Los Angeles - December is traditionally one of the busiest travel times for international passengers, but you can avoid long lines and delays if you plan ahead and follow simple traveler tips recommended this morning by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the Los Angeles International Airport.
If you are traveling abroad, returning home or visiting the United States or its territories, make sure that you have the proper travel documentation, both for the country you are visiting, as well as for your return. For example, a passport is now required for all U.S. citizens returning to the United States by air and by land.
To avoid long passport lines at LAX, U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents can enroll in Global Entry, a CBP trusted traveler program. "It is amazing, it's like going to an ATM machine, you swipe your passport or resident card, the machine verifies your biometrics and in less than five minutes you are out of the terminal," said CBP Area Port Director Carlos Martel.
In Los Angeles approximately 2,400 members have been enrolled in the program. Global Entry kiosks at LAX have been used more than 7,300 times. Travelers must be pre-approved to participate in the program and pay a non-refundable application fee of $100 good for five years.
Passengers should declare everything they are bringing from abroad, and be cautious when buying something from a street vendor. All travelers should be aware that foreign-made medications are not FDA-approved, and you cannot bring them into the U.S. All live birds and birds' products, whether for personal or commercial use, may be restricted and/or quarantined.
If you are a visitor, the CBP officer may require you to provide your biometrics, digital finger scans and photograph, to verify your identity against your travel documents. All travelers should be prepared for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Have all documents completely filled out and ready to present to the officer, this will expedite the process.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.