CBP Issues Guidance on 2012 Sukkot Holiday Travel
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued guidance for travelers related to the annual Jewish holiday known as Sukkot.
The travel period for Sukkot is Sept. 24 to Oct. 12, and the holiday itself begins at sundown, Sept. 30, and lasts through Oct. 7. CBP understands observant Jewish travelers entering the U.S. during the Sukkot holiday may carry religious items (ethrogs, palm fronds, twigs of willow and myrtle) in their vehicles if arriving at land border ports of entry, or in their personal baggage if they are arriving by aircraft.
These items are regulated to prevent the introduction of invasive pests and diseases; however, these items may be allowed into the U.S. after inspection by CBP agriculture specialists. Thus, the following guidance is provided for travelers:
Personal shipments of ethrogs are allowed entry through North Atlantic and Northern Pacific ports of entry after inspection by agriculture specialists. North Atlantic ports are defined as Atlantic ports north of and including Baltimore; ports on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway; Canadian Border ports east of and including North Dakota; and Washington, D.C. (including Dulles International Airport) for air shipments. Northern Pacific ports are defined as Pacific ports north of California including Alaska, Canadian Border ports west of and including Montana, excluding Hawaii.
Travelers will be asked to open the container with the ethrog and unwrap it. The agriculture specialist will inspect the ethrog. If either insect stings or pests are found, the ethrog will be prohibited from entering the U.S. If neither is found, the traveler will be allowed to rewrap and re-box the ethrog for entry into the U.S.
Single palm fronds will be inspected by agriculture specialists and released if no pests or symptoms of disease are found.
Twigs of Willow
If the twigs of willow are from Europe, they will be prohibited from entering the U.S. If they are from other than Europe, they will be inspected by agriculture specialists and released if no pests or symptoms of disease are found.
Also, if the twigs of willow are green in color, have soft tissue present, or have buds that sprouted, then they are capable of being grown and are prohibited from entering the U.S.
Twigs of Myrtle
Twigs of myrtle will be inspected by agriculture specialists and released if no pests or symptoms of disease are found.
If travelers have any concerns resulting from the inspection of their religious items at a port of entry, a CBP supervisor is always available to answer questions and address their concerns. As always, CBP is committed to treating all travelers, including travelers who may be observing Sukkot, with respect and dignity at all U.S. ports of entry.
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.