U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today launched a traveler awareness campaign
to inform the millions of Americans and U.S. residents who will travel abroad
this holiday season.
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection is committed to making sure that your
vacation and business travel is as safe and stress free as possible,” stated
Commissioner Robert C. Bonner. “U.S. citizens vacationing abroad can make
their own travel easier by taking a few extra minutes to 'Know Before You Go."
"Travelers should also be aware," Commissioner Bonner continued, "that
the United States and its citizens are targets for terrorists. While CBP is taking
every necessary step to protect our country, employing a highly trained work force
with the latest technology, we need an alert and vigilant citizenry to report
to enforcement authorities any unusual or suspicious activity. We ask you to be
our partners in ensuring a safe, secure and enjoyable holiday season."
To learn about the rules for bringing back purchases made and gifts received abroad,
travelers should read Know Before You Go, available at www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel.
Here is a brief overview of U.S. Customs and Border Protection requirements.
This is only a brief overview of U.S. Customs and Border Protection requirements.
The brochure, Know Before You Go, describes the rules in detail. A copy of this
brochure can be ordered on CBP's web site at http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/publications/order/.
You may also call and request a copy from U.S. Customs and Border Protection in
Washington, D.C., at 1-877-CBP-5511 or 202-354-1000.
- If you are a U.S. citizen returning to the United States from outside of
the Western Hemisphere, e.g., Europe, Asia, Africa, or Australia, you must
present a valid passport. If you are a U.S. citizen traveling inside the Western
Hemisphere, e.g., North, Central or South America, it is highly recommended
that you carry any proof of citizenship that clearly establishes identity
and nationality, such as a passport (valid or expired), a Certificate of Citizenship
or Certificate of Naturalization, or a birth certificate or baptismal certificate
and a photo I.D.
- If you are a non-citizen who is a lawful permanent resident of the United
States, you must present a permanent resident card ("green card,"
Form I-551), a reentry permit, or a refugee travel document endorsed to reflect
permanent resident status.
- If you are in the process of applying for lawful permanent residence in
the United States, you must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document,
and receive permission to travel outside the United States, BEFORE leaving
the United States (advance parole).
- You must declare the total value of all articles acquired abroad and in
your possession at the time you return. This includes articles you bought;
gifts you received; repairs, or alterations made while you were out of the
United States; and any items you brought home for someone else.
- If you have food items or souvenirs made of straw or other plant-derived
materials or seeds, you must declare them on the CBP declaration form. Here's
why: certain items brought into this country from foreign countries may harbor
foreign animal and plant pests and diseases that could seriously damage America's
crops, livestock, pets, and the environment. All meats, fruits, vegetables,
plants, animals, and plant and animal products, soup or soup products in your
possession must be declared and presented for inspection. This declaration
must cover all items carried in checked baggage and carry-on luggage. If the
items are found to have pests or be diseased, or are from an area where certain
diseases are occurring, they will be seized and destroyed under government
supervision. Travelers who fail to declare plant and animal products can be
fined up to $1,000 or more and have their items confiscated. You should also
declare if you have been on a farm or in close proximity to livestock. If
you have, we will want to examine your shoes for dirt or animal matter that
could harbor foot-and-mouth disease or other dangers to U.S. livestock.
- Your duty-free exemption is $800 if you are a returning U.S. resident and
the items you acquired abroad accompany you. The duty-free exemption is $600
if you are returning directly from a Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act
country. The exemption is $1,200 if you are returning from American Samoa,
Guam, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Gifts you mailed from abroad to people in the United States can be received
by them free of duty if the value of the gift does not exceed $100.
- The articles you purchased in “duty-free” shops, or on a plane
or ship, are subject to duty and other restrictions. Articles you bought in
American duty-free shops are subject to duty and IRS tax if reentered into
the United States.
- There is no limitation on the amount of monetary instruments that may be
brought into or taken out of the United States. If you take out or bring in
more than $10,000 in currency or negotiable instruments you must file a report
(FinCen 105) with CBP.