My friend, who is Taiwanese American, is having a gathering at his home for his mother’s 49 day funeral ceremony. We will be making paper lotus blossoms. This is in the United States, and we are in our mid-30s. I am not sure what dress is appropriate for the 49 day funeral ceremony. Is it formal black? Casual since we will be making origami lotuses? Also, is it appropriate to bring food and alcohol? Are there more traditional offerings that I should bring? Are there any other customs that I should be aware of for this ceremony?
What American cultural habits are considered pretentious or eye-rolly when performed in another country? [more inside]
Please help me get a book to a customer in France. [more inside]
I'm returning back to the United States after living overseas. All my stuff is going to get sent by a moving/delivery service soon, and it suddenly dawned on me that I'm going to be way over my $800 duty free limit, and I'm 11 days short of saying a full year to qualify my household goods as duty free. AUGH! [more inside]
I went to a fed-x today to try to ship some chocolate and OTC headache meds to my friend in Mexico. It got complicated fast.... [more inside]
I'm in Italy for a little while and figuring out the restaurant customs — including purchasing a liter of flat or sparkling water at each meal. Today, I was still a little thirsty but had to run, and asked if I could take the half-empty (glass, but obviously commercial) bottle. The server said I couldn't, and I asked if the same was true for plastic bottles. She said that, in either case, it's not appropriate to take leftover water. What's up with that (assuming it's generally true)?
I am going to Ontario for a week long business trip in one week. I have never traveled for work, I have never traveled out of the country, and I am terrified. Can you help me understand what I should expect? [more inside]
I am buying my plane tickets for a trip this summer. One ticket has as its return a change of plane/layover time of 1hr 35m between the flight from Paris to Toronto and the flight from Toronto to Kansas City. Alternatively, I can go with a different flight that on the return goes from Paris to Chicago with a 2h 45m layover. I'm assuming the latter is the option I should go with due to Customs delays but want other traveler's opinions for confirmation. [more inside]
A friend would like to send me some things from Canada, and I want to check up on the legality and potential hassles of doing so. Any input would be appreciated. [more inside]
Do I tip the funeral director? [more inside]
An Etsy seller just messaged me, "I wrote a lower value on the package so you don't need to pay taxes at your country's customs. I hope this is Okay!" I am actually not super okay with this. As the buyer, what are my responsibilities (morally and legally)? Is there an easy way for me to pay the proper customs fees without getting the seller in huge trouble (they do have my home address)? How should I proceed? It was a ~$40 used clothing purchase, so nothing major. I haven't received the package yet.
I am shipping a container of household effects from the United States to Ireland, where I am a resident. I have been resident in Ireland since 2012 and so I am not eligible for relief from customs duty that is available if your goods are shipped within 12 months of your move to Ireland. [more inside]
Flying to Dublin from National (DCA) via Charlotte this Sunday with video and sound equipment. Details and questions inside. [more inside]
I got chosen for a random car search yesterday at the US/Canada border, and I have a few questions about it. [more inside]
Is there a particular culture that devised and then used this sort of handshake? [more inside]
What does a customs stamp look like on a VAT refund form? [more inside]
I am flying a contractor to Montreal today to pick up some very important, time-sensitive packages for my business, and then flying him back to the US tomorrow with the parcels. I'm really out of my element here and it's super critical that the delivery go off without a hitch. Please help walk me through the process of retrieval, customs, dealing with agents and brokers, paying duties, etc. [more inside]
I have some international trips coming up in the latter half of this year and was thinking of getting Global Entry to reduce airport hassles. When I traveled abroad a few years ago, it seemed a definite advantage (at least at my airport, Dulles), if only for the TSA Pre-Check. But, is it still that way? I read recently that they get 50,000 new applications every month, so I imagine as more people join, it may not be as useful. [more inside]
What should I bring to an acquaintance's 30th birthday gathering? Details and complicating factors inside. [more inside]
Help me (in the US) figure out how best to set up an iPad for my mother (in India.) Snowflakes inside. [more inside]
Has anyone ever bought an item from overseas and had to pay a tariff upon delivery? Any idea how this is assessed? All the websites about this are so vague. If I'm spending $160 on an item, should I expect to pay a lot?
Mrs. procrastination is traveling for work in India and has arranged to stay a few extra days to tour. In the rush to get her out the door, we forgot to pack our very nice camera, which she had hoped to use. I would like to ship it to her. She has a few days in a high-end hotel, so I am confident that there is a safe place to receive it. Does anyone have experience with this type of shipping? What can I do to keep it from being caught in customs? Will there be unforseen customs charges? Anything else I should be thinking about? I would have to send it out tomorrow morning.
I ordered something from China, and now I need to return it. If you've done this, do you have any suggestions? [more inside]
A friend of mine lives on the island of Cyprus and needs a few computer upgrades. I already have the SSD and would buy the RAM from Crucial and ship both. It is incredibly expensive to buy the same stuff there. [more inside]
I will be taking a flight from Barcelona to Lyon, and I am an American. I plan to buy the ticket on easyJet (I have a separate set of tickets for US to Barcelona and Lyon to US). I have always used trains for intra European travel up to now. What should I know ahead of time? [more inside]
Going on a loooong boat trip on one of the cruise lines in a few months. What's the current deal for taking my electronics through the inspections? [Previously from 2009] [more inside]
My friend in Utah has never had a conker. I want to send her one. It's a seed, but not a foodstuff. Is that cool with US customs/USPS?
