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What International Travelers in Central Florida Should “Know Before They Go” this Summer

Release Date: 
July 3, 2019

CBP’s welcoming millions of international travelers nationwide during the busy summer travel season

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla.— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Florida and across the country encourages travelers to “Know Before You Go” when traveling to the United States or returning home this summer during the busy summer travel season. CBP officers at cruise terminals such as Port Canaveral along with international airports, land border ports of entry nationwide and at Preclearance facilities around the world are prepared for the additional traffic expected this summer. Last summer, CBP processed more than 121 million international travelers at U.S. ports of entry.CBP encourages travelers to plan ahead to ensure a smooth and efficient processing experience.

CBP Office of Field Operations in Florida includes travel and trade facilitation while securing over 1,200 miles of the coastal border with more than 2,500 front-line federal officers, agricultural specialists, trade and mission support personnel. The Miami Field Office encompasses five ports that stretch over 313 miles of Florida coastline, within which there are five seaports, including the top two cruise ship ports in the world; and nine airports, with Miami International Airport (MIA) ranking as the second busiest international airport among U.S. airports. The Tampa Field Office encompasses the Area Ports of Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville.  Both Field Offices also provide support to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Associate Chief Counsel, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the South Florida Federal Executive Board, and numerous other governmental agencies.

“CBP continues to innovate and make technological advancements to our ports, systems, and procedures to ensure that passengers are processed expeditiously while ensuring America’s security," said Port Canaveral Acting Port Director Jose Gonzalez Cardona “As international travel to the United States continues to grow, we’ve made it our goal to transform the entry process—adding innovative programs and technology—while maintaining our dual mission of border security and travel facilitation.”

CBP encourages travelers to plan ahead to ensure a smooth and efficient processing experience. Use these tips to help you prepare.

Travel Documents: Travelers should have appropriate passports and any other associated travel documents ready when approaching a CBP officer for processing or visiting a foreign country.  Find out more information about approved travel documents for entry into the U.S. as well as country specific information at state.gov/travelers. Remember to carry these documents with you, do not pack them.

Familiarize yourself with Automated Passport Control (APC) and Mobile Passport Control: These two programs are making the entry process more efficient, intuitive and paperless for travelers. Learn which option works best for you and speed up your entry into the United States. APC expedites the entry process for most international travelers by allowing them to submit their biographic information and answers to inspection-related questions electronically at self-service kiosks located at 56 airports worldwide. At 25 U.S. airports, U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors can submit their passport information and answers to inspection-related questions to CBP via a smartphone or tablet app prior to arrival. Android and iPhone users can download the Mobile Passport app for free from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Declare goods: Truthfully declare everything you are bringing from abroad including duty-free items.  If duty is applicable, credit cards or cash payment in U.S. currency is acceptable.

Declare food: Many agriculture products can bring damaging pests and diseases into the country. If you have questions about what food is allowed or not allowed in to the U.S. visit https://help.cbp.gov/ and remember don't pack a pest!

Declare gifts: Gift you bring back for your personal use must be declared, but you may include them in your personal exemption. This includes gifts people gave you while you were out of the country and gifts you have brought back for others.

Prohibited vs. Restricted: Know the difference between prohibited merchandise (which is forbidden by law to enter the United States) and restricted merchandise (items needing special permit to be allowed into the United States). For more information, visit the Restricted/Prohibited section of the CBP website.

Traveling with medication: Travelers must declare all medicine and similar products when entering the United States. Prescription medications should be in their original containers with the doctor's prescription printed on the container.  It is advised that you travel with no more than personal use quantities, a rule of thumb is no more than a 90 day supply.  If your medications or devices are not in their original containers, you must have a copy of your prescription with you or a letter from your doctor.  A valid prescription or doctor’s note is required on all medication entering the U.S. 

Traveling with pets: Cats and dogs must be free of disease and illness when entering the United States. In addition, dog owners must be able to show proof of rabies vaccination. If crossing with a puppy, certain paperwork will need to be completed at the border for the “new addition to the family.” All pets are subject to health, quarantine, agriculture, or wildlife requirements and prohibitions. The regulations about bringing a pet into the United States are the same whether you drive over the U.S. border with your pet in your car, fly, or travel by other means. Pets taken out of the United States and returned are subject to the same requirements as those entering for the first time. For more information about traveling with your pet to a foreign country or bringing your pet into the U.S., visit APHIS’s pet travel website.

Report Traveling with $10,000 or more: There is no limit to how much currency you may take in or out of the United States; however, U.S. federal law requires you to report your total currency of $10,000 or more. Currency includes all forms of monetary instruments. Travelers who fail to truthfully report all of their currency risk their currency being seized, and may face criminal charges.

For citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries, an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is required before boarding an aircraft. For those traveling by air or sea on a visa, CBP has automated the Form I-94 removing the need for travelers to fill out a paper copy. Travelers will still be able to obtain their I-94 number and/or a copy of their I-94 online.

For your next trip, consider joining the ranks of a Trusted Traveler. Trusted Traveler members enrolled in Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI continue to enjoy the most expedited CBP processing experience. Trusted Traveler members retain their membership for five years. 

CBP’s mission is to facilitate travel while maintaining the highest standards of security for those who live here and for those who come to visit.  On a typical day last year, CBP officers processed more than 1 million travelers arriving airports, seaports or border crossings nationwide.  During the summer months, travelers should expect heavy traffic.  Planning ahead and adopting these travel tips can save time and lead to a less stressful trip.

For the latest on CBP operations across Florida, add @CBP and @CBPFlorida on Twitter.

Last modified: 
July 18, 2019
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