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Are Machetes Illegal? Guide to Owning, Shipping, and Traveling with a Machete

Owning a Machete:

According to the US government, machetes are classified not as weapons but as agricultural tools. The biggest differentiation is that machetes are generally only sharpened on one side of the blade, unlike stabbing knives and swords, which are classified as weapons. Therefore, in spite of their fearsome reputation, there is really very little regulation of machetes, and nobody should fear owning one.


It pays to be discreet. Make sure any points are well covered and that no movement is discernible in your package. We usually try to use descriptions like "edge tools" or "hewing tools" when shipping to prevent undo inspection.

For machetes, the Harmonized Code is 8201.40.0000 for Axes, bill hooks, and similar hewing tools, including machetes. These items are duty free when importing into the US. Non-wood handles are often less troublesome in terms of clearing customs than wood handles, which can harbor invasive species.

Sheaths are classified under Harmonized Code 4202.02.0000 and have duties into the US between 4.5 and 7% depending on the sheath material. It pays to ship the sheath as part of the machete as in "machete and sheath" to save on tariffs.


Machetes can be bought in foreign countries and brought to the US without much difficulty, again due to their being considered "agricultural tools." Obviously, the machete must be placed in the checked luggage and cannot be carried-on.