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CBP Provides International Travel Tips for Holiday Season

Release Date: 
December 13, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO—With the holiday season in full swing, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is providing international travelers with the following helpful tips to ease travel angst when departing from or returning to the U.S.

“Understanding the CBP process helps travelers better prepare for their arrival to the U.S.,” said Brian J. Humphrey, CBP’s director of field operations in San Francisco. “Long international flights and arrival procedures can be extremely stressful. Knowing what to expect alleviates some of the anxiety, and allows us to expedite legitimate passengers more quickly and efficiently.”

Before bringing those gifts into the country, it’s important to know what is prohibited or restricted. Having a firm understanding of what you may or may not bring with you, what is subject to duty, and how to properly declare items will make the process much easier. CBP's "Know Before You Go" web page contains a wealth of useful information for returning travelers.

Declaring your goods: Truthfully declare everything you are bringing from abroad on your “CBP Declaration” form (6059b) including duty-free items.  

Food and Plants: There are numerous agricultural restrictions on fruits, meats, and plants. Before bringing these items back, check the CBP website on bringing agricultural products into the U.S. If you decide to take your chances and bring it with you, be certain to declare it, and be willing to surrender it if it turns out to be prohibited. 

Currency: There are no restrictions on the amount of money that can be carried into or out of the U.S. The only requirement is that if the amount exceeds $10,000, the currency must be reported on a “Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments” form (FinCEN 105). The completed form must be turned in to a CBP officer prior to departing the U.S. if carrying the currency out, or upon return if carrying the currency in. Failure to report currency can result in prosecution or severe penalties including forfeiture.

Travel Documents: Have all passports, completed CBP Declaration forms, and any other associated travel documents ready when you approach the Passport Control booths. This will speed the process and help you get on your way more quickly.  

Travel Time: Plan ahead and allow sufficient time in travel plans for wait times and delays. During the busy holiday season, increased passenger counts and additional luggage can lead to longer processing lines.

CBP Inspection Process: Understand that CBP officers have the authority to conduct enforcement examinations on travelers and their belongings when entering the U.S.  Thorough examinations of luggage, personal belongings, and personal searches are meant to enforce U.S. laws as well as protect the nation.   

For more information on international travel, and clearing CBP upon arrival, please visit the travel pages of the website.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021