Bringing Alcohol into Hawaii from Japan: Restrictions and Regulations

When it comes to bringing alcohol into Hawaii from Japan, there are certain restrictions and regulations that must be followed. On international flights, travelers can carry a maximum of 1.5 liters of alcohol without paying taxes. However, alcoholic beverages cannot be consumed on board the aircraft unless served by a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant. When importing alcoholic beverages, they are considered for personal use as long as the total quantity is 10 kg or less.

Adults (people 21 years of age or older) who bring alcoholic beverages to Hawaii for commercial or business purposes must have a license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). Those who bring alcoholic beverages to Hawaii for personal or household use do not need an alcoholic beverage license; however, some restrictions apply. Adults traveling to Hawaii from a foreign country by steamboat or plane can carry a reasonable amount of alcoholic beverages for personal or household use. A reasonable amount is not more than 60 liters (approximately five cases).

It should be noted that “common carriers” do not include taxis or tourist buses that cross the international border. Adult residents from other states entering Hawaii from a foreign country can arrange for their baggage containing alcoholic beverages to be continuously transported through Hawaii through a common carrier. The traveler is not allowed to consume alcoholic beverages within Hawaii borders. When a service member moves their household items from a foreign country to Hawaii as part of a permanent change of destination, they can only include alcoholic beverages if they are for personal or household use.

The Department has no objection if alcoholic beverages are physically included with other household items, such as clothing and furniture, or if they are shipped separately. An adult member of the United States Armed Forces, who was or is serving outside the United States, can send the duty free quantity of four liters (three liters of which must have been manufactured or bottled in the United States) to Hawaii. However, if unaccompanied, alcoholic beverages must be shipped through a common carrier and shipped to an authorized importer in Hawaii. For more information, contact your local California State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control office.

Any person who intends to import alcoholic beverages to supply them for consumption in self-owned establishments must submit the declaration on the importation of food, etc. If you intend to have a large quantity of alcohol shipped to you for personal use, CBP suggests that you contact the entry branch of the port through which your shipment will enter the United States to discuss your situation in advance.

Derrick Barile
Derrick Barile

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