14 June 2004
U.S. Advises Travelers on Safe, Speedy Entry at Borders
Advisory comes in expectation of millions of foreign
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency is advising
foreign visitors to the United States on how best to facilitate
their entry into the country. CBP issued the advisories June 10,
just as the summer vacation season begins in the northern hemisphere.
In a June 10 press release, CBP Commissioner Robert Bonner said
the agency's goal is protecting the nation from terrorists while,
at the same time, assisting and supporting the movement of vacationers
Carrying proper documents and being aware of regulations concerning
items prohibited for entry are among the most important traveler
Following is the text of the press release from the CBP:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Know Before You Go-Tips for Visitors to the United States
Washington, DC- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner
Robert C. Bonner today launched a traveler awareness campaign to
educate the millions of visitors who will travel to the United
States this summer. CBP's priority mission is to keep terrorist
and terrorist weapons out of the U.S. while facilitating the flow
of trade and travelers. For a speedy and trouble free entry into
the U.S., visitors are reminded to ensure that they have the proper
documentation and are well informed on U.S. entry requirements
"The United States always has the welcome mat out to visitors," said
Commissioner Bonner. "While CBP has stepped up security at the
land, sea, and air ports across our country, we are committed to
treat the entry of every legitimate traveler as professionally
and fast as possible. By knowing the regulations and what to expect,
all international visitors can facilitate their entry and have
a safe, secure, and enjoyable visit to the United States."
-- On your way to the United States you may be given a Customs
and Border Protection declaration form. Fill it out entirely and
sign the bottom. You may also be given a form I-94 (white) or a
form I-94W (green). This will ask you for basic identification
information and the full address where you will be staying in the
-- When you arrive at a port of entry in the United States you
will be inspected by an officer of the U.S. Customs and Border
Protection. Be prepared to tell the officer the purpose of your
trip and how long you wish to stay.
-- Most travelers will have a digital photo and two fingerprint
scans taken by the officer. This will only add a few seconds to
the interview. Be sure to follow the instructions of the CBP officer.
-- Make sure you have a valid nonimmigrant visa and a passport
valid for six months beyond your initial stay in the United States.
There are some exceptions to this requirement.
-- If you are a temporary visitor for business or pleasure, and
wish to stay for up to six months, you must apply for a B1/B2 visa
at the U.S. Consulate in your country, unless you are exempt the
visa requirement altogether.
-- If you are planning to travel for another purpose, e.g. student,
temporary worker, crewperson, journalist etc. you must apply for
a different visa in the appropriate category through the Department
of State at an American Embassy or Consulate abroad.
-- If you are a citizen of a visa waiver country, you may apply
for entry without a visa if you are seeking entry for 90 days or
less for business or pleasure. Check to make sure your intended
purpose of travel falls within the guidelines.
-- If you stayed beyond the 90 days allowed under the Visa Waiver
Program on your last visit to the U.S.-you are required to get
a visa (at a U.S. Consulate in your country) for your next visit
to the United States.
-- Remember, even though certain individuals may be exempt from
visa and/or passport requirements, the burden of poof is on the
applicant to establish eligibility to enter the United States.
Carrying proof of citizenship will help determine this.
-- Some items may be prohibited from entry, have to meet certain
requirements, or require a license or permit. If you would like
to bring in any of the following, make sure you find out the rules
and regulations concerning them:
- Biological materials
- Endangered species and their products
- Meat, poultry, eggs and their products
- Fruits, vegetables and plants
- Hazardous materials
-- There is no limit on the amount of money (U.S. or foreign)
you may bring into or take out of the United States. If you have
more than 10,000 dollars or foreign equivalent, however, you must
report this to the Customs and Border Protection officer upon entry
-- Medicine containing habit-forming drugs must be clearly identified.
Carry only the amount you normally need. Also bring a prescription
or statement from your physician explaining that the medicine is
necessary for your well being.
This is a brief overview of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
requirements. Tips for Visitors describe the rules in detail. A
copy of this brochure can be ordered at CBP's web site at http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/publications/order/.
You may also call and request a copy from U.S. Customs and Border
Protection in Washington, D.C., at 1.877.CUSTOMS or 202.354.1000.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the agency within the Department
of Homeland Security charged with the protection of our nation's
borders. CBP unified Customs, Immigration, and Agriculture Inspectors
and the Border Patrol into one border agency for the United States.