CBP Provides Helpful Traveling Tips for the Holiday Season
Tucson, Ariz. - With the holiday season approaching, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Arizona ports are gearing up for a busy season. To help travelers prepare for anticipated delays crossing the border - south and north - CBP offers the following helpful tips:
- Anticipate delays. Increased outbound inspections at all ports, road and port construction, and increased traffic are likely to increase wait times at all crossing locations for travelers departing and returning to the United States. Consult the CBP website to monitor border wait times. Information is updated hourly and can be useful in determining periods of light use/short waits.
- Check all necessary documents prior to departing the country. Ensure all travelers have proper identification, citizenship and/or required immigration documents prior to departure. Individuals awaiting immigration benefits should contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services prior to departing the country. Foreign nationals with pending applications for adjustment of status must be approved for Advance Parole prior to leaving the U.S.
- Be prepared to declare all monetary/negotiable instruments exceeding $10,000 when departing or entering the country. While not illegal to carry more than $10,000, it must be declared to a CBP officer. Failure to do so could result in seizure and/or arrest.
- Travelers found to be in the United States illegally or in violation of their immigration status are subject to being detained and processed accordingly. This could result in additional delays waiting for documentation via official systems before being allowed to continue with travel, or possible criminal prosecution, depending on the violation and criminal history.
- Prepare for inspection. Before arriving at the inspection booth, travelers should have their crossing documents readily at hand to present to CBP officers for inspection. Passports, passport cards, or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative compliant documents will be required for all U.S. and Canadian citizens.
- Declare all items acquired abroad. Many agricultural products are permitted into the United States; however, some products can be very harmful to our nation's agriculture production. If travelers are uncertain of an item that may be prohibited, it is best to ask an officer during the border-crossing process. It is also recommended that travelers consult the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website before traveling abroad to ensure they have the most up to date information. Travelers should familiarize themselves with this information to avoid penalties and delays with their travels.
- Traveling with non-U.S. citizens will require I-94 travel permits, which can be obtained at the port of entry in advance of travel. This will allow travelers requiring I-94 documents (those planning to travel beyond the border zone or stay in the U.S. for more than 30 days) to bypass those lines when they formally enter the U.S. They will still be subject to the inspection process.
- Drivers can help ease the screening and admission process by ensuring all vehicle occupants are awake prior to reaching the inspecting officer. All cell phone conversations should also be terminated prior to reaching the CBP officer.
- Travelers are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the "Know Before You Go" section of the CBP website. Being informed will help travelers be prepared and avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of prohibited items. "Know Before You Go" brochures are also available at border ports.
Customs and Border Protection is serious about its mission of protecting the American people and securing our nation's borders. At the same time, however, CBP tries to facilitate the entry of legitimate travelers. To accomplish our mission, we ask for the assistance and cooperation of the traveling public. We ask travelers for their patience and understanding while we continue with our law enforcement efforts. While our officers' primary mission is anti-terrorism, they also must perform traditional border-related duties involving narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration and trade laws, and protecting the nation's food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases.
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.