Know Before You Go: US border protection urges passengers to be prepared

Know Before You Go: US border protection urges passengers to be prepared

Anybody expecting a quick trip through a US airport knows to be prepared.

Long queues, surly border guards, and exasperated passengers are the norm.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

As the busiest three months of international travel approach, US Customs & Border Protection is encouraging travellers to ‘Know Before You Go’ when traveling to the United States.

CBP officers at international airports, cruise terminals and land border ports of entry around the country and at preclearance facilities around the world are prepared for the additional traffic expected this summer.

Last summer, CBP processed more than 108 million international travellers at US ports of entry.

“The United States has been and continues to be a welcoming country and CBP remains committed to facilitating lawful travel to the United States,” said CBP acting commissioner Kevin McAleenan.

“In the spirit of this commitment, CBP has deployed innovative programs and technology including Trusted Traveller programs, automated passport control kiosks and mobile passport control to make the arrival process as efficient and as quick as possible while maintaining our dual mission of border security and travel facilitation.”

CBP encourages travellers to plan ahead to ensure a smooth and efficient processing experience.

Use these tips to help you prepare:

  • Travel Documents: Travellers should have appropriate passports and any other associated travel documents ready when approaching a CBP officer for processing or visiting a foreign country. Find out more information about approved travel documents for entry into the US as well as country specific information here. Remember to carry these documents with you, do not pack them.
  • Familiarise yourself with automated passport control and mobile passport control: These two programs are making the entry process more efficient, intuitive and paperless for travellers. Learn which option works best for you and speed up your entry into the United States. APC expedites the entry process for most international travellers by allowing them to submit their biographic information and answers to inspection-related questions electronically at self-service kiosks located at 49 airports worldwide.
  • Declare goods: Truthfully declare everything you are bringing from abroad including duty-free items. If duty is applicable, credit cards or cash payment in US currency is acceptable.
  • Apply and pay for an I-94 online: Speed up your entry into the US by providing your biographic and travel information and paying the $6 fee for the I-94 application online at up to seven days prior to entry.
  • Monitor border wait times:Download the Border Wait Time app or use the border crossings wait times website to plan your trip across the border. Know which ports of entry have heavier traffic and possibly use an alternate route.
  • Declare gifts: Gift you bring back for your personal use must be declared, but you may include them in your personal exemption. This includes gifts people gave you while you were out of the country and gifts you have brought back for others.
  • Travelling with medication: Travellers must declare all medicine and similar products when entering the United States. Prescription medications should be in their original containers with the doctor’s prescription printed on the container. It is advised that you travel with no more than personal use quantities, a rule of thumb is no more than a 90 day supply. 
  • Report travelling with $10,000 or more: There is no limit to how much currency you may take in or out of the United States; however, US federal law requires you to report your total currency of $10,000 or more. Currency includes all forms of monetary instruments. Travellers who fail to truthfully report all of their currency risk their currency being seized, and may face criminal charges.

CBP’s mission is to facilitate travel while maintaining the highest standards of security for those who live here and for those who come to visit. 

On a typical day last year, CBP officers processed more than one million travellers arriving airports, seaports or border crossings. 

During the holiday season, travellers should expect heavy traffic.

Planning ahead and adopting these travel tips can save time and lead to a less stressful trip.