What You Need to Know Going Through Customs

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If you’re traveling into or out of the U.S., it’s crucial to have everything in order, because customs can often take longer than your typical security line if you make missteps.
 
A good first step, well in advance of your trip, is to check what documentation the consulate requires. You can visit the U.S. Department of State website for a list of foreign consular offices. You can check for visa requirements and other documentation.
 
For example, upon arrival in the U.S. you must have the CBP Declaration Form 6059B ready to go. You’ll get this form on the plane, and for the most part, it’s pretty standard. However, there are a few questions that might make you pause, especially after a long and exhausting flight. For the questions about what you brought back in your luggage, you should be as specific as possible. If you lie or leave off a product that might need to be confiscated, you will not only lose the item but also receive a large fine. Because customs officials are trained to identify contraband, you should not plan on trying to sneak anything through.
 
If you have a tight connection, you want to be especially careful and ditch the food products. You’ll also want to turn your cell phone off, because it could be confiscated if it goes off in customs.
 
To get through customs smoothly and quickly, try not to bring back anything that would go against customs policies. If you’re unsure about an item, be sure to declare it on the form.

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