Photo: Tips to Expedite Border Crossing this Easter
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 U.S. law. To assist travelers in their role and expedite travelers at the border, CBP has provided some basic border travel tips. For more information, please visit the CBP “Know Before You Go” Web site. ( Know Before You Go )
- Tip 1 - Travelers should build extra time into their trips in the event they cross during periods of exceptionally heavy traffic. CBP continues to experience longer wait times than usual due to sequestration, and is working to minimize these impacts, while maintaining the highest standards of security.
- Tip 2 - Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Please have crossing documents available for the inspection including a WHTI approved document for U.S. citizens and nonimmigrant aliens from Canada, Bermuda and Mexico entering the United States by air, land or sea ports of entry. For more information, please visit the CBP “Get You Home” Web site. ( Get You Home )
- Tip 3 - Vehicle occupants should not use cell phones while approaching the port or during the inspection process. Cell phone usage slows down the inspection process and causes delays for everyone in line.
- Tip 4 - Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms. In addition to federal laws, travelers entering the U.S. 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, please check with local law enforcement to see if any restrictions apply.
- Tip 5 - Alternate Routes. During periods of heavy travel, border crossers may wish to consider alternative entry routes. For example, they may want to use the nearby and less heavily traveled Beecher Falls instead of the Derby Line port. For more information on border crossing times, which are updated hourly, please visit the CBP “Border Wait Times” Web site. ( Border Wait Times )
- Tip 6 - Currency. There is no limit on total amount of monetary instruments that may be brought in or taken out of the U.S. 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 – this form is available at the port of entry). Failure to properly declare or report the importation or exportation of currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 could result in seizure.
- Tip 7 - Food items. Prepared foods for personal consumption or for family/friend gatherings is allowed. If bringing food items for resale or for commercial use, go to FDA Web site or contact your local CBP office for more information. ( FDA ) However, if you plan to cross the border with fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables and you are not sure if they are allowed into the United States, please check with your local CBP office before arrival. Be advised the import of the ‘Kinder Chocolate Eggs’ is still prohibited in the United States due to the potential choking hazard of the small toy within the egg, which fails to meet the small parts requirements set forth by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Tip 8 - Goods and gifts. When crossing the border, all travelers and vehicles are subject to search. Please keep this in mind when transporting gifts for special occasions. Remember to “declare everything purchased or acquired outside of the United States.” If duty is applicable, credit cards or cash payment in U.S. currency is acceptable.
- Tip 9 - 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.
- Tip 10 - Pets. Cats and dogs must be free of disease and illness when entering the U.S. In addition, dog owners must be able to show proof of rabies vaccination. If crossing with a puppy, certain paperwork will need to be completed at the border for the “new addition to the family.”
The border travel tips will be of assistance in averting any potential frustrations when crossing the border during your travels. If you have questions, you may also contact Daniel Mattina, port director, Derby Line at (802) 873-3316 or Erik Hipko, port director, Highgate Springs at (802) 868-2278.