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CBP offers tips for holiday travel this season

Release Date
Mon, 12/11/2023

WASHINGTON – With the holiday travel season well underway, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is offering tips to will help make international travel safer and easier.

“Holiday travel is already reaching record levels this season, so we strongly encourage travelers to be ‘travel ready’ and use CBP’s various mobile apps to improve their safe travel experience,” said Troy A. Miller, CBP Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner. “These technological enhancements are integral parts of CBP’s efforts to improve the travel experience while maintaining safety for all travelers.”

Global Entry, the Trusted Traveler Program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States, now offers a mobile application that will allow members to begin their arrival processing before they even enter the federal inspection area. The Global Entry Mobile Application is currently available for use at 16 ports of entry.

Global Entry members can also use the new Global Entry Touchless Portals, now available at nearly all international airports across the United States. The portals reduce physical touchpoints and expedite arrival processing by eliminating paper receipts and protecting passenger privacy.

Travelers who are not Global Entry members may also opt for faster processing by using the free Mobile Passport Control (MPC) application. U.S. citizens, Canadian B1/B2 visitors, and, starting this December, returning travelers from Visa Waiver Program countries can download the app for use at 33 U.S. airports and 11 Preclearance locations. MPC users even have their own special line for arrival processing.

Additionally, as of June 2023, non-U.S. citizens from 41 Visa Waiver Program countries can use the new ESTA Mobile App, available in 25 languages, to apply for an ESTA authorization from their mobile devices.

For additional ways to “travel smart” when arriving at U.S. ports of entry, CBP offered the following tips:

  • Enrollment on Arrival. Global Entry applicants who have not yet received an interview prior to their international trip may still opt for faster processing at select airports with Enrollment on Arrival (EoA). This initiative allows conditionally approved applicants to complete their interview upon returning to the U.S. without an appointment and with just the documents they would normally carry when traveling internationally.
  • Prepare your documents. Before embarking on a trip to the United States or returning from an international trip, be sure you have a valid U.S. passport and identification card and be prepared to present them and other travel documents that may be requested by the CBP officer. Although a Global Entry card is not always required, Trusted Travelers are advised to carry their cards in case they are asked for it.
  • Report your food, cash, and memorabilia. Both U.S. citizens and non-citizens must declare everything they bring into the United States from abroad, even if bought it in a duty-free shop. Some foods, merchandise, and total currency of $10,000 or more can be brought to the United States but must be declared on a U.S. CBP Customs Declaration form. Failure to do so can result in stiff financial penalties and loss of your possessions.
  • Avoid counterfeits when traveling. Be cautious when buying from street vendors or questionable shops while on vacation. These items could support criminal activity, violate intellectual property rights, and can be unsafe for consumers. More information on intellectual property rights can be found here.
  • Consider duty exemptions. Items brought abroad for personal use or as gifts are eligible for duty exemptions. If you are bringing them back for resale, they are not eligible for duty exemption. More information on duty exemptions can be found on the Intellectual Property Rights page.
  • Consider your medications. Be aware of traveling with medications. Many foreign-made medications are not approved for United States use and are not permitted in the country. When traveling abroad, bring only the medication you will need, and make sure it is in the original container.

CBP’s mobile apps can be downloaded free from the Apple and Google Play stores.

Last Modified: Jan 31, 2024