CBP issues tips as Caribbean Summer travel starts


– Agency reiterates prohibition on pork-related products from the Dominican Republic due to African Swine Fever

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operations in the Caribbean issued a public recommendation today for travellers, as an increase in the number of international arrivals is expected to start this weekend as part of the summer travel season.

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer travel season and with it an anticipated increment in the number of international arrivals to airports in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

“We ask travellers to be aware and ready in order to avoid long lines and inconveniences at the airports,” shared Roberto Vaquero, director of field operations for Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. “Understand that CBP officers can inspect you and your personal belongings, to enforce our laws as well as protect legitimate travelers.”

Travellers can know how to clear customs.  Among the things travelers should be aware of are:

  • CBP reminds travelers that pork-related products from the Dominican Republic are prohibited from entry due to the African Swine Fever (ASF).
  •  Have all the required travel documents for the country you are visiting, as well as identification for re-entry to the United States.  Passport books are required for all international travel by air. Other options such as the US passport card, trusted traveller cards, border crossing card and permanent resident card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land or seaports.
  • For citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries travelling to the US, make sure that you have an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before boarding.
  • Upon reaching CBP processing declare everything you are bringing from abroad, even if you bought it in a duty-free shop. Know that things bought abroad for personal use or as gifts may be eligible for duty exemptions. If you are bringing them back for resale, they are not.
  • Know the difference between prohibited merchandise (which is forbidden by law to enter the US) and restricted merchandise (items needing special permit to be allowed into the US). For more information, please visit the Restricted/Prohibited section of the CBP website.
  • Monitor border wait times for various ports of entry. Travellers are encouraged to plan their trips during periods of lighter traffic or to use an alternate, less heavily travelled port of entry. For more information, travelers can find up-to-date wait time information on the CBP website.

Global Entry members can expedite their entry by proceeding to the kiosks upon arrival. The upgraded kiosks use facial biometric technology to confirm the traveller’s identify and make and admissibility decision without producing a receipt. This provides a faster, secure, streamlined and touchless experience for Global Entry members travelling internationally while protecting the privacy of all travellers. Global Entry Receiptless Facial Kiosks are now available at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU).

Travellers who do not have Global Entry may use the Mobile Passport Control (MPC). This app allows eligible travellers to submit their passport and customs declaration information through a free, secure app on their smartphone or other mobile device. The use of MPC streamlines the traveller’s entry process into the United States by reducing passport control inspection time and overall wait time. Use of MPC is free and does not require pre-approval.

Also at SJU Biometric Exit is operational which uses biometric facial comparison process at a time and place where travellers are already required by law to verify their identity by presenting a travel document. When travellers depart from SJU on international flights, they will pause for a photo at the departure gate. CBP’s Biometric Exit process will compare the new photo of the traveller to a small gallery of high-quality images that the traveller has already provided to the US government, such as passport and visa photos.

Travellers who wish to opt out of the new biometric process may notify an airline official or a CBP officer as they approach the departure gate. These travellers will be required to present a valid travel document for inspection by the gate agent and they will be processed consistent with existing requirements for departure from the United States.


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