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Op-Ed: Truthful declarations can help avoid delays during busy holiday travel season

As the cold temperatures drop in the northern hemisphere, the holidays represent the start of the high season in the Caribbean; as one of the most favored destinations for travelers whether flying or just enjoying a pleasant cruise. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands highlight its available programs in the area to facilitate travel.  

Enrollment on Arrival (EoA)
Enrollment on Arrival is a program that allows Global Entry applicants who are conditionally approved to complete their interviews upon arrival into an airport in the United States, eliminating the need for the applicant to schedule an interview at an enrollment center to complete the application process.

Starting in January 2020, when landing in the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport follow the signage directing you to CBP officers who can complete your Global Entry interview during your admissibility inspection.

To complete the interview via EoA, you must be in possession of the following documents:

  • A valid passport or admissibility documents such as Legal Permanent Resident Card or US Visa;
  • Documents providing evidence of residency. Examples are: driver’s license (if the address is current), mortgage statement, rental payment statement, utility bill, etc. This is not required for minors; and,
  • A permanent resident card (if applicable).

Mobile Passport Control (MPC)
U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors will now have the option of using the MPC. This program expedites entry into the United States from foreign by using a mobile application to submit users’ passport and travel information to CBP.  The application is available for use at selected locations including Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), San Juan Pan-American Dock and San Juan Seaport Pier 4.

The application is user friendly, free and is available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Pleasure boaters
If you enjoy boating in the Caribbean and you are navigating from and to a port or place, you are required to report arrival to CBP immediately. The CBP ROAM app is a free mobile application that provides an option for pleasure boaters to report their U.S. entry to CBP via their personal smart device or a tablet located at local businesses to satisfy the above reporting requirements.

Travelers are also encouraged to plan and to consider the following tips to ensure a smooth and efficient CBP processing experience.

Obtain all necessary travel documents: Travelers should have their passports and any other required travel documents ready when approaching a CBP officer for processing and when visiting a foreign country.  For more information about approved travel documents for entry into the United States, visit this website, as well as HERE.

Declare goods: Truthfully declare everything that you bring into the United States, including duty-free items.  Applicable duties may be paid with credit cards or cash payments in U.S. currency. Travelers are asked to review the list of prohibited and restricted items prior to departure.

Declare food: Many agriculture products can bring damaging pests and diseases into the country. If you have questions about which food products you may bring into the United States, find info HERE. And remember – don’t pack a pest!

Declare gifts: All gifts must be declared upon arrival, but you may include them in your personal exemption. This includes gifts that you are given abroad and gifts you purchase for others.

Travelers carrying more than $10,000: There is no limit to how much currency a traveler can bring in or out of the U.S.; however, U.S. federal law requires travelers to report total currency more than $10,000. Currency includes all forms of monetary instruments. Travelers who fail to truthfully report all of their currency risk their currency being seized and may face criminal charges.

Traveling with medication: Travelers must declare all medicine and similar products when entering the United States. Prescription medications should be in their original containers with the doctor’s prescription printed on the container. If your medications or devices are not in their original containers, you must have a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor. It is advised that travelers carry no more than a 90-day supply of their medication.

Traveling with pets: Cats and dogs must be free of disease and illness when entering the United States. In addition, dog owners must produce proof of rabies vaccination. If arriving with a puppy, certain paperwork must be completed at the border. All pets are subject to health, quarantine, agriculture, and wildlife requirements and prohibitions, regardless of how the pet enters the country.  Pets taken out of the United States and returned are subject to the same requirements as those entering for the first time. For more information about traveling with your pet to a foreign country or bringing your pet into the United States, visit the APHIS pet travel website.

CBP’s mission is to facilitate lawful travel while maintaining the highest standards of security. On a typical day last year, CBP officers processed more than one million travelers arriving at airports, seaports and border crossings. 

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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