CBP Cautions Travelers about Inadmissible Items, Which It will Seize

A U.S. citizen returning from Europe surrenders toy-stuffed, egg-shaped confections. An Asian visitor surrenders fake U.S. currency intended to be used during a ritual burial. A European visitor surrenders fine Cuban-made Corona cigars. A visitor from the Mediterranean surrenders lamb to be used in a traditional festival. A U.S. citizen surrenders a narcotic pipe purchased during a Caribbean vacation.

These stories are true. More than a million returning travelers and foreign visitors enter the United States by sea, by vehicle, or by air every day. Some attempt to enter the country with items that are prohibited by law as dangerous to our citizens, our agriculture, or our commerce, or that are prohibited by international laws and treaties. Consequently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are duty-bound to detain and destroy these inadmissible items.

Now that schools across the nation have closed for summer vacation and families are anticipating vacations to fascinating destinations around the globe, CBP urges citizens to take one extra step that is equally as important in planning the vacations--visit the "Know Before You Go" Web site at http://cbp.customs.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/. The site provides travel-related regulations and tips to help protect the traveler.

"We know that travelers plan extensively for international vacations, and we're just asking that they take that one last step and know what they can and can’t bring into the United States," said Michael Lovejoy, director of the CBP Baltimore field operations office. The CBP Baltimore field office includes popular airports and seaports in Southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. "Our 'Know Before You Go' Web site is a vital planning resource that provides rules governing what items they can legally bring to the U.S.," Lovejoy said. "I'd hate to see anyone unnecessarily lose their hard-earned money by purchasing items inadmissible to the U.S., especially in today's economic environment."

To provide travelers a sense of the prohibited items that CBP officers seize most often, the CBP Baltimore field office has released this Top-10 list of inadmissible items:

1. Smaller Kinder or Caffarel Eggs (small toy-stuffed chocolate confections);
2. Cuban cigars;
3. Fresh, dried, canned meats or meat products;
4. Many types of fruits and vegetables;
5. Counterfeit commercial merchandise (handbags, watches, clothing, etc.);
6. Most plants, cuttings, seeds, unprocessed plant products or plant-based handicrafts;
7. Many types of medications purchased outside the United States;
8. Drugs and drug paraphernalia;
9. Absinthe (a distilled spirit containing thujone known to produce psychedelic effects);
10. Fake U.S. currency or Hell Notes that appear too similar to legitimate U.S. currency.

"Travelers take extraordinary care to learn as much as they can to prepare for their foreign destination; we'd like them to exercise the same level of care to prepare for their return trip home," Lovejoy said.

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