STERLING, Va. – A Maryland couple is facing the revocation of their Customs and Border Protection trusted traveler status on Sunday after they repeatedly failed to declare nearly $100,000 in designer brand consumer goods that they purchased overseas.
The couple were Global Entry trusted traveler members. Global Entry is CBP’s widely popular Trusted Traveler Program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. While the goal of Global Entry is to provide pre-vetted, trusted travelers with an expedited entry process, members may still be randomly selected for further examination.
Trusted traveler members are expected to comply with all U.S. laws and regulations and to be truthful during questioning by a CBP officer.
After arriving from Paris, France, the couple processed their admission on a Global Entry kiosk and encountered a CBP officer who asked them what they purchased during their trip. They reported that they had nothing to declare. The CBP officer then asked about their Chanel bag, and they quickly declared that they possessed between $300 and $900 in merchandise.
A nearby officer asked additional questions and referred the couple to a secondary examination. There, CBP officers provided the couple numerous opportunities to be truthful. The couple repeatedly revised their amount of merchandise and officers initiated a baggage examination.
CBP officers discovered 41 separate items of new, designer-brand apparel, which officers prepared to seize for failure to declare merchandise. One of the travelers then produced receipts to the total of $96,871. The couple elected to pay a duty fee and penalty, which totaled $27,289, to keep their merchandise.
Additionally, CBP officers initiated a Global Entry membership revocation for deceptively violating the terms of their trusted traveler agreement.
“Customs and Border Protection places a significant measure of trust in Global Entry members, and trusted traveler status cannot be used as a license to deliberately violate our nation’s laws,” said Daniel Escobedo, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Washington, D.C. “Trusted traveler programs are a cornerstone to our border security mission of facilitating lawful trade and travel, so ensuring the integrity of these programs remains of paramount concern to us.”
CBP is charged with collecting duties at our nation’s ports of entry. Annually, CBP collects over $30 billion. CBP is the second largest revenue generator for the U.S. government.
Travelers are allowed personal duty exemptions on the total value of merchandise they purchase overseas. In most cases, the personal exemption is $800. Travelers may bring back more than their exemption, but any merchandise value exceeding the personal exemption is subject to duties.
The term “duty-free” may confuse some travelers. Articles sold in a duty-free shop overseas are free of duty and taxes only for the country in which that merchandise is purchased. Read more about Customs duty.
CBP urges all travelers to visit CBP’s Travel website to ‘know before they go’ and learn rules governing travel to and from the U.S., which products are prohibited or inadmissible, and what they must declare to CBP upon their arrival.
CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers and agriculture specialists from the Office of Field Operations. CBP screens international travelers and cargo and searches for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, invasive weeds and pests, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality. Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.
Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos, and CBP’s Office of Field Operations on Instagram at @cbpfieldops.