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CBP Offers Tips to Expedite Cross-Border

Release Date: 
April 11, 2014

ST. ALBANS, Vt. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agriculture specialists throughout Vermont and New Hampshire are providing guidance to assist cross-border travelers who intend to travel between the U.S. and Canada. The tips are designed to ease the crossing process for travelers as CBP officers and agriculture specialists maintain their principal anti-terrorism mission.

Please know that CBP officers and agriculture specialists in the St. Albans area of operations are here to assist you with your cross-border travels.  These officers are a part of America’s first line of defense and you can have peace of mind knowing these men and women are serving to protect our northern border.

CBP officers and agriculture specialists will treat each person who enters through a port of entry equally throughout each step of the inspection process.  Be cognizant that while each officer is upholding the law and fulfilling their daily duties in protecting America, each traveler also serves a very important role in the process.

In addition to the tips listed below, frequent cross-border travelers are encouraged to participate in the NEXUS program, which allows pre-screened, low-risk travelers to proceed with little or no delay into the United States and Canada. Travelers may apply online at the CBP website or the Canada Border Services Agency website. NEXUS information is also available toll-free at: 1-(866)-NEXUS 26 (1-866-639-8726).

NEXUS currently provides more than 800,000 members expedited processing at dedicated lanes at the border, at NEXUS kiosks at preclearance airports in Canada, and at maritime reporting locations.

For both NEXUS and non-NEXUS members, CBP officials are proactively reminding members of the traveling public that there are a number of steps they can employ to cross the border as quickly and safely as possible while avoiding violations of U.S. law. To assist travelers in their role and expedite travelers at the border, CBP has provided some basic border travel tips. For more information, please visit Know Before You Go.

  • Tip 1 - Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Please have crossing documents available for the inspection including a WHTI approved document for U.S. citizens and nonimmigrant aliens from Canada, Bermuda, and Mexico entering the United States by air, land or sea ports of entry. For more information, please visit WHTI information.
  • Tip 2 - Vehicle occupants should not use cell phones while approaching the port or during the inspection process. Cell phone usage slows down the inspection process and causes delays for everyone in line.
  • Tip 3 - Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms. In addition to federal laws, travelers entering the U.S. at ports of entry are also subject to all state alcohol/tobacco/firearm laws. Often times, state laws can be more restrictive than federal laws. If transporting any of these items, please check with local law enforcement to see if any restrictions apply.
  • Tip 4 - Travelers should build extra time into their trips in the event they cross during periods of exceptionally heavy traffic.
  • Tip 5 - Alternate Routes. During periods of heavy travel, border crossers may wish to consider alternative entry routes. For example, they may want to use the nearby and less heavily traveled Beecher Falls instead of the Derby Line port. For more information on border crossing times, which are updated hourly, please visit the CBP "Border Wait Times" website.
  • Tip 6 - Currency. There is no limit on total amount of monetary instruments that may be brought in or taken out of the U.S. However, if you are transporting more than $10,000 you must file a Report of International Transportation of International Currency or Monetary Instruments (FinCen 105 – this form is available at the port of entry). Failure to properly declare or report the importation or exportation of currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 could result in seizure.
  • Tip 7 - Food items. Prepared foods for personal consumption or for family/friend gatherings is allowed. If bringing food items for resale or for commercial use, go to www.fda.gov or contact your local CBP office for more information. However, if you plan to cross the border with fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables and you are not sure if they are allowed into the United States, please check with your local CBP office before arrival. Be advised the import of the ‘Kinder Chocolate Eggs’ is still prohibited in the United States due to the potential choking hazard of the small toy within the egg, which fails to meet the small parts requirements set forth by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.  
  • Tip 8 - Goods and gifts. When crossing the border, all travelers and vehicles are subject to search. Please keep this in mind when transporting gifts for special occasions. Remember to “declare everything purchased or acquired outside of the United States.” If duty is applicable, credit cards or cash payment in U.S. currency is acceptable.
  • Tip 9 - Medicine/Narcotics. Travelers must declare medications at the border. All valid non-expired prescription medications should be in the original prescription containers with all pertinent information listed on the outside. Narcotics and dangerous drugs are prohibited entry. There are severe civil and/or criminal penalties if imported.
  • Tip 10 - Pets. Cats and dogs must be free of disease and illness when entering the U.S. In addition, dog owners must be able to show proof of rabies vaccination. If crossing with a puppy, certain paperwork will need to be completed at the border for the “new addition to the family.”

The border travel tips will be of assistance in averting any potential frustrations when crossing the border during your travels. If you have questions, you may also contact Daniel Mattina, Port Director, Derby Line at (802) 873-3316 or Ronald Stanley, Port Director, Highgate Springs at (802) 868-2278.  

CBP strongly encourages travelers to obtain a radio frequency identification (RFID) enabled travel document such as a U.S. Passport Card, Enhanced Driver’s License/Enhanced Identification Card or Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST/EXPRES) to expedite their entry and make crossing the border more efficient. 

WHTI compliant, RFID enabled documents help reduce the time it takes to process travelers at the border.  No personal identification information is stored on the RFID chip embedded in the cards – only a series of ones and zeros that points to information in a secure CBP database.

CBP also reminds U.S. lawful permanent residents that the I-551 form (green card) is acceptable for land and sea travel into the U.S.

To determine if you need a visa to enter the United States, please visit the Dept. of State website.

To determine if you need an I-94/94W to enter the United States, please visit the Travel section of the CBP website.