Dos and Don’ts when Filing a CBP Traveling Entry Form

Entry at US borders is overseen by U.S. Homeland Security Department and Customs Protection Bureau (CPB) and to an extend the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). These agencies as well as others ensure that US borders are secure and that everyone in the US and everyone entering the US remain safe. To this extent, it is the job of the CPB to ensure that only those who are qualified enter the US.

If you are entering the US this summer, it is important to have the appropriate US visitor visas and to have the appropriate documents ready. Keep in mind, however, that even US visitors with the appropriate paperwork may have a hard time entering the US. US visitor visas do not guarantee you entry into the US. You may be taken aside for an interview with CPB authorities or officers if there is any question about your authorization to enter the US or if there are any other questions about your entry into the US. You may be asked to fill out CBP Traveling Entry Forms or other forms pertaining to any goods you need to declare. When speaking with CBP officers or filling out any paperwork at the border, consider these do’s and don’ts:

1) Do prepare well in advance of your trip. Apply early for the appropriate US visitor visas or other visas you need to enter the US. Make sure that you apply in advance for the specific type of visa you will need. As well, bring copies of any relevant paperwork as well as extra ID and any documents related to your trip and its purpose. If there are any questions or problems, it can help if you can prove what you will be doing in the US.

2) Don’t make anything up on your CBP Traveling Entry Form. If you are not sure about something on CBP Traveling Entry Form, ask rather than guessing. Any dishonesty on these forms can mean that you are denied entry into the US and may face legal problems as well.

3) Do stay polite. If you are denied entry based on something in your CBP Traveling Entry Form, it is important not to try to argue with authorities at the border. It will not help your case and may lead to unpleasant situations or even criminal charges. If you are denied entry, the best thing to do is to retain as many documents as you can and then appeal the decision. You can get help from a qualified US immigration attorney to sort out the problem, if needed.