Business travel to the USA with demonstration items

I will be travelling to the USA and bringing a few items with me for demonstration purposes. The value of the items will be around $500, and all items will be taken back with me. I will also bring some cheap hand tools with me, maybe worth 50$.

Do I need to declare the items and tools?

As it seems I have to, how do I go about declaring these items? I will be leaving from a Canadian airport, which has US customs. Is there a form I should complete beforehand or do I complete it when I arrive at customs?


Under $500 shouldn’t be a problem entering the USA. There’s really no concern that you’ll try to sell them, but if there was you might:

  • you may want to register your tools before your departure to the USA with your own home country’s customs and get a receipt. This allows you to bring them back home without them counting against your personal exemption – but in this case it also shows you have no intent to leave them in the USA.

  • you may want to mark the items with a sticker or marker that says “For demonstration purposes only, not for resale”

But both are rather overkill for items of such small value. It’d be more a concern if your tools cost over $2k and looked like they were packaged for resale.

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