CBP Tips for Summer Int’l Travelers to ‘Know Before You Go’ (Multi-Video)

As Memorial Day signals the unofficial start to summer and schools spring our children free until about Labor Day, families are anxious to take vacations to exotic and historic destinations around the world.

Last summer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processed more than 108.3 million international travelers at U.S. ports of entry.

CBP officers in the Baltimore Field Office operational area encourage you to “Know Before You Go” with these travel tips that can help make your travel abroad and your return to the U.S. quick and easy.

(Learn More about the things you should know when traveling to international destinations and returning to the U.S.. Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and YouTube)

Make sure that you have all appropriate travel documentation for the location you are visiting  

Some countries require a travel visa to enter and some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip.

Learn more about travel documentation before you depart the U.S.

Know what to expect during your CBP arrivals inspection when you return

U.S. citizens can now process their arrivals on Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks at many U.S. airports, or by using the Mobile Passport Control (MPC) application on your smartphone; click on the MPC link to see the 21 airports where MPC is available.

These self-processing features allow you to complete the administrative portion of your arrival, which speeds up the time you wait to see a CBP officer.

(Know what to expect when arriving in the United States from an international destination. Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and YouTube)

Know what products you cannot bring back to the U.S.

This webpage discusses everything from foods to medicines, and cultural artifacts to hunting trophies.

CBP officers have the authority to inspect you and your belongings without a warrant to enforce U.S. laws. 

Truthfully declare to a CBP officer everything you bring back to the U.S., even if you purchased a souvenir or food at a duty free shop.

There are consequences for filing a false declaration.

Explore CBP’s trusted traveler programs

For instance, Nexus (northern land border), Sentri (southern land border) and Global Entry (aviation), that allow expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

Casey Owen Durst, Director, Field Operations for the Baltimore Field Office
Casey Owen Durst, Director, Field Operations for the Baltimore Field Office

Participation is voluntary, and processing your arrivals admission is fast and easy.

“Customs and Border Protection wants to ensure that families enjoy a smooth and efficient processing experience upon their return home from vacation,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP Director of Field Operations in Baltimore, the agency’s operational commander in the Mid-Atlantic region.

“Knowing how the arrivals inspection process works and the rules governing what you can and cannot bring into the United States will help you to get home quicker.”

The Baltimore Field Office operations region includes Washington Dulles International Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, and Pittsburgh International Airport, plus the Cruise Maryland Terminal in Baltimore.

(Learn about the Global Entry program and how it can help you speed through international airports! Also, find out about other benefits that Global Entry members enjoy. Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and YouTube)

For more helpful CBP travel advice, visit CBP’s Travel website.

CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan
CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan

CBP officers at international airports, cruise terminals and land border ports of entry around the country, and at Preclearance facilities around the world are prepared for the additional traffic expected this summer.

“The United States has been and continues to be a welcoming country, and Customs and Border Protection remains committed to facilitating lawful travel to the United States,” said Acting CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.

“In the spirit of this commitment, CBP has deployed innovative programs and technology including Trusted Traveler Programs, Automated Passport Control kiosks and Mobile Passport Control to make the arrival process as efficient and as quick as possible while maintaining our dual mission of border security and travel facilitation.”

CBP’s Office of Field Operations

Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the U.S.

In screening both foreign visitors and returning U.S. citizens, CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong.

Learn more about what CBP did during “A Typical Day” in 2016.


CBP’s border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations.

Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.