WASHINGTON— As summer comes to a close and the school year draws near, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reminds travelers to be a “ReadyTraveler” this Labor Day by educating themselves on the rules and regulations relating to international travel.
CBP encourages travelers to plan ahead and ensure they have a valid, acceptable travel document, such as a passport, a U.S. passport card, a trusted traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST/EXPRES), a permanent resident card and/or an enhanced driver’s license.
CBP continues to create a more efficient, passenger-centric international arrivals experience at our ports of entry. More than three million travelers are now enrolled in CBP’s trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI and last year CBP launched the Automated Passport Control program, self-service kiosks that allow U.S. citizens and certain visitors to submit their customs declaration electronically. The I-94 was also automated last year eliminating another paper international travelers have to complete. These programs allow CBP officers to process travelers safely and efficiently while enhancing security.
Travelers can monitor wait times of land border crossings at bwt.cbp.gov. The information is updated hourly and can be useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use/short waits.
Travelers can take additional steps to smooth their arrivals process by familiarizing themselves with U.S. rules and regulations before departing to avoid potential penalties and fines. A downloadable checklist is available that can be accessed on your smartphone or device so you can be a “ReadyTraveler” when traveling internationally.
Travel Requirements for U.S. Citizens
Individuals traveling abroad must have approved travel documents when returning home. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires U.S. and Canadian citizens, age 16 and older to present a valid, acceptable travel document, such as a passport, a U.S. passport card, a trusted traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry or FAST/EXPRES), permanent resident card or an enhanced driver’s license that denotes both identity and citizenship when entering the U.S. by land or sea. U.S. and Canadian citizens under age 16 may present a birth certificate or alternative proof of citizenship when entering by land or sea. All travelers must have a passport for international air travel.
Travel Requirements for Visitors to the U.S.
All nationals or citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries are required to have an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. under the VWP. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, and once approved, generally will be valid for up to two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first. Authorizations will be valid for multiple entries into the United States. CBP recommends ESTA applications be submitted as soon as an applicant begins making travel plans.