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U.S. Travel Information

Arriving in the United States - Immigration, U.S. Customs, Agricultural inspection

Upon arrival in the United States you have first to pass the immigration officer. After debarking the vessel or the airplane you will be led automatically to where the immigration counters are.
On board of the plane or vessel the staff will hand out 2 forms, one is the I-94W form for travelers under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and the other is the customs/agriculture declaration form.
Travelers on a visa or US residents or US citizens don't use the I-94W, see also our information page regarding VWP which includes further information and information for Canadians and Mexicans.
With these forms (filled out; the airline crew will assist) you arrive at the counter where the immigration officer will process your non-immigration entry. He may be will ask some questions regarding what the purpose of your visit is, etc..
After successful immigration you proceed to the baggage claim and then you'll face the customs inspector. If you have something to declare you should have written it on the declaration form or tell the officer at this point. Also when you're not sure about something.

Your Declaration
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) declarations, Form 6059B, are distributed on vessels and airplanes and are available in the following languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Fill out your declaration before you arrive so you can speed up your CBP clearance. You must complete the information requested on the front of the declaration. You need not itemize things you brought with you for personal use—for example, clothing, toiletries, portable radios—if they are within the exemptions allowed for arriving nonresidents. You must, however, declare the value of any gifts, business articles, or items not for your own use that you have brought with you to the United States.
You may declare these articles orally at the time of your inspection; the CBP officer may, however, ask you to list them on the back of your declaration form. Persons arriving by land transportation will make an oral declaration if all the articles they brought are within the allowable exemptions.

Agriculture Inspection
U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) has more than 1,500 agriculture inspectors with specialized training to detect and stop certain identified prohibited agricultural items from entering the United States. As potential carriers of animal and plant pests or diseases, the unauthorized entry of these items can cause serious damage to America's crops, livestock, pets, and the environment. Supported by a 500-member technical team and a Beagle Brigade that can sniff out hidden prohibited agricultural items with extraordinary precision, CBP agriculture inspectors work at key U.S. ports of entry and land borders that include U.S. international airports and mail facilities. Any travelers who fail to declare agricultural items on entry into the United States can be fined a civil penalty of up to $1,000 or more on the spot and will have their items confiscated.

Further reading:
Below you find WebLinks to the official U.S. Websites, where you can lookup the latest publications regarding the customs declaration and what you may bring into the country and what not. Also travelers with pets will find the necessary information there.
We added also a link to the Dep. of Agriculture (APHIS), where you find information regarding what agricultural products are allowed or not.

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Document Information
Source: U.S. Customs & Border Control
Last modified: 20040801
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