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CBP Offers Tips to Cross-Border Travelers during Holiday Season

Release Date: 
December 15, 2010

Madawaska, Maine - If you are frustrated with cross-border travel, don't be. Customs and Border Protection officers in the St. John Valley are here to assist you with your cross-border travel during the holidays. These officers are a part of America's first line of defense and you can have peace of mind knowing these men and women are serving to protect our northern borders in the valley 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

CBP officers will treat each person who enters through a port of entry equally throughout each step of the inspection process. Be cognizant that while each officer is upholding the law and fulfilling their daily duties in protecting America, each traveler also serves a very important role in the process. To assist travelers in their role and expedite travelers at the border, CBP has provided 10 holiday season border travel tips. For more information, please visit the "Know Before You Go" website.

  1. Have your document ready, for example a valid passport, passport card, nexus card, "green card" or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) acceptable document. For more information, please visit the WHTI website.
  2. Vehicle occupants should not use cell phones while approaching the port or during the inspection process. 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. Remember to "declare everything purchased or acquired outside of the United 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 allowed. If bringing food items for resale or for commercial holiday parties go to the FDA Web site or contact your local CBP office for more information. However, if you plan to cross the border with fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables and you're not sure if they are allowed into the United States, please check with your local CBP office before arrival.
  5. Trees/Wreaths - Though many Christmas trees/wreaths sold commercially in the U.S. originated from Canada, personal importation of trees or wreaths may require certain agricultural documentation at the border. 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, since Jan. 1, 2009, all firewood is prohibited from entering the U.S. unless it has been properly "treated." See 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 all state alcohol/tobacco/firearm laws. Often times, state laws can be more restrictive than federal laws. If transporting any of these items over the holidays, please check with local law enforcement to see if any restrictions apply.
  8. Pets - Cats and dogs must be free of disease and illness when entering the U.S. In addition, 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."
  9. Medicine/Narcotics - Travelers must declare medications at the border. All valid non-expired prescription medications should 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.

The 10 border travel tips will be of assistance in averting any potential frustrations when crossing the border during the holiday season. For more information on traveling to or from the U.S. or locating a CBP office, please visit the CBP website.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017