Effective January 7, 2013, US Customs will increase the threshold value to $2,500 for merchandise to qualify for “informal entry” treatment.
From the Federal Register website:
Currently, for any merchandise valued over $2,000, CBP requires importers to provide a surety bond, complete CBP form 7501, and pay a minimum of $25 in Merchandise Processing Fees (MPF). The final rule increases the limit, from $2,000 to $2,500, for which merchandise may qualify for an “informal entry”, thereby eliminating the need for a surety bond, expediting the customs clearance process, and reducing the required MPF amount to $2 (assuming the entries are filed electronically). CBP is increasing the informal entry limit to mitigate the effects of inflation and in addition, to meet a commitment of the Beyond the Border Initiative between the United States and Canada, to increase and harmonize the value thresholds to $2,500 for expedited customs clearance from the current levels of $2,000 for the United States and $1,600 for Canada.