SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operations in the Caribbean has issued a public recommendation for travelers, as an increase in the number of international arrivals is expected to start this weekend as part of the spring travel season.
“With the arrival of spring, and numerous travel experiences across the Caribbean, there is an anticipated increment in the number of international arrivals to its airports, as well as private vessel entries traversing the islands in the West Indies into the United States,” said CBP in a statement.
“We ask travelers to be aware and ready in order to avoid long lines and inconveniences at the airports, and warrant boaters to report their entry by sea into US territory,” said 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.”
CBP said among the things travelers should be aware of are the required travel documents for the country visiting, as well as identification for re-entry to the United States.
CBP said passport books are required for all international travel by air.
It said other options, such as the US passport card, trusted traveler 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 traveling to the US, make sure that you have an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before boarding,” CBP warned. “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,” it added. “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).”
CBP said all agriculture items must be declared and are subject to inspection by a CBP Agriculture Specialist at ports of entry to ensure they are free of plant pests and foreign animal diseases.
“Monitor border wait times for various ports of entry,” it said. “Travelers are encouraged to plan their trips during periods of lighter traffic or to use an alternate, less heavily traveled port of entry.