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Frequently Asked Questions from Congressional Offices

The questions and answers below are Frequently Asked Questions received by the Office of Congressional Affairs. For additional U.S. Customs and Border Protection FAQs, please visit U.S. Customs and Border Protection Info Center. At the Info Center, you can ask questions and create an account so that you are automatically notified when new questions or information about a topic are posted. You can also contact the Office of Congressional Affairs at: (202) 344-1760 or OCAInquiry@cbp.dhs.gov.


General Agency Questions

  • Where can I obtain U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics for apprehensions, seizures, etc.?
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection generally releases prior fiscal year statistics in mid-December.

Constituent Services

  • What is the pre-employment process for applicants?
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) protects the public against terrorists and the instruments of terror. All applicants undergo a pre-employment process which includes a background investigation. Please visit the Careers section of the CBP website for additional information.
  • What should I do if a constituent needs a status on his or her CBP employment application?
    The Office of Congressional Affairs does not have the ability to find out the status of a CBP employment application. Please direct the constituent to CBP's Central Applicant Self-Service (CASS) and click on "Check the Status of Your Application."
  • What do I do if a company approaches the Member's office about conducting business with CBP?
    Please feel free to provide the Office of Congressional Affairs with contact information for the company along with one or two sentences on the company's services or production. More information on How to Do Business with CBP is available online.
  • A constituent has expressed an issue with a CBP employee or facility. What steps can they take to file a complaint?
    Members of the public can submit a complaint electronically through CBP's Information Center. You can also contact the Office of Congressional Affairs for further assistance.
  • A constituent has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request but has not received a response. How can I help? 
    The FOIA office processes requests in the order in which they are received; due to the volume and nature of some requests this process can take some time. The Office of Congressional Affairs can confirm receipt of a FOIA request; however, we cannot expedite it through the process. We appreciate your constituent's patience as we work towards the completion of the request. They will receive a response directly from the FOIA office. If necessary, the constituent can contact CBP's FOIA Office directly at (202) 325-0150. Additional FOIA information is available on the CBP Website.
  • I have been told that CBP is holding my constituent's container at the request of another agency. What does this mean and how should I address the underlying concern?
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforces the regulations of over 40 federal agencies at Ports of Entry across the U.S. Frequently, CBP acts on behalf of another agency to detain suspect shipments while inspections are performed and products are tested. CBP is always happy to provide status updates on these held shipments, but it would also help to contact the agency requesting this hold.

Travel and Trusted Traveler Programs

  • What is humanitarian parole and how can you apply?
    Humanitarian parole is used sparingly to bring someone who is otherwise inadmissible into the United States for a temporary period of time due to a compelling emergency. CBP's INFO Center contains additional information on humanitarian parole and how to apply. 
  • Do I need a passport to go on a cruise?
    Most cruises beginning and ending in the same location are considered "closed-loop," meaning they begin and end at the same port in the United States and travel within the Western Hemisphere. U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises are able to enter or depart the country on the cruise with proof of citizenship, as required by WHTI. However, it is possible that one or more of the destination countries on your itinerary requires a passport to enter their country. In that case, the cruise line would require that passengers have a valid passport to board, even if it is not a U.S. requirement. You should always check with your cruise ship, travel agent, and destination country to confirm the requirements for entry into the foreign countries you will be visiting.
  • What is a Trusted Traveler?
    CBP's Trusted Traveler Programs provide expedited travel for pre-approved, low risk travelers through dedicated lanes and kiosks. There are four U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Programs: NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST, and Global Entry.
  • I am a CBP Global Entry member. How do I participate in the TSA Pre Program?
    TSA Pre✓™ application program members and U.S. citizens who are currently enrolled in Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI or Canadian citizens who are members of NEXUS, as well as other individuals who already have a Known Traveler Number (KTN), are eligible to participate in TSA Pre✓™. Please visit the TSA website for additional information.
  • My application for a Trusted Traveler Program has been denied. Where can I get information on how to appeal the decision?
    In the event you are denied or revoked from the SENTRI, NEXUS or FAST or Global Entry programs, you will be provided a letter detailing the reason for this action and guidance on how to seek additional information, if necessary. Please visit CBP's Trusted Traveler Program Denials page on the CBP website for information on requesting reconsideration.

Border Patrol

  • Where can I find information about the Border Patrol's latest Strategic Plan?
    Information about the U.S. Border Patrol and the 2012-2016 Strategic Plan is available on the CBP website. Please contact the Office of Congressional Affairs with any questions.
  • Where can I find Border Patrol statistics?
    Information on apprehension, staffing, budget, and fence maps can be found on the CBP website under Along U.S. Borders.

Office of Air and Marine

  • Where can I find information about U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine?
    The Office of Air and Marine (OAM) is the world’s largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization, and is a critical component of CBP’s layers enforcement strategy. For additional information about OAM’s mission, operations, and assets, please visit the Air and Marine pages on the CBP website.
  • How is CBP using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in their operations?
    CBP’s UAS program focuses operations on the CBP priority mission of anti-terrorism by helping to identify and intercept potential terrorists and illegal cross-border activity. The system also supports disaster relief efforts of its Department of Homeland Security partners, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard. Additional information on CBP’s unmanned aircraft system program is available on the CBP website on the National Strategic Aircraft pages.

Field Operations and Port Security

  • Where can I find ports of entry locations and wait times?
    CBP’s website contains valuable Field Operations and Port Security information including agriculture inspections, cargo examinations, and immigration inspection.
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