Customs and Border Protection is providing key travel tips to help international travelers prepare for this busy holiday travel season. CBP processes more than one million passengers and pedestrians on a daily basis at the nation’s 327 air, land and sea ports of entry.
“The holiday season is a busy time for international travel,” said CBP Commissioner W. Ralph Basham. “We want to help ensure your entry into the United States is a positive experience. We take our role in facilitating legitimate trade and travel very seriously and want to make sure travelers have all the resources and information necessary to make their traveling experience a positive one.”
CBP offers some travel tips for your visit or return to the United States:
CBP recommends the Global Entry pilot program for frequent international travelers. Global Entry is a new program to allow approved U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the U.S. to use the Global Entry kiosk as an alternative to the regular passport control line. At the kiosk, Global Entry members will activate the system by inserting their U.S. passport or lawful permanent resident card into a document reader. The kiosk will direct travelers to provide digital fingerprints and will compare that biometric data with the fingerprints on file.
- Make sure that you have all the required travel documents for the countries you are visiting, as well as identification for re-entry to the United States. A passport is required for returning U.S. citizens when flying internationally.
- Know the rules and regulations concerning food and agricultural items before you travel, as some are prohibited or must meet certain requirements, such as a license or permit. In addition, all live birds and bird products, whether for personal or commercial use, may be restricted and/or quarantined.
- Make sure you follow the directions on the CBP Customs Declaration form and fill out both sides.
- When you arrive at a port of entry in the United States you will be inspected by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. Be prepared to tell the officer the purpose of your trip and those items that you purchased or obtained abroad.
- If you are headed overseas, learn about the country or countries you are visiting and any local conditions that might affect your trip by consulting the U.S Department of State.
- U.S. travelers crossing at land ports of entry are urged to apply now for their passport card, SENTRI, NEXUS or FAST card or enhanced driver’s license from participating states, all of which incorporate a new vicinity RFID chip.
- As a visitor to the U.S., when you depart be sure that the airline ticket agent collects your I-94 form and (where available) ‘check out’ at an automated exit kiosk.
As of Jan. 31, CBP no longer accepts only an oral declaration of citizenship. All individuals entering the country at land and sea ports of entry, from within the Western Hemisphere, must have documentary proof of identity and citizenship. Documents that can be used to gain entry into the U.S. include official passports, passport cards and copies of birth certificates along with government-issued photo identification, enhanced driver’s licenses, SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST cards.