I am a German citizen and am going to have a 6-months internship in the US on a J-1 visa. I would like to take my personal computer rig with me, it consists of my MacBook Pro, two monitors and a few miscellaneous items, totalling around 5000-6000€.

I have the options of shipping them with e.g. FedEx or taking them with me on the plane in a second suitcase or submitting them as special baggage.

What do I have to be aware of with these two different approaches? Do I have to pay an import tax?

In addition, what do I have to aware of when returning home with these items?

  • 1
    @JacobHorbulyk Sorry, wasn't aware of the expatriates community. Could a moderator move this question or do I have to manually repost it? Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 13:16
  • 1
    I flagged this for moderator attention (move to expat) Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 13:35
  • 1
    Technically, you shouldn't have a problem since they are for personal use and you are not importing them for commercial purposes. However, convincing Customs on both sides might be a different matter.
    – Johns-305
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 16:17
  • 1
    Not recently, but I've heard of people registering expensive items with customs in their home country so that when they bring them back in, there's no issue. Perhaps this form....?
    – mkennedy
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 16:45
  • @mkennedy That link says "session expired". Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


Definitely carry on everything you mentioned except for the monitors. There should be no tax on any of these personal belongings. Here's the customs form -- There are no questions about the value of personal effects. Only about commercial merchandise. You would be crazy to Fedex this stuff.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.