Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

CBP Issues Tips for U.S.-Canadian Border Travelers

With the onset of summer travel, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently released tips for cross-border travelers between the U.S. and Canada.

U.S. and Canadian citizens are now required to present proof of citizenship and identity to enter the U.S. at land and sea ports of entry. This may include a passport, trusted traveler program card (NEXUS), or birth certificate with a driver’s license. Travelers 18 and under may present just a birth certificate. A passport has been required for all travelers entering and departing the United States by air since January 2007.

CBP also reminded U.S. lawful permanent residents that the I-551 form (green card) is acceptable for land and sea travel into the U.S.

CBP’s tips include:

  1. Tip #1 – Travelers should familiarize themselves with the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP Web site to avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of prohibited items. “Know Before You Go” brochures are also available at border ports of entry.
  2. Tip #2 – Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Individuals should have their crossing documents available for the inspection and they should be prepared to declare all items acquired abroad. In addition, individuals should end cellular phone conversations before arriving at the inspection booth.
  3. Tip #3 – Members of the traveling public should consult the CBP Web site to monitor border wait times for various ports of entry, including Blaine and Sumas, Washington; Sweetgrass, Montana; and Pembina, North Dakota. Information is updated hourly and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use and short waits.
  4. Tip #4 – During periods of heavy travel, border crossers may wish to consider alternative, less heavily traveled entry routes.
  5. Tip #5 – Travelers should plan to build extra time into their trips in the event they cross during periods of exceptionally heavy traffic (e.g., Canada Day and the Fourth of July holidays and adjacent weekends).
  6. Tip #6 – Know the difference between goods for personal use and goods for commercial use.
  7. Tip #7 – Do not attempt to bring fruits, meats, dairy, poultry products, or firewood into the U.S. from Canada without first checking whether they are permitted.
  8. Tip #8 – CBP officers have the authority to conduct enforcement examinations without a warrant, ranging from a simple luggage examination up to and possibly including a personal search. Even during the summer vacation season, international border crossers should continue to expect a thorough inspection process when they enter the U.S. from Canada.

CBP said its officials continually monitor traffic and border crossing times at area ports of entry. CBP plans to fully staff all inspection lanes during peak periods and to implement various traffic management operations to maintain the flow of traffic during periods of exceptionally heavy usage.

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Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.