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Holiday Border-crossing Tips

With the holiday season fully upon us, people are beginning to make their holiday travel plans to visit family and friends across the border. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, long-distance driving travel increases during Christmas and New Year’s by 23 percent. With so many travelers hitting the road in December, below are some travel tips to keep in mind when crossing the border.

  1. Be sure you have the proper documentation. U.S. and Canadian citizens over the age of 16 are required to present a valid travel document, such as a passport, a NEXUS, a U.S. passport card, green card or enhanced driver’s license that notes both identity and citizenship. Individuals under the age of 16 may present a birth certificate.
  2. Download CBP’s Border Wait Times app or visit the CBP wait times website here. This will help you accurately track how long your trip will take.
  3. Plan for extra time or an alternate route during peak travel times and be aware of any construction activity.
  4. Prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Be sure to have all identity and crossing documents ready to help ensure a smooth crossing.
  5. Put down your cell phone. Distracted drivers on their cell phones delay both CBP and everyone waiting in line behind you.
  6. Know state alcohol, tobacco and firearms laws. Travelers should be sure to know the state laws concerning transporting alcohol, tobacco or firearms across state lines.
  7. Report all currency. There is no limit to how much currency you may take in or out of the United States, however, U.S. federal law requires you to report your total currency of $10,000 of more. Travelers who fail to truthfully report all of their currency risk their currency being seized and may face criminal charges.
  8. Declare all food items. You may bring prepared foods into the U.S. and Canada for personal use. However, certain items are not allowed including meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, seeds, soil, and other products made from animal or plant materials.
  9. Declare all goods and gifts. All travelers and vehicles are subject to CBP border searches. Declare everything you purchased or acquired to a CBP officer. Be sure to travel with unwrapped gifts and then wrap the gifts once you reach your destination. Otherwise, CBP may need to unwrap them.
  10. Declare all medicines. All valid non-expired prescription medicines should be in the original prescription containers with all patient information listed on the label.
  11. Be sure to have valid documentation when bringing along your furry friends. Cats and dogs must be free of disease and illness when entering the U.S. and Canada. Dog owners must be able to show proof of rabies vaccination. If crossing with a puppy, prior CDC approval and accompanying paperwork is required. Bird owners must pre-arrange for a veterinary inspection with USDA Veterinarian Services at designated ports of entry.

Berardi Immigration Law wishes you a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year! For more information on air travel tips click here. If you have other questions on U.S. immigration, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!