I brought with me two small Nikon cool pix digital camera I got in the line that said nothing to declare & I was grilled for about a half hour the customs officer even made note in passport that I to declare them on leaving Belize
bb, on my last trip in September customs went through all of my baggage since I am a regular visitor and they said so! My son was with me on his first trip and did not get searched. I guess that is the first step to become a QRP!!!!!!!
If you are a citizen the checks get even more in-depth. The customs officials are not dummies. They are usually very polite and helpful if you co-operate.
The only time I had a real hassle was when I brought in a laminating machine. There was no listing for such a thing in the customs rate book and they had to agree on its classification. In the end the duty was quite reasonable - $10 or so.
Generally holiday customs-checking is more stringent than the rest of the year because so many local business people are stocking up shops and businesses for the season.
My husband, Datallmon, comes and goes almost every week, as he is a consultant. They have given up! They badgered him to death for a while because they never saw someone that traveled for a living. It was so suspicious...he must be up to something, and all he ever had was some cat food, coffee, an occasional pillow, or humming bird feeder. Just hang in there!
Last trip through the customs officer asked "got any tobacco or liquor"??? Being a smoker and carrying a pint in my bag, I told him I had 3 packs of cigarettes and a pint of Jack Daniels. He said "get out of line and go through the line for things to declare". The items I had were not over limit and not declareable. The officers question should have been, "do you have more than a gallon of alcohol or more than 200 cigarettes?" But he didn't. I guess authority also comes with the oppertunity t be abusive.
I'll be happy to discuss my avatar with anyone who knows what it is.
My last time coming in through Customs a month or so ago, having shown myself to be a Permanent Resident, I was asked how long I had been away and whether I had a good time, then just waved through. The time before I declared US$600 worth of goods, and was waved through without even being asked to show them.
Yet a few years back I brought in 3-month's worth of diabetes meds and was charged US$80 duty, even though I proved they were prescribed for me and all labelled with my name. And indeed had cost me nil.
Another occasion I came in with some expensive camera gear and one item was selected apparently at random and written into my passport, and I was told I must declare it when I left the country. Even though I am a Permanent Resident. Most odd.
We come in several times a year with a small ipod player and extremely beat up little portable DVD player to watch movies and for the first time in five years were asked to show them on our return and they were written into our passport (a very silly hassle to deal with on the return.) But they didn't ding us on the sheets, blankets, shower rack, food, or anything else for the house that we had in the cases.