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I am a US citizen who has lived abroad for the past decade. My wife (a non-US citizen), has been offered employment in the US, and is currently awaiting her H1-B visa. We plan to fly to the US as soon as possible, which depends on the following:

  1. My wife obtaining her visa (we've been told to expect a processing time of up to 4 months)
  2. The lifting of the travel ban on European travellers (although this might not apply to us, as we're married).

As it stands, we are unsure of exactly when we will be able to travel to the US. We would prefer to travel together, since we might otherwise end up separated for an indeterminate period of time.

In the meantime, the lease for our UK apartment is coming to an end, so we have decided to ship our belongings to the US ahead of us. We have booked a moving company, and our belongings will be shipped to my parents residence for storage until we are able to collect them. The moving company has advised us to list myself as the importer, given that I am not subject to the travel ban.

As part of this shipping process, the moving company has asked us to fill out US Customs Form 3299, which specifically asks for the

  • "IMPORTER'S DATE OF ARRIVAL"
  • "NAME OF ARRIVING VESSEL CARRIER AND FLIGHT/TRAIN".
  • "IMPORTER'S PORT OF ARRIVAL"

As we do not yet know when we will be arriving, we are unable to provide this information. This brings me to my first question:

Is this information required, or can it be safely omitted?

To complicate matters, the moving company's broker initially made a fuss explaining that we had to be physically present in the US by the time our property arrived at customs. In the meantime, he has back-pedaled saying it's acceptable if we arrive within "three or four months following the arrival of our property at US Customs". This sounds hand-wavy to say the least, hence my second question:

How long after my property arrives in the US can I arrive in the US?

Many thanks in advance for your help!

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  • I think your shipper is trying for the special customs treatment of household goods and personal effects shipped in conjunction with their owners traveling to the US. For that to work they need information about the owners' travel. Have you looked at what it would cost if you simply shipped the goods without applying for that program, as though they were a gift to your parents? – Patricia Shanahan May 29 '20 at 14:42
  • @PatriciaShanahan thanks for the insight. "For that to work they need information about the owners' travel." -- I'm guessing this means it's safe to arrive after the goods, but that there needs to be a definite date? – Louis Thibault May 29 '20 at 14:48
  • I've also arrived before the goods, and gave a date of travel in the recent past. – Patricia Shanahan May 29 '20 at 14:57
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    Your shipper should be the best source of information. At first, they were trying to get the normal situation of the goods and their owners traveling at about the same time. The later advice may be after they looking into it more. Any way you can store the goods in Italy until your travel plans are set and move them at about the same time? – Patricia Shanahan May 29 '20 at 15:08

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