Understanding the 800 USD duty-free rule for imports in the US

If you import into the US, you have probably heard about the 800 USD duty-free rule. The 800 USD duty-free exemption is important for individuals and businesses that ship or import goods into the United States. We break down the topic of the 800 USD limit on imports into the US so you can know what to do to avoid unnecessary expenses.

What is the 800 USD duty-free rule? US shipment exemptions explained

De minimis is the minimum value of the goods below, for which no taxes and duties are being collected by the customs authorities. The threshold differs from country to country. In the US, items are subject to duty when the value is over 800 USD. This means that 800 USD is the threshold for shipping goods in the US. The rule was outlined in Section 321 of the 2015 Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act.

The 800 USD duty-free exemption allows goods to be brought into the US without paying customs duties or taxes. Individuals do not pay import taxes if the total declared value of the items does not exceed 800 USD.

Note that this duty-free import rule is intended for personal use and applies mainly to personal belongings and gifts.

Who can import duty-free into the US?

Individuals who import goods for personal use, such as tourists who bring back souvenirs or gifts, can benefit from the 800 USD duty-free rule.

On the other hand, professional importers who import goods for commercial purposes (such as production, distribution, etc.) or resale cannot use the 800 USD duty-free rule. They must, therefore, pay due duties.

What falls under the 800 USD duty-free rule in the US?

The 800 USD exemption covers a wide range of goods, such as:

  • gifts
  • clothing
  • electronics
  • accessories
  • personal items
  • etc.

Please remember that certain products, such as tobacco, alcohol, and perfume, may be subject to import duties regardless of their value.

800 USD duty-free exemption and importing from China

Certain imports from China to the US are subject to additional tariffs as set in Section 301. Does the $800 duty-free import still apply to products from China? In fact, yes. You can ship products from China to the US duty-free as long as the shipment’s value is below 800 USD. This is how platforms like Shein, Temu, AliExpress, etc., benefit from the import duty exemption.

How to declare goods below 800 USD in the US?

All goods should be declared accurately when entering the US. Otherwise, you could be penalized by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). To make the declaration process easier, keep receipts handy and be honest and transparent during customs inspections.

Even though the goods are free of import duties, additional federal customs duties and taxes can sometimes apply.

Can commercial imports benefit from the 800 USD duty-free rule?

800 USD exemption does not apply to commercial importations. Professional importers must comply with customs duties, taxes, and regulations applicable to commercial shipments. It includes accurate documentation and complying with import requirements. Make sure to maintain comprehensive records of your import transactions, such as shipping documents, invoices, customs declarations, and other relevant records, for an indicated period as required by law.

In summary, professional importers cannot use the $800 USD duty-free exemption for their commercial importations into the United States. Only certain shipments for individuals valued at less than $800 USD can be exempted from the import duties.

In simple terms, most imports valued at below $800 USD enter the US duty-free, provided they are packaged and addressed to individual customers.

Visit the official website of US Customs and Border Protection for more information on the 800 USD duty-free exemption.