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Old 06-11-2005, 09:30 PM
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CWO4USCGRET CWO4USCGRET is offline
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Travelling to America

I have heard about various custom knifemakers (especially our Canadian Neighbors) inconsistencies in their inspection, examination, and entry into the US enroute to Custom Knife Shows. I also have heard about the recent trials and tribulations of international knifemakers coming (or not being allowed entry) to the US for Blade 2005.

I am a US Customs and Border Protection Officer on the US - Canadian Border. I made a commitment to AT Barr yesterday to research (and post here) the basic requirements and documentation that may make the process easier for the international makers.

As I told AT, I must insist that the following caveats apply to anything that I post:
(1) The information provided is informational only and should not to be taken as gospel
(2) I will cite chapter and verse of the applicable law(s)
(3) If it my opinion I will so state it
(4) I will not answer "what if or how come questions. (I will explain why in my next post)
(5) and please, don't use this as a forum to vent your frustrations....

I am trying to help out.


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Last edited by CWO4USCGRET; 06-11-2005 at 09:31 PM. Reason: grammatical correction
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Old 06-11-2005, 10:00 PM
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CWO4USCGRET CWO4USCGRET is offline
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Travelling to the US - the Basics

This is the first post of several, based on my limited experience as a Customs and Border Protection Officer. The following is a general overview of travel to the US.

Basically, there are 2 classes of foreign visitors travelling to the US - Immigrants (those intending to take up permanent residency in the US) and Non-Immigrants - temporary visitors for a myriad of reasons. I will concentrate on Non-immigrant Visitors.

In almost all cases travellers to the US require a valid passport and in many cases a visa issuied by the US Department of State. There are countries that participate in a program called the "Visa Waiver Program" where you don't require a visa. For specific information about visas, travel, and customs, visit the following websites:

Visa Information
Customs and Border Protection
Department of Homeland Security

In general, visas are issued by the US State Department (abroad) to travellers desiring to come to the US. There are many types of visas - from visitors for business, pleasure, educaton, government representation, religious purposes, etc.
A traveller must complete an application for a visa (and pay fees...). Possessing a valid visa does not guarantee admission to the US.....

All travellers arriving at a US International Arrival Point (i.e. the International Arrival Terminal at an airport) are examined and inspected as to their admissibility into the US. Having a valid passport and visa allows you to request to be admitted to the US for your intended purpose; a Customs and Border Protection Officer (with the assistance of other officers if necessary) determine if in fact an individual is admissible. If admitted to the US then a traveller is issued an Entry/Exit Document (I-94) valid for the purpose of travel - for a defined period of time. If not admissible - for any number of reasons - the traveller is refused entry and is allowed to return from where they travelled from.

Now in the case of knife makers, travelling to a Knife Show to sell their knives, the next part of the equation involves making "entry" on the knives being brought into the US. Depending on value of the knives, various Customs Forms may need to be filed - there are Customs Brokers who are licensed (and for a fee) to assist you in completing and filing the proper paper work in a timely manner.

I don't want to be too verbose in my posts; there is a lot of information to cover - and I do have to do my homework; I don't want to give out any false or mis-leading information...so I will leave it as it is for now.....


See you soon.


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Old 06-12-2005, 11:37 AM
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Tim,

This is a great thread. I've promoted it to the news forum so that we could run it from the home page of the site.

Thanks for the information!!!

Alex


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Old 06-14-2005, 11:01 PM
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Been busy

Greetings all,

Been busy (should be in bed now...) I want to continue with some more accurate information for you; am discussing it with other officers at work and researching the laws and want to give you all accurate info...

I will post more on this subject this weekend when I am on my days off.



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Old 06-15-2005, 07:22 AM
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Tim,

I have a question on the use of an American military ID at a customs station. If you would rather me email it to please say so and it can be handled off line.

Jim
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Old 06-15-2005, 10:18 AM
Coutel Coutel is offline
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Thanks for posting this. I look forward to learning more.


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Old 06-15-2005, 07:41 PM
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Jim,

I would like to try to not make this a question and answer forum; likewise I wouldn't think it appropriate to be a "vent your frustration at Customs" either.

To address your question re: Military ID Card, during my 30 year active duty career in the military, I can tell you that i personally know of many non-US Citizens who served (or are serving) proudly in the military.

All persons arriving at a border crossing are required to provide proof of citizenship. The following documents are generally accepted as proof of citizenship (or legal residency):

Passport
Official Travel Document
Refugee Travel Document
US Citizenship Certificate
US Lawful Permanent Resident Card
Canadian Permanent Resident Card (with valid passport and, if requred, valid visa)

Most commonly used documents (used in combination with two or more)

Driver's License or other valid photo ID issued by a government entity used in conjunction with a certified copy of a birth certificate

Voter registration card.

For foreign travellers entering the US a valid passport and visa if required.

Military you ask? Under orders or not? On leave or a pass?

Jim, it is up to the traveller to prove to the the inspecting officer their citizenship and their admissibility (can they enter the US and for what purpose); it is up to the officer to allow that person admittance to the US.

One of our instructors, who I regard very highly, equated your passport and visa as an invitation to come to the US and that we (Inspectors) are the gatekeepers tasked with ensuring that the traveller is who he says he is and is a legitimate traveller.

Hope that helps.


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Old 06-16-2005, 07:32 AM
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Tim,

I understand not wanting to make this a question and answer thread. I would have been happy to work it off line and would have understood if you weren't comfortable answering even then. I do appeciate your time and answering.

The question wasn't a complaint, I'm not looking to start a fire or take any frustrations out on you . Both my wife?s family and mine live on the Canadian border, in different parts of the country. Not only is it a couple minute drive to there, Detroit and Ogdensburg, it's also the quickest route between the two points and since we always have them on us it would make life easier.

Jim

Last edited by Drac; 06-16-2005 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 06-16-2005, 03:26 PM
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Oops

Jim,

I didn't mean your post was a nag nor a complaint; and I didn't have a problem posting a response about the ID cards...what I want to do here is put out some good basic information about travelling to knife shows in the US for our overseas friends. Anytime anyone comes into the US they are examined and inspected; to determine if they can enter the US at that time.

Valid proof of citizenship is paramount to the process.


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