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  4. Customs and Border Protection Reminds Travelers to "Know Before You Go"

Customs and Border Protection Reminds Travelers to "Know Before You Go"

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Miami, Florida - With many of the public planning to enjoy the upcoming Easter holiday weekend, Customs and Border Protection Miami wants to remind travelers to be prepared by educating themselves on the rules and regulations relating to international travel and to plan for a possible increase in passenger traffic.

Travel Requirements for U.S. Citizens Individuals traveling abroad must have approved travel documents when returning home. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires U.S. and Canadian citizens, age 16 and older, to present a valid, acceptable travel document, such as a passport, a U.S. passport card, a trusted traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry or FAST/EXPRES), 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 passport book for international air travel.

Travel Requirements for Visitors to the U.S. All nationals or citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries are required to have an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. under the VWP. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, and once approved, generally will be valid for up to two years or until the applicant's passport expires, whichever comes first. Authorizations will be valid for multiple entries into the United States. CBP recommends ESTA applications be submitted as soon as an applicant begins making travel plans.

Trusted Traveler Programs CBP recommends its Trusted Traveler Programs (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry, or FAST/EXPRES) as the most efficient way to cross the border from Mexico or Canada. Trusted Traveler Programs allow for the use of expedited lanes in the land environment or kiosks at airports speeding travelers through the entry process. For more information or to apply for a Trusted Traveler Program, please visit the Travel section of the CBP website.

Small Vessel Reporting System

CBP now offers a new small vessel reporting system which allows boat operators and passengers an alternative to the current reporting system. By applying online and visiting a Customs office in advance, owners and passengers can now obtain entry clearance by phone. The system is available in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as along the northern U.S. border. The program will be expanded during the coming year to cover small vessel entries nationwide.

Travel Tips Tip #1 - To avoid fines and penalties associated with importing prohibited items, travelers should familiarize themselves with CBP rules and regulations. For more information, please go to the "Know Before You Go" section of the CBP website.

Tip #2 - Be prepared to declare all items acquired abroad. Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth and have their approved travel documents ready.

Tip #3 - Monitor wait times for various ports of entry. For more information, travelers can find up to date wait time information on the CBP website. Travelers are encouraged to plan their trips during periods of lighter traffic or to use an alternate, less heavily traveled port of entry.

Tip #4 - Build extra time into the trip in the event of crossing during periods of exceptionally heavy traffic.

Tip #5 - Know the difference between goods for personal use versus commercial use.

Tip #6 - Do not attempt to bring fruits, meats, dairy/poultry products and/or firewood into the United States without first checking whether they are permitted.

Tip #7 - International travelers should expect a thorough inspection, even during busy holiday periods, when entering the United States.

Tip #8 - If you are a frequent international traveler and haven't already become a member of a trusted traveler program, sign up now. For more information, please visit the Trusted Traveler section of the CBP website.

Last Modified: February 3, 2021