of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives not later than Sept. 1, 1979.

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