After doing some reading
- Formal - Commercial goods valued over $2,000. IMPORTANT!: $2,000 NON invoice value, but Customs value. Must have a bond.
- Informal - (1) Commercial goods under $2,000; (2) Any noncommercial goods regardless of value. (3) U.S. goods return valued under $10,000. No bond required.
non-commercial goods are like personal effects or household goods.
However, commercial goods under $2500 can qualify as informal. Customs and Border Patrol can at their discretion declare any shipment as needing a Formal Declaration. Customs value is determined by classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedules.
Actual duty amount cannot be determined until the shipment has been processed by Customs.