Insanebureaucracyfilter:I'm applying for global entry. A decade ago, I got falsely arrested by a corrupt and quota-happy New Orleans cop for possession of weed. The prosecutor refused the charges because, you know, no evidence, totally innocent, all that jazz. The customs officer wants me to prove I was never convicted, but doesn't understand what the word "refused" means... and I AM a lawyer, for pete's sake! [more inside]
I'm currently in Mexico and will be returning home to the US in about a week. I'd like to bring back some tamales to share with my family, but I'm not sure whether or not I can bring them through customs. I've read the guidelines here and here, but I'm still not sure. [more inside]
What happens to bags on US-international connections in Toronto Pearson, and is it feasible for me to go into Toronto for a day on a long layover? [more inside]
I'd like to purchase something online however it is only available for sale in Canada and the UK at this time, and they are not yet shipping to the U.S. Is there a way that I could arrange for an intermediary to get it shipped to a place in Canada and then forwarded to me? [more inside]
My husband and I will be travelling to the States next month, for the first time since he became a Canadian Citizen and got his passport. Technically speaking, it should be easiest to use his Canadian Passport given Canadian/US relations, but his name is such that there is a significant chance that he will be pulled over for questioning. If he does get pulled aside, will pulling out his original passport to show his American Visa make things better or worse? [more inside]
Whenever I cross an international border, I hand over my passport and then the agents run some checks. What kind of info shows up when they do that?
I recently made an online purchase for a necklace made with a bird skull, shipped from the UK to the U.S. Seller said it shipped on March 17, and general guidelines seem to be 5-7 days for items to arrive here from the UK (which has been my experience with other mailed items in the past). However the package hasn't arrived yet and I'm wondering if it was delayed by customs. [more inside]
We're staying at an Airbnb in Malaysia and the host has asked us if we could bring a small present back to Australia with us, for a friend of hers who also lives in Australia. There is no way in the world I am doing this. I am 99.9 percent certain that it is just Chinese New Year decorations as the host says, but I really have no way of knowing for sure and have no ambitions whatsoever to find out that it is something prohibited or illegal from a customs officer on arrival in Australia. How can I say phrase my refusal so that she doesn't loose face? [more inside]
Hello folks, I live in Canada (Toronto), and I ordered an item (worth US$200) from the USA about a month ago, and the seller used UPS to ship it to me. As I have never used UPS before, I was not aware of their negative reputation at the time of the online purchase. Well, about two weeks later, I received the UPS notice for a delivery attempt, and I was hugely surprised at the brokerage charge (CAN$70). Usually I do not get charged any brokerage fees at all when sellers use USPS to ship to me (because USPS hands the parcel to CanadaPost, which has never charged me brokerage fees, in my experience). [more inside]
(asking for a friend) I am a US Citizen living in the US. My parents are permanent immigrants - they split their time between Iran and the US (California in case that matters). They have visited the US before and while in the US, they live with me -- their US address is the same as mine. Can they bring a Persian rug from Iran for me to keep? If so, what supporting documents will they need when entering the US at LAX? [more inside]
I ordered a jacket from Taiwan on Oct 2. According to the tracking ID, it arrived in Frankfurt on Oct 5. There have been no further updates on the "foreign information" tab since then. Why is it stuck there for 11 days now? [more inside]
I'm in France, and I need to send some of my personal effects (clothing, mostly, and some toiletry-ish stuff) home to the US so that I don't have to carry it on the upcoming hiking part of my vacation. How should I label this package for customs purposes? I wouldn't have to declare any of this if I were going through the border crossing with it in a suitcase; it's all originally purchased in the US and mostly at least a year or two old.
I am about to send some used personal effects to the US from Europe. I'm sending four boxes of used books and clothes. Each box weighs about 20kg. What should I put on the customs label? In particular, how do I estimate the value of used personal effects? Is it zero? I don't care about insurance/replacement value, I just want to minimize/avoid customs charges. If it matters, I'm in Germany, and will be sending by DHL. I'm a European citizen who will be moving to the US for three years with a J-1 (academic) visa. [more inside]
We are moving to Germany. I have to fly* but my husband is driving, from the UK to Germany. Our removalists will pack nothing perishable, including food in sealed containers, liquid toilettries etc. Can we just take them in the car? [more inside]
My parents are leaving from the US on a trip to Europe, entirely within EU Schengen Area countries. They've been requested to bring ginseng and beef/pork jerky by family. I don't think the jerky is admissible, but what about the ginseng? Port of entry will be Amsterdam Schiphol. [more inside]
Question about food sharing/giving within the Chinese culture. [more inside]
If I'm ordering something online and they're based in Canada, will I have to pay customs when they ship to the US? [more inside]
US citizen visiting SO's family in Spain for Christmas: will I be asked to show proof of accommodation? Do I really need a letter of invitation to pass customs? [more inside]
Why are you supposed to take the flag down at night? [more inside]
I'm a Canadian software developer. I'm going to a conference in the US next month, and I'm not sure what to say when they ask if the trip is for business or pleasure. [more inside]
Can I drive into Canada from buffalo with my Canadian citizenship card and drive back later into buffalo two days later with my US permanent resident card? [more inside]
I made the asinine mistake of ordering something off Etsy to a Spanish address. Very bad idea. How do I deal with Spanish customs? What happens when packages are returned for non-payment of duties? [more inside]
Please help me determine if this flight plan through Narita (Tokyo) airport is plausible or insane. [more inside]