When it comes to international travel, knowing what to expect when you go through customs will help ensure you get to where you’re goin (and back) without any hiccups.
1. Have Your Required Documents
The Bureau of Consular Affairs recommends that you make two copies of all travel documents. Leave a copy at home with someone you trust. Then, carry the other set of copies separate from your original documents.
Documentation may include a Passport, Visa, and additional documentation for minors.
Because security requirements vary from country to country, make sure you know what documentation is required for entry. Search your destination’s requirements →
2. Imports & Exports: Know What You Can Bring Where
Some destinations prohibit certain medications—both prescription and over-the-counter from entering their country. While others may prohibit certain items such as precious metals, antiques, and even electronic equipment that wasn’t declared on arrival from leaving their country.
Check the International Travel Country Information or the embassy of your destination before your trip so there are no unexpected surprises at security.
For items prohibited from returning to the US, visit U.S. customs regulations.
3. Forms … Bring a Pen!
On your flight to your destination, many times the flight attendant will hand out forms for you to fill out for customs. These are also available at the airport once you arrive. So don’t worry if you don’t get one.
In addition to having something to write with, you will also need to know your flight number.
4. Apply for Global Entry Ahead of Time
One of the fastest ways to get through US customs is to have Global Entry. This US Customs and Border Protection program allows expedited clearance for pre-approved travelers entering the US at select airports.
Because the screening process can be slow, you will want to jump on this well before the trip. The benefit of being approved for Global Entry is that it also gives you all the perks of TSA PreCheck and, once approved, both are valid for 5 years!
- No processing lines or paperwork
- Access to expedited entry
- Available at major U.S. airports
- Reduced wait times