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CBP offers international travelers tips

Release Date: 
December 18, 2019

TUCSON, Ariz.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection encourages international travelers to “Know Before You Go” this holiday season. Planning and using the following travel tips can save time and lead to a more pleasant journey.


Obtain all necessary travel documents: Travelers should have their passports and any other required travel documents ready when approaching a CBP officer for processing, or visiting a foreign country.  For more information about approved travel documents for entry into the United States, visit and


Declare goods: Truthfully declare everything brought into the United States, including duty-free items.  Applicable duties may be paid with credit cards or cash payments in U.S. currency. Travelers are asked to review the list of prohibited and restricted items prior to departure.


Declare food: Many agriculture products can bring damaging pests and diseases into the country. If you have questions about which food products you may bring into the United States, please visit Remember – don’t pack a pest!


Declare gifts: All gifts must be declared upon arrival, but may be included in a personal exemption. This includes gifts received abroad, and gifts purchased for others.


Report currency when required: There is no limit to how much currency may be carried into or out of the United States. However, U.S. law requires travelers to report currency or other monetary instruments of $10,000 or more. Travelers who fail to truthfully report all of their currency may have all, or some of it seized, and may face criminal charges.


Learn how CBP is facilitating lawful travel: CBP is making the entry process more efficient, more intuitive, and paperless for travelers.


Biometric Entry/Exit - CBP and its partners are automating the identity verification process at some ports of entry with biometric facial comparison technology. Instead of presenting a passport, travelers will simply pose for a picture at the boarding gate or passport inspection booth. The new process is intended to reduce boarding times, improve security, and fulfill a congressional mandate. U.S. citizens who choose to opt out of the biometric facial comparison process may ask CBP officers to inspect their travel documents manually, as  already done today.


Trusted Traveler Programs – Travelers are encouraged to join the Trusted Traveler Program. Members of Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI enjoy the most expedited CBP processing experiences.


Apply and pay for an I-94 online: Speed up entry into the United States by providing biographic and travel information. The $6 I-94 application is available online at up to seven days prior to entry.


Monitor border wait times: The border wait times website aids cross-border trip planning. Travelers may also download the official Border Wait Time app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.  


Use a Ready Lane: Most Arizona land border crossings feature Ready Lanes, which are 20 percent faster than normal lanes. To use Ready Lanes, travelers over 16 years of age are required to have radio frequency identification (RFID) enabled travel documents. These include RFID-enabled U.S. passport cards; legal permanent resident cards; B1/B2 border crossing cards; Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST cards; and enhanced driver’s licenses.


Traveling with medication: Travelers must declare all medicine and similar products when entering the United States. Prescription medications should be in their original containers with the doctor's prescription printed on the container. If medications or devices are not in their original containers, a copy of the prescription, or a letter from the prescribing doctor is required. It is advised that travelers carry no more than a 90 day supply of their medication.


Traveling with pets: Cats and dogs must be free of disease and illness when entering the United States. In addition, dog owners must produce proof of rabies vaccination. If crossing with a puppy, certain paperwork must be completed at the border. All pets are subject to health, quarantine, agriculture, wildlife requirements, and prohibitions, regardless of how the pet enters the country.  Pets taken out of the United States and returned are subject to the same requirements as those entering for the first time. For more information about traveling with your pet to a foreign country or bringing your pet into the United States, visit the APHIS pet travel website.


CBP's Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation’s ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the United States while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. Their mission also includes carrying out border-related duties, including narcotics interdiction, immigration and trade laws enforcement, and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.

Last modified: 
December 18, 2019