Hello, I have a business trip to the USA and France; I live in Mexico where the Apple Watch Ultra has not yet been released. Normally this will take some time; like one month or two … I would like to take the opportunity to purchase it during my trip (also cheaper!). Do you think I will be able to use it with my cellular plan from Mexico when I return? Based on previous experiences (Series 5, some years ago), the answer is yes; however I would like to know if someone can confirm it. Thank you.
No personal experience, but something to think about for sure! Answer may be here:
You might want to check the Tax-Situation before you purchase the watch in a foreign country.
While you can get the VAT back in a lot of countries, if you export something purchased there from that country, you will also have to pay different Taxes while you import it into your country.
I would check that carefully, because it could result in an expensive surprise at the end, if you are confronted with the „wrong“ combination of those countries…
That is a very good point! Thank you
While export-import fees apply to items shipped across borders, it does not apply to items carried across borders. Wearing a brand new Apple Watch Ultra from USA back into Mexico will not trigger any taxes. Tax will be paid in the U.S. at U.S. rates upon purchase.
I mostly buy higher priced items when we return to the U.S. and then carry them in my luggage back to our home in Mexico. As long as you aren’t trying to carry multiple items for resale, customs does not flag anything.
Yeah, that might be the case in a special combination of countries, but is not true in general!
For the taxes/Customs fees (or whatever the special country is calling it) it doen´t really matter how you import something into a country! If you have to pay when it is shipped, the chances are very high that the same apply when you have it with you personally.
If you do not declare it, and you get picked, you will be locking at a nice fine, and in some cases even Jailtime!
The point, that you were lucky and not get picked in the past, does not change the regulations in general.
So if I purchase a Rolex in Switzerland and then fly to the U.S., how will any one know if that Rolex is brand new or 10 years old? The same would apply to my laptop, my watch, my airpods, etc. I have NEVER heard of this happening, because it would be almost impossible to attempt to enforce. I have never run into this in the seven different countries I have had the pleasure of traveling into or out of.
I’m not just being lucky either. I have been through multiple customs inspections in Mexico. Laptops, a Mac Mini, other mini-pc’s, watches, etc. None were ever flagged for import fees. And that is because it is always obvious that these items are personal electronics and not for resale. No boxes, no receipts, etc.
I’m not doing this to be sneaky, I just do it to be practical and avoid hassle. As far as I am aware, none of the items have ever been subject to an import fee, but I carry them with me for what they are – personal electronics, period.
I’ve only been traveling internationally for 15 years, so I’m pretty sure I haven’t been accidentally smuggling electronics illegally…
Well, I do traveling for my living, and you can trust me, if I tell you that you have to pay for it, if you bring certain items into a/your country, that has a custome fee or tax on it!
For example, if you enter the US by Plane (at least) you have to fill in the Form 6059B
You have to declare there the value of all goods that you bought or get abroad, and the CBP Officer will determine if you have to pay a tax for that, or not. If you are a US Citizen, you have normally a Duty-Free Exemption of 800$, but this depends on the items you are carrying.
So, YES, If you fail to comply to that, you are a Smuggler, and I would not tell the whole world about it on the Internet…
Yes, Ulli is right about this. Most Apple devices are too expensive to slide under the duty-free value limit when returning to Mexico. I recognize that, in practice, they’re not going to make you prove you didn’t buy a phone or watch abroad when the box is discarded and the device is on your person.
Amusingly, the Apple Watch Ultra can be returned to the US without paying duty because it’s worth $799 and not $800.01 (assuming it’s the only thing you bought.)
That might be a big problem in addition.
In most countries I know, if there is a duty-free value of 800$ (to stay in this example), and you have a Smartwatch with 801$ and a Ball-Pen for 2$, you are bringing back home, you have to pay the tax onto an amount of 801$, because you can’t split the value of a device, to get it partly under the duty free value.
So, if you bring an Ultra with you, at 799€, but added AppleCare to it, the value will be over the Limit (from our example), and you will have good chances to have to pay the full amount.
An other thing, I would recommend, if you are taking valueable stuff with you, contact the Border Patrol Personal, BEFORE you leave the country, to show them the valuable items you take with you abroad, and intend to bring them back home. They will most probably prepare a list, you can show on return, to proof that those items where already in the country upon your departure, because you risk to be asked to spent the custom/taxes if you bring those items back home, without being able to proof that they are not bought on your recent trip, but already within your luggage, when you left the country.
In the US it is CBP Form 4457
Also it never hurts, to carry some copies of the proofs of purchase of valuable items with you, for the same reason.
I never bring any item of value that was purchased in Mexico back to the U.S. Always the other way around. In Mexico, the exemption includes new laptops and the value max is $3000. I have never exceeded this. I have therefore never declared any of this on a customs form. I just re-read the customs form instructions for Mexico and I can tell you I’ve never needed to declare anything.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but you have not just solved a case of international smuggling…
I think you’re misreading the form. $300 is your duty free limit. $3,000 is the max you’re allowed to bring in by yourself.
