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CBP in Maine Offers Tips to Cross-Border Travelers during Holiday Season

Release Date: 
November 22, 2011

Madawaska, Maine - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agriculture specialists throughout Maine are providing guidance to assist cross-border travelers who intend to travel between the U.S. and Canada for the upcoming holiday season. The tips are designed to ease the crossing process for travelers as CBP officers and agriculture specialists maintain their principal anti-terror mission.

CBP officers and agriculture specialists in Maine 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 serve 24/7 to protect our northern border.

CBP officers and agriculture specialists will treat each person equally throughout each step of the inspection process. Be cognizant that while each officer is upholding the law and fulfilling their duty to protect America, each traveler also serves a very important role in the process.

In an effort to provide the best possible service, CBP officials are reminding the traveling public that there are a number of steps they can take to safely, quickly, and legally cross the border. To assist travelers in their role, CBP has provided some basic border travel tips. For more information, please visit "Know Before You Go" available on CBP's Web site.

1) Have your documents ready - Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Individuals should have their crossing documents, i.e. valid passport, passport card, NEXUS card, "green card" or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) acceptable document, readily available. Specific information can be found by visiting the WHTI Web site.

2) Vehicle occupants should end cellular conversations before approaching the port. Cell phone usage slows down the inspection process and causes delays for everyone in line.

3) Goods and gifts - When crossing the border, each vehicle and its contents are subject to search. Please keep this in mind when transporting gifts for special occasions and the holidays. To avoid fines and penalties, returning residents must remember to declare everything purchased or acquired outside of the United States. Likewise, those visiting the U.S. must declare any article to be left in the states. If duty is applicable, credit cards or cash payment in U.S. currency is acceptable.

4) Food items - Prepared foods for personal consumption or for family/friend gatherings is permitted. If bringing food items for resale or for commercial holiday parties, contact your local CBP office or go to the FDA website for more information. If you plan to cross the border with fresh meats, fruits, or vegetables, and you're not sure if they are allowed into the United States, please check with your local CBP office before arrival. To locate the nearest CBP office, please visit the CBP Web site.

5) Trees/Wreaths - Though many Christmas trees/wreaths sold commercially in the U.S. originate in Canada, personal importation of these items may require agricultural documentation. Again, it is always best to check with your local CBP office if you have any questions.

6) Firewood - When roasting chestnuts on an open fire during the holidays, please remember that effective Jan. 1, 2009, all firewood is prohibited from entering the U.S. unless it has been properly "treated." Contact your local CBP office for more information.

7) Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms - In addition to federal laws, travelers entering the U.S. at Maine ports of entry are also subject to state laws that govern alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. 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 restrictions apply.

8) Pets - Cats and dogs must be free of disease and illness when entering the U.S. Dog owners must be able to show proof of rabies vaccination. If crossing with a puppy for Christmas, certain paperwork will need to be completed at the border for the new addition to the family. Contact your local CBP office for more information.

9) Medicine/Narcotics - Travelers must declare medications at the border. All valid non-expired prescription medications must 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.

10) 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). Failure to properly declare or report the importation or exportation of currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 could result in seizure.

11) Border Wait Times - Heavy traffic and long lines can delay travel. Border wait times are available online and travelers planning to cross at one of Maine's busier ports are encouraged to check traffic conditions prior to arrival. Wait times are updated hourly and can help to identify the best time to cross. Wait times are available at the Border Wait Times website.

Following these simple travel tips will minimize processing time and help avoid unexpected delays in your travel during the holiday season.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021