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International travel tips for the holiday season

ANCHORAGE– With the holiday season in full swing, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Anchorage provides international travelers with the following helpful tips to ease travel angst when departing from or returning to the U. S.

“Understanding the CBP process helps travelers better prepare for their arrival back into the U.S.”, said Brian J. Humphrey, CBP Director of Field Operations San Francisco, “Long international flights and arrival procedures can be extremely stressful. Knowing what to expect alleviates some of the anxiety, and allows us to expedite legitimate passengers more quickly and efficiently.”

Before bringing back those gifts, it’s important to know what is prohibited or restricted. Having a firm understanding of what you may or may not bring with you, what is subject to duty, and how to properly declare your items will make the process much easier. CBP’s “Know Before You Go” web page (http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/) contains a wealth of useful information for returning international travelers.

Declaring your goods: Truthfully declare everything you are bringing from abroad on your “CBP Declaration” form (6059b) including duty-free items.  

Food and Plants: There are numerous agricultural restrictions on fruits, meats, and plants. Before bringing these items back, check the CBP website on bringing agricultural products into the U.S. (http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/clearing/agri_prod_inus.xml). If you decide to take your chances and bring it with you, be certain to declare it, and be willing to surrender it if it turns out to be prohibited. 

Currency: There are no restrictions on the amount of money that can be carried into or out of the U.S. The only requirement is that if the amount exceeds $10,000, the currency must be reported on a “Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments” form (FinCEN 105). The completed form must be turned in to a CBP officer prior to departing the U.S. if carrying the currency out, or upon return if carrying the currency in. Failure to report currency can result in prosecution or severe penalties including forfeiture.

Travel Documents: Have all passports, completed CBP Declaration forms, and any other associated travel documents ready when you approach the Passport Control booths. This will speed the process and help you get on your way more quickly.   

Travel Time: Plan ahead and allow sufficient time in your travel plans for wait times and delays. During the busy holiday season, increased passenger counts and additional luggage can lead to longer processing lines. Understand that CBP does everything it can to get you through as quickly as possible.  

CBP Inspection Process: Understand that CBP officers have the authority to conduct enforcement examinations on you and your belongings when entering the U.S.  Thorough examinations of luggage, personal belongings, and personal searches are meant to enforce our laws as well as protect our nation.    

CBP travel website

Anchorage