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Frequently Asked Questions from Congressional Staffers

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The  Frequently Asked Questions reflect the inquires most often received at the Office of Congressional Affairs from congressional staffers. These FAQs are organized by topic to provide quick access to procedural information, commonly requested links, and other guidance designed to assist staffers in congressional offices. If you cannot find the information you seek, please visit U.S. Customs and Border Protection Info Center, where you can create an account, ask specific questions, and receive notifications when the FAQs are updated or new topics posted. You can also contact the Office of Congressional Affairs at: (202) 344-1760 or OCAInquiry@cbp.dhs.gov.

General CBP Questions

Where can I find U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics for things like apprehensions and seizures?

We publish our statistics on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Statistics page. This page contains statistics for all three of CBP's law enforcement agencies: Air and Marine Operations, U.S. Border Patrol, and the Office of Field Operations.

What does the Office of Trade do?

The Office of Trade administers trade policy by collecting duties and enforcing remedies to ensure a level playing field for American businesses. The Office of Trade has identified high-risk areas that could cause significant revenue loss, harm the U.S. economy, or threaten the safety of American people. For information, go to the Office of Trade's Priority Issues page.

Where can I find information about Air and Marine Operations?

Air and Marine Operations (AMO) is the world’s largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization. It is a critical component of CBP’s layered enforcement strategy. For additional information about AMO, please visit the Air and Marine Operations Missions page.

How can I find out what items I can and cannot take with me when I travel?

Visit CBP's Know Before You Visit page for information on prohibited and restricted items as well as Trusted Traveler programs. 

Where can I find ports of entry locations and wait times?

The Know Before You Go page shows port locations. For airport wait times, go to CBP’s Airport Wait Times page; for land border wait times, go to CBP's Border Wait Times page.

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 Applicant Portal.

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 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: NEXUSSENTRIFAST, and Global Entry.

Can the CBP Office of Congressional Affairs schedule Global Entry interview appointments?

Unfortunately, CBP's Office of Congressional Affairs is not able to schedule appointments for applicants of the Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program. However, there are several options, explained below, for making an appointment at Global Entry enrollment at centers across the United States. Please note that no matter what option is chosen, an appointment time must be selected on the Trusted Traveler Programs website by the candidate within 30 days of receiving the conditional approval notice. The applicant may log in to the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) website and book an appointment using the online scheduling function. From this website, an appointment can be booked at any Global Entry enrollment center in the United States and for any available time slot. If no appointments are available for the timeframe desired, the applicant should feel free to seek an alternative enrollment center location based on proximity or on layovers in other cities. As a last resort, and with international travel booked, an applicant may call an enrollment center to determine if walk-in hours are available or to ask if cancellations are imminent. Please be aware that an applicant's delayed enrollment into Global Entry does not prohibit international travel. Please feel free to reach out to the Office of Congressional Affairs with any questions.

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.

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. However, it is possible that one or more of the destination countries on your itinerary may require a passport to enter. In those instances, the cruise lines would require passengers  to have a valid passport in order to board even if it is not a U.S. requirement. You should check with your cruise ship, travel agent, and destination country to confirm the requirements to enter the foreign countries you will visit.

Last modified: 
Monday, August 30, 2021 - 10:24
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