US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

CBP in New England Reminds Travelers What to ‘Know Before You Go’ this Holiday

Release Date: 
December 19, 2017

BOSTON— U.S. Customs and Border Protection reminds travelers to plan ahead and learn about the options and tips available to facilitate their cross border travels during the busy holiday season.

First and foremost, ensure you have an approved radio frequency identification (RFID) enabled travel document. U.S. and Canadian citizens, age 16 and older are required to present a valid travel document, such as a passport, a U.S. passport card, a trusted traveler card, 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 valid passport book for international air travel.

A CBP officer inspects a vehicle at the Derby Line port of entry.
A CBP officer inspects a vehicle at the
Derby Line port of entry.

“We understand that travelers are eager to get to their holiday celebrations as quickly as possible,” said William A. Ferrara, CBP Director of Field Operations in New England. “There are several things that travelers can do to help us ensure their entry is as efficient as possible, while maintaining our border security mission.”

The best step a traveler can take to expedite their entry into the U.S. is to become a trusted traveler. The NEXUS and Global Entry programs allow pre-screened, low-risk travelers expedited processing through CBP. NEXUS and Global Entry membership allows travelers to use dedicated border-crossing lanes at northern border land ports of entry, at kiosks in CBP preclearance airports in Canada, and at maritime reporting locations.

Travelers may apply to a trusted traveler program online at the CBP website or the Canada Border Services Agency website. (CBP Global Online Enrollment System) (CBSA NEXUS) NEXUS information is also available toll-free at 1-(866)-NEXUS 26 (1-866-639-8726).

CBP Top-10 list of smart border-crossing travel tips:

Tip 1 – Download CBP’s Border Wait Times app. Check border-crossing wait times by Port of Entry before you start your trip at CBP’s Border Advisories and Wait Times website. You can also download CBP’s Border Wait Times app free from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

Tip 2 – Plan for extra time or an alternate route during peak travel times and be aware of construction activity. For example, travelers in Vermont might use the nearby and less heavily traveled Norton Port of Entry instead of the busier Derby Line Port of Entry which is undergoing an extensive construction project that may create cross-border delays.

Tip 3 - Prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Have your identity and crossing documents available for the inspection. Information on accepted travel documents is available on the CBP Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative webpage.

Tip 4 – Put down your cell phone. Cell phones delay CBP inspection, and impacts everyone in line.

Tip 5 – Know state alcohol, tobacco, and firearms laws. Travelers should learn about state laws concerning transporting alcohol, tobacco or firearms across state lines.

Tip 6 – Report all currency. There is no limit to how much currency you may take in or out of the U.S. However, U.S. federal law requires you to report your total currency of $10,000 or more. Currency includes all forms of monetary instruments. Travelers who fail to truthfully report all of their currency risk their currency being seized, and may face criminal charges.

Tip 7 – Declare all food items. You may bring prepared foods into the U.S. from Canada for personal use. Importing food for resale or for commercial use, visit www.fda.gov or contact your local CBP office for more information. If you are unsure if the food products you are bringing to the U.S. are admissible, visit CBP’s Bringing Food to the US webpage, or check with your local CBP office before arrival.

Tip 8 – Declare all goods and gifts. All travelers and vehicles are subject to CBP border searches. Declare everything you purchased or acquired outside of the United States to a CBP officer. Travel with unwrapped gifts, and then wrap your gifts before you reach your destination.

Tip 9 – Declare all medicines. All valid non-expired prescription medications should be in the original prescription containers with all pertinent information listed on the label. Illicit narcotics are illegal to possess or to use in the U.S.

Tip 10 – Transporting 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, prior CDC approval and accompanying paperwork is required. Bird owners must pre-arrange for a veterinary inspection with USDA Veterinarian Services at designated ports. Learn more about Bringing Pets or Wildlife into the United States.

Other questions:

These CBP travel tips are simple to follow and help you to cross the border as quickly and as safely as possible. For more information, please visit the Know Before You Go page on the CBP website.

Last modified: 
January 2, 2018