What you can and cannot bring back from Vietnam can be confusing. Getting knowledgeable about what U.S. Customs allows into the country will make it a quick decision to buy that exotic meat mixture sausage that shopkeeper swears will be fine to bring back into the U.S.
There aren’t actually limits on how much stuff you can bring back from a trip abroad. The ax drops on how much stuff you can bring back into the country for free. Once you pass the $800 worth of goods per person, you start owing taxes on the items.
What can you bring back from Vietnam?
A travel visa to Vietnam is good anywhere from one to three months (depending on the type you obtain) and you can find a lot of good stuff to bring back from Vietnam.
The following is a list of what you can bring back into the U.S, remember $800 total limit per person (before you’re taxed). Current Customs regulations say you can bring back:
– 100 cigars or 200 cigarettes
– 1 liter of alcohol
– Baked foods are usually okay
– Hard cheeses are usually allowed
– And this is a good one for Vietnam: roasted coffee beans and dried tea.
Antiques over 100-years old and artworks are exempt not part of the $800 limit so if you find some art that you must have – go for it!
Another way to get your stuff home is to mail it. Yes, mail it. The current regulations state that you can mail yourself up to $200 worth of goods per day, as long as the packaging is marked: “for personal use.”
You can also mail an additional $100 worth of stuff to family or friends as long as the packages are designated, “unsolicited gift.”
Either way, you must list the contents of any package on the outside wrapping, and you cannot mail alcohol, perfume (because it has alcohol in it), or tobacco products worth more than $5.
What can’t a tourist bring back from Vietnam?
The following items will be confiscated:
Pretty much any freshly prepared foods you attempt to bring in won’t make it if found by customs. You can bring seeds in with you for flowers or vegetables, but not trees. There are some rules to follow, you will need to obtain a phytosanitary certificate of inspection from Vietnam, and you will need to declare them. More information can be found at Aphis.
This thread at TripAdvisor has a lot of ideas for what to buy when you’re in Vietnam. Also, Huffington Post had a great article for the truly unique shopper visiting Vietnam.