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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?

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    @JacobHorbulyk Sorry, wasn't aware of the expatriates community. Could a moderator move this question or do I have to manually repost it? – Jan Berktold Aug 23 '17 at 13:16
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    I flagged this for moderator attention (move to expat) – RedGrittyBrick Aug 23 '17 at 13:35
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    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 Aug 23 '17 at 16:17
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    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 Aug 23 '17 at 16:45
  • @mkennedy That link says "session expired". – Jan Berktold Aug 23 '17 at 17:43
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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.

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