WASHINGTON—As non-essential travel restrictions are removed and travelers prepare for the busy holiday season, planning ahead becomes even more important. Longer-than-normal waiting times and long lines at air and land entry ports are expected, so travelers are reminded to be patient. However, in order to make the waiting times as pleasant as possible, CBP offers 10 travel tips to improve the travel experience.

Official CBP seal

1. Prepare your documents. Before traveling to the United States, travelers should be prepared for the following:

  • Have a Travel initiative for the western hemisphere Document such as a valid U.S. passport, Trusted Traveler Program card, or Enhanced Tribal Card ready.
  • Have proof of an approved COVID-19 vaccination as described on the CDC Website and verbally confirm your travel intentions and your COVID-19 vaccination status.
  • Be prepared to provide any other documents requested by the CBP officer.

2. Face biometrics. Travelers should be prepared to have their photo taken by a CBP officer during the enhanced immigration screening process. Known as Simplified Arrivals, travelers now have their identity verified through a secure, non-contact facial biometrics process that further secures and streamlines travel to the United States. The biometric face comparison takes just a few seconds and is more than 98 percent accurate, while protecting travelers’ privacy. US citizens can voluntarily participate in the face biometric process. For more information on CBP’s use of facial biometrics and the opt-out process for US citizens, please visit here here.

3. Inquire about your destination. U.S. citizens planning to travel outside of the United States on vacation should visit www.state.gov/travelers for destination information. Each country has its own COVID-19 and security restrictions, so researching this information beforehand will make the travel experience easier.

4. Download CBP One. Non-citizens traveling to the United States can do the CBP One mobile application to apply for one I-94 up to seven days in advance. CBP One is a mobile application that serves as a single point of entry for travelers and stakeholders to access CBP’s mobile applications and services. Through a series of intuitive questions, it guides each type of user to the appropriate services that suit their needs. The CBP One app can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

5. Prepare your ESTA or I-94. Though one approved Electronic system for travel authorization is not a requirement for entry into the United States across a land border, Visa Waiver Program Citizens of any country must have an active ESTA in order to use the CBP One I-94 application function. CBP encourages these travelers to apply for an approved ESTA in order to take advantage of the time saved by using CBP One or the CBP I-94 website. With an ESTA, these travelers can apply for their I-94 prior to arrival and avoid completing the I-94W form at a port of entry.

6. Report your food, cash, and memorabilia. Both U.S. citizens and non-citizens must declare anything they bring into the United States from overseas, even if they bought it from a duty free shop. Some items such as ivory, tortoiseshell products, and certain foods and plants are prohibited in the United States. Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture website for more informations. Some groceries, merchandise, and total currencies of $ 10,000 or more can be imported into the United States but must be declared on a U.S. CBP Customs Form. Failure to do so could result in heavy fines and the loss of your property.

7. Schedule your farm inspection. Beginning November 30th, travelers will be able to use the CBP One mobile app to give advance notice if they require an agricultural and organic product inspection upon arrival at an airport in the United States. click here for more informations. The categories for the declaration include:

Biological materials that may require US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approvals

  • Pets, especially birds and dogs, who accompany travelers in a variety of roles that have the potential to introduce foreign animal diseases to the US or have other public health concerns
  • Cleaning and disinfection of shoes
  • Hunting trophies

8. Avoid counterfeits. Use caution when shopping at street vendors or other illegal stores while on vacation. These items often encourage criminal activity, infringe intellectual property rights, and can be unsafe for consumers. You can find more information on industrial property rights here. Note that CBP officers can inspect you and your property without a warrant.

9. Consider duty exemptions. Items that are brought abroad for personal use or as a gift are duty-free. If you bring them back for resale they are not duty free. You can find more information on duty exemptions here.

10. Take your medication into account. Be aware that you are traveling with medication. Many foreign-made drugs are not approved for use in the United States and are not approved in the country. When traveling abroad, bring only the medicines you need and make sure they are in the original packaging.

For more information on vacation or other future travel plans, please continue to contact the CBP website.