- $300: don’t declare purchase
- $301: declare purchase(s)
- $3000: declare purchase(s)
- $3001: you are exceeding the amount you can import via personal travel for non-electronics
- $4001: exceeding the import limit for electronics
You guys are killing me here. I am most definitely not misreading the form. Here’s the exact text:
Part 6: Please declare if you are bringing with you…
“Merchandise (additional to your baggage and duty-free exemption) for which you must pay import duties”
Under Baggage and Duty-free exemption:
- List of items that include personal baggage:
… three mobile phones or other wireless network devices … one laptop or a notebook/omnibook or similar …
You can stop right there and see that a phone, a tablet and a laptop (per person) can all easily fit inside this category: baggage.
The $300 you are speaking of is in section 2, duty-free imports. This does not apply to the baggage section.
- Free of duty imports: passengers entering the country by sea or by air may import goods of duty, additional to their personal baggage…
That’s where your bottle of liquor that you picked up in the duty-free store at the airport comes into play. Under $300? Good to go.
$0-$300 is free, $300-$3000 you have to pay IVA (16%) and the value has to be proven by receipts. Anything over $3000 has to go through normal shipping/cargo channels using a customs broker.
Bottom line: a $900 Apple Watch Ultra is part of your personal baggage allowance, does not meet (by itself) any threshhold and does not require any sort of customs declaration.
While you state in your Avatar, that you life “On the road, USA”, it is not clearly obvious, that you were not living in the US.
And I am not a Custom Officer, so I do not care if a Smuggler more, or less was captured.
This was also not part of this Thread!
I just brought up the problem of Taxes and Custom Fees, if you bring valuable items from one country into an other.
You brought up some statements against my warning, and stated, that they were not true, that you traveled true “seven different countries” and that it never was there, as I stated.
This was proved to be wrong.
Now you come up with an alleged 3000$ duty-free value, if you are traveling into Mexico.
This might be true, I don’t live there, and I really don’t care for their regulations. And, in fact it seems even not to be true in the generality, you present it here.
But you stay on the wrong side of the story anyway even with that value, because even if there is a high duty-free-value like that, you have to declare your items, and only the CBP Officer could tell you, if they are Duty-Free, or not!
If you bring those items into your country, by just wearing them, or discarding the box and receipt on a pricey item (why should anyone do that, if not to veil, that those items are bought abroad!?), this still remains against the law within the most countries, incl. Mexico, where the presentation of the receipt is part of the custom process, acc. to the information on their customs declaration you can find on the internet.
But anyway it is your personal responsibility, if you are risking a fine for that, or not.
The only important point within this Thread remains, that you have to observe those regulations in general (independend from the countries involved), before you buy a “cheap” electronic equipment in one country, and bring it back home, just to be faced with a possible high custom fee, that turns the “cheap” item, into something probably very expansive!
This is really funny, because the Mexican CBP declares a laptop and a tablet as the same class of items, and they allow only one of them!
So, if you have a laptop, and a tablet within your luggage, and not declaring it, you are smuggling!
And I would bet, that the Ultra (which has Cell-service) is accounted for as a “mobile phone”, so you have to pay attention on this count also!
Got a link for that? Otherwise I find tablets to fit inside the ‘other wireless network devices’ category, of which one can safely carry three without declaration.
Thanks, I had forgotten to revise my profile…
Please read my previous post where I already explained this.
- Two cameras or camcorders and camera gear; three cellphones or other wireless devices; one GPS; one electronic organizer; one laptop, notebook, omnibook or other portable computing device; one portable copier or printer; one CD burner and one portable overhead projector and its accessories.
While Mexico is currently not within my own area of flying, I have a lot of colleagues who frequently run into trouble with the Mexican CBP, because my company has gave everybody of the crew a Duty-iPad, and this is not allowed in addition to their personal Laptop/Tablet they carry with them in their personal belongings. So they have often to declare it, depending on the CBP-Officer on duty, pay the duty for that, and must spent some extra time during departure, to get the money back, for exporting the item again!
I’m sorry; I realize this conversation must feel crazy. But: the baggage part (three phones, etc.) is listing what you’re allowed to travel with that you already own, not what you bought while out of the country. E.g., you can’t bring eight iPhones that you already own. Same for all the limitations on numbers of strollers, radios, etc. The travel baggage limits are all about stuff you took out of Mexico and are bringing back into Mexico.
Everything you bought while outside of Mexico falls under ‘additional to personal baggage’ and duty-free limits come into play when you return home.
I’d appreciate a link for that too. If you read the personal baggage allowance list, it is much, much more than any one person might be expected to carry around with them.