Anyone have experience buying/importing guitar from EU to US?

Buying a used guitar from someone in EU, it has some rosewood (but not brazilian) but it's used and made before 2017 (which should technically mean non-Brazilian rosewood is fine).

1) What forms might I need to fill out or have the seller fill out? I've seen mentions of guitar passports, CITES docs, etc? Do I need to apply for them in US, or over in EU before sending it over?

2) Safest / best way to ship to USA? VAT? Duties?

3) The seller might be able to have someone bring it to USA instead as luggage. What forms would that person need to make sure they get through customs? I've seen that if you're carrying it as luggage then the limit for rosewood is alot less.

Thanks for any help or tips, really hard to figure out what horror stories of losing guitars at customs are from people that did stuff wrong versus being prepared.


  • JoseJose Minneapolis New DuPont MD 50
    Posts: 49

    I know this is an old post but I was looking for same info and found this useful video.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,313

    Jose I got 2 guitars shipped from in Germany no problem.

  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 859

    had a guitar shipped recently from the Czech Republic...sent it by way of eventually USPS, took nearly 3 months to get here. UPS would have been faster but way more expensive and you will deal with customs on top of that. A lot depends on what country it is coming from.

  • JoseJose Minneapolis New DuPont MD 50
    edited September 2020 Posts: 49

    Yeah thanks! I was going to buy a 1999 Olivier Marin, actually I paid for it, right before shipping I contacted Mr. Marin to get some specs about the guitar just to find out it had Brazilian Rosewood, I got worried because I Know it is a protected wood species and you need CITES documentation for importing to the US, the dealer in Spain wasn’t able to get it and MR. Marin doesn’t have any documentation for the rosewood origin but recalls buying before prohibition in 1992 but without documentation the guitar could get seized by customs.

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