SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agriculture specialists throughout the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are providing guidance to assist cross-border travelers who are planning international trips for the upcoming holiday season. The tips are designed to ease the crossing process for travelers as CBP officers and agriculture specialists maintain their principal anti-terror mission.
CBP officers and agriculture specialists in USVI and Puerto Rico are there to assist with cross-border travels. These officers are a part of America’s first line of defense, serving to protect borders 24/7.
CBP officers and agriculture specialists will treat each person who enters through a port of entry equally throughout each step of the inspection process. Be cognizant that while each officer is upholding the law and fulfilling their daily duties in protecting America, each traveler also serves a very important role in the process.
In an effort to provide the best possible service to the traveling public, CBP officials are proactively reminding members of the traveling public that there are a number of steps they can employ to cross the border as quickly and safely as possible while avoiding violations of US law. To assist travelers in their role and expedite travelers at the border, CBP has provided some basic border travel tips. For more information, visit the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP website. (http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/
1. Have your documents ready – Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Individuals should have their crossing documents, i.e. valid passport, passport card, “green card” or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) acceptable document, readily available. For more information, visit the WHTI section of the CBP website. (http://www.getyouhome.gov/html/eng_map.html
2. Travelers should end cellular conversations before approaching the federal inspection site during the inspection process. Cell phone usage slows down the inspection process and causes delays for everyone in line, and is usually prohibited at Federal Inspection Sites (FIS).
3. Goods and gifts – When crossing the border, each individual and his/her belongings are subject to search. Please keep this in mind when transporting gifts for special occasions and the holidays. Remember to “declare everything purchased or acquired outside of the United States” to avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of prohibited items. If duty is applicable, credit cards or cash payment in US currency is acceptable.
4. Food items – Prepared foods for personal consumption or for family/friend gatherings is allowed. If bringing food items for resale or for commercial holiday parties go to FDA.gov or contact your local CBP office for more information. However, if you plan to cross the border with fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables and you’re not sure if they are allowed into the United States, please check with your local CBP office before arrival. For more information on locating a CBP office, please visit the CBP Web site. (http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/contacts/ports/
5. Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms – In addition to federal laws, travelers entering the US at ports of entry are also subject to all state alcohol/tobacco/firearm laws. Often times, state laws can be more restrictive than federal laws. If transporting any of these items over the holidays, please check with local law enforcement to see if any restrictions apply.
6. Pets – Cats and dogs must be free of disease and illness when entering the US In addition, dog owners must be able to show proof of rabies vaccination. If crossing with a “puppy”, certain paperwork and additional procedures apply. Contact your local CBP office for more information.
7. Medicine/Narcotics – Travelers must declare medications at the border. All valid non-expired prescription medications should be in the original prescription containers with all pertinent information listed on the outside. Narcotics and dangerous drugs are prohibited entry. There are severe civil and/or criminal penalties if imported.
8. Currency – There is no limit on total amount of monetary instruments that may be brought in or taken out of the US. However, if you are transporting more than $10,000 you must file a Report of International Transportation of International Currency or Monetary Instruments (FinCen 105). Failure to properly declare or report the importation or exportation of currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 could result in seizure.
The CBP travel tips will be of assistance in averting any potential frustrations when crossing the border during the holiday season. Members of the traveling public can also consult the CBP website to monitor border wait times that are updated regularly, and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use/short waits. For more information on border wait times, visit the CBP website. (http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/