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CBP Encourages Summer International Travelers to ‘Know Before You Go’

Release Date: 
May 26, 2017

*Editor’s note: links to still photo and video products are included at the bottom of this release.

BALTIMORE – As Memorial Day signals the unofficial start to summer and schools spring our children free until about Labor Day, families are anxious to take vacations to exotic and historic destinations around the world.  Last summer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processed more than 108.3 million international travelers at U.S. ports of entry.

CBP officers facilitate lawful international travel and enforce U.S. customs, immigration, agriculture and other laws
CBP officers facilitate lawful
international travel and enforce U.S.
customs, immigration, and other laws.

CBP officers in the Baltimore Field Office operational area encourage you to “Know Before You Go” with these travel tips that can help make your travel abroad and your return to the U.S. quick and easy.

  1. Make sure that you have all appropriate travel documentation for the location you are visiting.  Some countries require a travel visa to enter and some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip.  Learn more about travel documentation before you depart the U.S.
  2. Know what to expect during your CBP arrivals inspection when you return.  U.S. citizens can now process their arrivals on Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks at many U.S. airports, or by using the Mobile Passport Control (MPC) application on your smartphone; click on the MPC link to see the 21 airports where MPC is available.  These self-processing features allow you to complete the administrative portion of your arrival, which speeds up the time you wait to see a CBP officer.
  3. Know what products you cannot bring back to the U.S.  This webpage discusses everything from foods to medicines, and cultural artifacts to hunting trophies.
  4. CBP officers have the authority to inspect you and your belongings without a warrant to enforce U.S. laws.  Truthfully declare to a CBP officer everything you bring back to the U.S., even if you purchased a souvenir or food at a duty free shop.  There are consequences for filing a false declaration.
  5. Explore CBP’s trusted traveler programs, such as Nexus (northern land border), Sentri (southern land border) and Global Entry (aviation), that allow expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.  Participation is voluntary, and processing your arrivals admission is fast and easy.

“Customs and Border Protection wants to ensure that families enjoy a smooth and efficient processing experience upon their return home from vacation,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP Director of Field Operations in Baltimore, the agency’s operational commander in the Mid-Atlantic region.  “Knowing how the arrivals inspection process works and the rules governing what you can and cannot bring into the United States will help you to get home quicker.”

The Baltimore Field Office operations region includes Washington Dulles International Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, and Pittsburgh International Airport, plus the Cruise Maryland Terminal in Baltimore.

For more helpful CBP travel advice, visit CBP's Travel section.

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.

“The United States has been and continues to be a welcoming country, and Customs and Border Protection remains committed to facilitating lawful travel to the United States,” said Acting CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “In the spirit of this commitment, CBP has deployed innovative programs and technology including Trusted Traveler 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’s Office of Field Operations

Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the U.S.  In screening both foreign visitors and returning U.S. citizens, CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong.  Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2016.

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations.  Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.

Photos: downloadable still photos are available at CBP’s Flickr.

Video: downloadable videos in English are available at the following CBP DVIDS links. Search CBP’s DVIDS Travel videos for these videos in various languages.

Last modified: 
June 8, 2017