With "Thanks!" to Chester Ng:
so i stumbled across this article about photographers traveling abroad that caught my eye.
if you don't want to have to pay double duty on your equipment (and any of your other stuff), it would be wise to register all your belongings before you leave the U.S.
problem is you have to fill out a separate form for each and every piece of gear you want to declare.
and then take ALL of your stuff and paperwork down to the nearest port of entry office so they can verify it and stamp the certificates.
and then you have to carry all of this original paperwork with you so you have it should customs decide to inspect your stuff, because they don't keep copies nor enter all this data into their system. what a royal PITA! i think these certificates are reusable so you don't have to repeat this process every time you travel abroad. thank god for the paper reduction act. :-)