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Contributor: Travel editor Kerri Westenberg.

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Tips for crossing the border

Posted by: Kerri Westenberg under International travel Updated: May 31, 2011 - 11:41 AM

Heading out of the country anytime soon? Here are tips for crossing the border sent from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

• Tip #1 – To avoid fines and penalties associated with importing prohibited items, travelers should familiarize themselves with the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP website

• Tip #2 – Be prepared to declare all items acquired abroad. Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth and have their approved travel documents ready.


• Tip #3 –Monitor border wait times for various ports of entry. Travelers can find wait time information at the CBP website. To experience shorter wait times, travelers can use ports of entry during periods of lighter traffic or less heavily traveled ports of entry during periods of heavy travel.


• Tip #4 – Build extra time into the trip in the event of crossing during periods of exceptionally heavy traffic.


• Tip #5 – Know the difference between goods for personal use versus commercial use. For more details, go here.


• Tip #6 –Do not attempt to bring fruits, meats, dairy/poultry products and/or firewood into the U.S. without first checking whether they are permitted. More info here.

• Tip # 7 – International border crossers should expect a thorough inspection process, even during busy holiday periods, when entering the U.S. CBP officers are authorized to conduct enforcement examinations, ranging from checking luggage to a personal search, without a warrant.


• Tip #8 – If you are a frequent cross-border traveler and haven’t already become a member of a trusted traveler program, sign up now.

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