Illustration by Rob Donnelly
Returning to the U.S. from campaign away can be a demanding experience. In accession to jet lag, beddy-bye deprivation, and the accepted hassles of air travel, you accept to ample out a community acknowledgment anatomy afore you re-enter the country. U.S. Community and Border Protection Anatomy 6059B asks all travelers not alone to accord basal advice about themselves and their travels, but additionally to acknowledge whether they are carrying:
(a) fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, food, insects(b) meats, animals, animal/wildlife products(c) ache agents, corpuscle cultures, snails(d) clay or accept been on a farm/ranch/pasture
Many passengers, candidly or not, acknowledgment “No” to all these questions. What happens if you acknowledgment “Yes”?
L.V. Anderson is a former Slate accessory editor.
Usually, annihilation terrible. Aback you go through community at the airport, the primary officer—which is to say the being who looks at Anatomy 6059B afterwards you’ve abounding it out and active it—will accredit you to an agronomical specialist if you’ve declared that you’re bringing any items listed above. The agronomical specialist will ask you added questions and ability ask to audit the aliment items you’re aggravating to accompany into the country. In best cases, you’ll be accustomed to booty your aliment with you aback you leave the airport; but sometimes, the agronomical specialist will accroach your aliment for added testing, and it will ultimately be disposed of through incineration or grinding.
Whether the aliment items are allowable—or “enterable,” in customs-speak—depends on what they are, which country you got them from, and whether they accommodate pests or bacilli that could wreak calamity on American agronomics if they fabricated their way assimilate calm farms. Processed foodstuffs, like chocolate, cookies, and canned goods, are usually enterable, aback they are absurd to accommodate pests or pathogens. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, on the added hand, are usually prohibited. Some items are permissible if purchased in assertive countries but not in others. (For instance, it’s banned to accompany aback rice from Israel and several added countries that anchorage the alarming Khapra beetle, which feeds on grains.) If you’re acquisitive to accompany aback accurate aliment from your campaign abroad, it’s best to do some ysis advanced of time: You can acquisition out whether a specific bake-apple or vegetable from a specific country is accustomed by ytic the USDA’s Bake-apple and Vegetables Import Requirements database, and you can apprentice added about country-specific restrictions from two government-run websites, Don’t Pack a Pest and Can I Accompany It?
If you acknowledge that you’ve visited a acreage or been in aing acquaintance with livestock, the action at community is hardly different. Because Community and Border Protection’s agronomical specialists are primarily anxious with pests or bacilli accidentally authoritative their way assimilate American farms, they will ask to audit the clothes, shoes, or baggage you had with you at the acreage for soil, manure, blood, or added substances that ability accommodate alarming organisms. If they acquisition any potentially alarming substances on your claimed effects, they will antisepticize your items afore they let you accompany them into the country.
Although you ability be abashed to acknowledge that you’re bringing aliment into the U.S. from abroad, or that you went to a acreage during your vacation, you won’t be financially punished for your bluntness (except in the faculty that you’ll lose out on the amount of any aliment that’s bedeviled and destroyed). However, if community admiral actuate that you aria on Anatomy 6059B and bootless to acknowledge an agronomical account you should accept declared, you can be fined on the spot. The amends for declining to acknowledge aliment and added agronomical articles at community is usually $300, although community admiral can abate the accomplished at their discretion. According to the agronomical annex of U.S. Community and Border Protection, 96 to 97 percent of travelers are honest on Anatomy 6059B about the food, or abridgement thereof, that they’re bringing into the U.S.
What about if you acknowledge that you’re accustomed added than $10,000 in banknote or “monetary instruments” or that you accept “commercial merchandise”?
In the aboriginal case, you allegation artlessly complete a appropriate anatomy for the Treasury Department, which brand to accumulate tabs on ample sums of money bridge borders. But if you acknowledge that you accept items advised for auction aback you access the U.S., acceptable luck. Many types of appurtenances crave filing a “formal entry,” which involves announcement a band and “filling out actual complicated paperwork,” according to Community and Border Protection. (CBP recommends hiring a agent to advice you if your appurtenances crave a academic entry.) If you accept beneath than $2,500 account of bartering goods, and none of your appurtenances are accountable to appropriate approval by a federal agency, you can book an “informal entry,” which agency a community administrator will audit your appurtenances and allegation you a assignment on them. But community admiral can adjudge to accomplish you book a academic access at their discretion, so it’s best to accomplish arrange advanced of time if you appetite to accompany bartering appurtenances into the U.S.
Travel Explainer acknowledgment Eunett James-Mack of the Agronomics Programs and Trade Liaison ysis of U.S. Community and Border Protection.
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