WASHINGTON – International travel this holiday season is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this holiday season, making preparation even more important. To simplify the travel experience, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is hosting a Facebook live event Monday at 2:00 p.m
During the event, a panel of experts from the CBP Office of Field Operations will provide live answers to CBP-related travel questions. Topics include travel tips to improve the travel experience, including:
1. Prepare your documents. Before traveling to the United States or returning from a trip abroad, travelers should:
- A valid US passport and ID card.
- Be prepared to provide any other documents requested by the CBP officer.
- Although a Global Entry card is not required, Trusted Travelers are advised to have their cards with them in case they are asked for them.
2. Facial Biometrics. Travelers should be prepared to have their photo taken by a CBP officer during enhanced immigration screening. Travelers, known as Simplified Arrivals, now have their identities verified through a secure, non-contact biometric facial recognition process, further securing and streamlining travel and entry into the United States. The biometric facial comparison takes only a few seconds and is more than 98 percent accurate while protecting the privacy of travelers. US citizens can voluntarily participate in facial biometrics, but the procedure is required for most non-US citizens. For more information on CBP’s use of facial biometrics and the opt-out process for US citizens, click here.
3. Research your travel destination. US citizens planning to travel outside of the United States on vacation should visit www.state.gov/travelers for information on international travel destinations. Every country has its own COVID.D-19 and safety restrictions, so researching this information early makes the travel experience easier.
4. Mobile Applications. Travelers are encouraged to use CBP’s free mobile applications to reduce wait times. US citizens and Canadian B1/B2 visitors can download Mobile Passport Control to submit their passport and travel information using a mobile device so their information is instantly available for future international travel. In addition, non-US citizens traveling to or entering the United States may download the CBP One mobile application to apply for an I-94 up to seven days prior to travel. CBP One can also be used to provide advance notification when travelers require agricultural and organic produce inspection upon arrival at a United States airport. Categories to declare include:
· Biological materials that may require United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approvals
· Pets, especially birds and dogs, accompanying travelers in various capacities that have the potential to introduce foreign animal diseases into the United States or have other public health concerns
· Cleaning and disinfecting shoes
· hunting trophies
Both applications can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
5. Prepare your ESTA or I-94. Although an approved electronic travel authorization system is not a requirement for entering the United States through a land border, Visa Waiver Program citizens and nationals must have an active ESTA in order to use the CBP One I-94 application facility. CBP encourages these travelers to obtain an approved ESTA to take advantage of the time savings offered by using CBP One or the CBP I-94 website. With an ESTA, these travelers can apply for their I-94 prior to arrival and do not need to complete an I-94W form at the port of entry.
6. Sign your food, cash and memorabilia. Both US citizens and non-citizens must declare anything they bring into the United States from abroad, even if it was purchased from a duty-free shop. Some items such as ivory, tortoiseshell products, and certain foods and plants are prohibited in the United States. Visit the US Department of Agriculture website for more information. Some groceries, goods, and cash totaling $10,000 or more may enter the United States but must be declared on a US CBP Customs Form. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines and the loss of your property.
7. Avoid fakes. Be careful when shopping from street vendors or other illegal businesses while on vacation. These items often support criminal activity, violate intellectual property rights, and may be unsafe for consumers. More information on intellectual property rights can be found here. Note that CBP officers can inspect you and your belongings without a warrant.
8. Consider duty exemptions. Items brought abroad for personal use or as gifts are exempt from duty. If you bring them back for resale, they are not duty free. More information on duty exemptions can be found here.
9. Consider your medication. Be careful to travel with medication. Many foreign-made drugs are not approved for use in the United States and are not licensed in the country. When traveling abroad, bring only the medicines you need and make sure they are in the original packaging.
CBP’s Facebook Live event is open to the public. For more information on CBP’s international travel activities, see CBP on Twitter or visit the CBP website.