temporary export procedure?

<p>I was going to ask this on the music thread, since it involves a musical instrument, but thought perhaps others might have experience with this with other things.</p>

<p>My S is going abroad for 5 weeks with his instrument. He was given instructions to go to the customs office and make arrangements to declare his instrument as a temporary export. Upon arrival overseas, he has to declare it as a temporary import. Although it doesn't say, I assume he has to reverse the process when he comes home.</p>

<p>We've never had to do this before, and looking online, I am finding very little info about it. Apparently it only has to be done with things worth more than $2500, so he won't have to do it with his laptop and other electronics. He's been to China, Korea, etc, and we've never done this before. Even when we lived in Germany, my kids flew back and forth freely with their instruments. No one ever questioned anything. But we've never flown in/out of Switzerland before.</p>

<p>He is flying from Atlanta to Miami, then Miami to Zurich. Does he declare it in Atlanta or Miami? Is it done before or after passing through security? (Atlanta to Miami will be a domestic flight. I don't think he goes through International procedures till he gets to Miami.) Does anyone know how much time it takes, or what documents he will need?</p>

<p>He is supposed to take proof that he owns the instrument. He is planning to ask the guy who sold it to him to write him up a bill of sale. Otherwise, he has no proof. Will this be enough?</p>

<p>Hope someone here can help, and thanks in advance.</p>

<p>binx,</p>

<p>I work for US Customs and I think I can help a little.</p>

<p>Customs will allow a traveler to register an item with a serial number (like an expensive watch or camera, for example) before leaving the country so that they can prove prior ownership when they return. There is no dollar amount restriction on what can be registered. But unless the musical instrument has a serial number, there's no way to register it. How would he be able to prove that the instrument he brings back into the country is the same one he took out with him? Here's a link that might help - <a href="https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/368/kw/register%20a%20musical%20instrument%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/368/kw/register%20a%20musical%20instrument&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I don't think he will have any problem coming back with it to the US, though. It would be helpful if he brought some proof of ownership with him - a bill of sale, or an insurance policy, for example -- in case the Customs officer has any doubts about it being purchased on the trip. However, I'd really be surprised if he is even questioned about it.</p>

<p>If there is a serial number on the instrument and he wants to register it before he leaves, he should go ahead and do it with Customs in Atlanta. Here is a link to their phone numbers Service</a> Port - Atlanta .He will need to go in person and fill out a form 4457 that he can get from Customs. He might not have time during his Miami layover to find his way to Customs and it could be time-consuming if he hits the office at a busy time (which is always).</p>

<p>As far as what he would need to bring the instrument into the foreign country, that depends on the country. You'd have to contact their consulate to ask, or maybe you can find info on the internet.</p>

<p>PM me if you have any more questions and I'll try to help.</p>

<p>Thank you, patsmom! I will send you a PM.</p>

<p>Years ago when we traveled back and forth to Canada, I would carry a couple of thousand $ in various camera equipment. I'd stop on the US side before we crossed and filled out a form listing the make, model and serial number of the SLR body or lens. The form was date stamped and countersigned by a US customs officer, and handed back to me. Carried this across the border into Canada, and specifically stated that I was bringing in x$ in camera equipment, for personal use during vacation. </p>

<p>Never was asked for documentation on the way back in on the return leg. </p>

<p>Granted, the borders are tighter (we hope) and your son is flying, not driving.</p>

<p>As far as identifying the instrument, I would imagine a bill of sale properly documented, and a copy of the insurance appraisal should suffice, or if nothing else a copy of his insurance policy with a descriptive of the instrument (these are pretty specific and detailed for strings, including blemishes, bout widths, varnish color, and makers label if intact) but I don't know the standards for appraising a horn, and what his BOS or appraisal details state.</p>

<p>Try the makers website... there may be a contact option that you can use, and since his are brass, it would not surprise me if a customer service rep could tell you there is a serial number stamped somewhere, and where to find it.</p>

<p>Yes, all horns have serial numbers. We do have a copy of the bill of sale, which I'd forgotten about. H insisted upon one, for tax and insurance purposes. It is very descriptive, and includes the serial number, so it will work well. (Insurance isn't as specific in its descriptions, IIR.) We will call the customs office tomorrow to see about getting the form signed. The wording from the Swiss includes the import/export stuff, which we'd never encountered before.</p>

<p>Binx, do let us (me) know as DS will be traveling to Germany with three instruments in September!!</p>

<p>I suspect this is simply a precaution. As I said before, we never did this when we lived in Germany. But I didn't know if the fact that we lived there, but were Americans, made both sides treat us "familiarly". S routinely carried a horn back and forth, and D always had a violin. We had been warned about other electronics, too. But were never stopped about anything. </p>

<p>The only time they sent us to the "long line" was when we answered yes to the question about whether we'd been in farmland. Since we lived in a tiny farming community, we were there frequently! My D even milked the cows once. But the long line folks took about 15 seconds to clear us. I think that may have been during the mad cow problems, but aside from confiscating all our shoes (which, thankfully, they did not do), I'm not sure what they could do about where we lived.</p>

<p>I mentioned to S that this was probably a "better safe than sorry" situation, and he said he's heard of at least 3 people who had problems coming or going. So we'll try to make sure we are doing everything correctly.</p>

<p>Follow up: S called customs office a week ago Monday - got transferred to someone's voice mail, left msg. Called again Tuesday, same thing. One Wednesday, went straight to vm (no transfer involved.) Thursday finally reached a live person. He told S to come in to office, and gave directions. It is all the way down near the airport (an hour away), but not AT the airport. I'm glad he didn't give up trying to reach anyone. It would have been frustrating to get to the airport on Saturday and find out he needed to be someplace else, with not enough time.</p>

<p>They did have him fill out the form the patsmom linked to. And they did examine the instrument and double check numbers.</p>

<p>Haven't talked to S, so don't know how things went at the Swiss end of things, but assume we would have heard if there were problems. Five weeks from now we'll find out if all works as it should going the other direction.</p>

<p>More follow-up. Heard from S. The Swiss personnel at the airport who were directing people glanced at his paper and sent him to the "nothing to declare" line. He thinks he was the only one in the group of people he was traveling with who even bothered to get the document.</p>

<p>He has since learned that no one from the US has ever had a problem; the people who did were all from Poland, but the festival sets out the procedure just to be safe.</p>

<p>That's pretty much what I expected would happen in Switzerland, but if I had advised him to blow off the form because it probably wouldn't be needed, that would have been the one time that they cracked down. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that no one in Customs over here will even ask him about the instrument when he comes back. Better to be safe than sorry, though.</p>

<p>I'm glad he didn't have a hassle (other than trying to get CBP in Atlanta to answer the phone or return his call -- unfortunately, that's pretty typical of a CBP office :( )</p>