As summer, one of the busiest international travel times in the U.S. has just started to commence last Monday this May, or US Memorial Day. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has released recently some important tips for travelers to the United States.
So those applying for United States visa or ESTA application as well as returning U.S. citizens or residents are reminded of these tips in order to help speed their processing as there is an increasing passenger volumes to the US due to a nine percent increase in travel and tourism since February 2011.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection reminds travelers to make sure first that they have an approved travel document, passports, American visa as well as identification for re-entry to the United States.
For U.S. and Canadian citizens, age 16 and older who travel to the U.S. by land or sea, they are required under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative to present a valid, acceptable travel document, such as a passport, a U.S. passport card, a trusted traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry or FAST/EXPRES), permanent resident card or an enhanced driver’s license, denoting both identity and citizenship.
U.S. and Canadian citizens under age 16 are, however, required to present a birth certificate or alternative proof of citizenship when entering by land or sea.
For all travelers, they are required to have a valid passport book for international air travel.
If you want to speed your crossing through a US land border port, U.S. Customs and Border Protection recommends that one of the easiest ways is to obtain a radio frequency identification enabled travel document such as a U.S. passport card, border crossing card or permanent resident card issued after 2008, enhanced driver’s license/enhanced identification card or trusted traveler card.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection explain that dedicated Ready Lanes are available at more than 20 land border crossing locations throughout the nation. These lanes are specifically designated for travelers with RFID-enabled cards in order to expedite entry and make crossing at a land port of entry more efficient.
For frequent border crossers, there are also NEXUS and SENTRI programs available that will facilitate faster processing for them at land ports of entry.
For pre-approved, low risk travelers, there are dedicated lanes for them to use to speed through land border crossings; thus, saving time them time.
If entering via U.S. airports, U.S. Customs and Border Protection recommends that in order to securely speed through CBP processing, the fastest and easiest way to do it is by becoming a member of Global Entry. This is trusted traveler program that enables pre-approved, low-risk travelers to by-pass traditional CBP processing and to enable them to use self-service kiosks, located at 25 airports in the U.S.
Travelers using Global Entry kiosks are known to experience reduced average wait times of 70 percent compared to travelers going through traditional passport inspection. More than 75 percent of travelers using Global Entry are processed in under five minutes.
Only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, Mexican nationals, and Canadian citizens and residents through membership in the NEXUS program can avail of this program.
Additionally, this program may be used by citizens of the Netherlands under a special reciprocal arrangement that links Global Entry with the Dutch Privium program in Amsterdam.
For allVisa Waiver Visitors traveling by air or sea to the U.Sunder the Visa Waiver Program, they are reminded to first obtain an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA Visa, prior to boarding. CBP recommends submitting ESTA applications as soon as an applicant begins making travel plans.
Before reaching CBP processing, you must make sure that you have a completed Customs Declaration form (6059b). Make sure to declare everything you are bringing from abroad, even those bought in a duty-free shop. These things bought abroad for personal use or as gifts may be eligible for duty exemptions. However, if they are brought back for resale, they are not.
Make sure to know the difference between prohibited merchandise (which is forbidden by law to enter the U.S.) and restricted merchandise (items needing special permit to be allowed into the U.S.). You can learn more information about this by visiting the Restricted/Prohibited section of the CBP website.
CBP reminds travelers not to attempt in bringing fruits, meats, dairy/poultry products and/or firewood into the United States without first checking whether they are permitted. For more information, you can visit the Bringing Agricultural Products into the United States section of the CBP website.