Properly preparing yourself for the procedures involved in crossing the border can better secure your ability to successfully complete the process.

Following the now-infamous terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a much tighter set of security screenings were implemented at border checkpoints throughout the United Sates. Now, U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign-born citizens alike must all follow the protective measures that have since been implemented to secure safety along U.S. borders.

Whether you are crossing the border by land, air, or sea, the processes involved with entering a new country can be both tedious and time-consuming. Not only must you present a passport and / or another type of approved travel document at the time that you attempt to enter a U.S. border crossing checkpoint, but you could also be asked a series of questions and have your baggage carefully inspected.

Properly preparing yourself for the procedures involved in crossing the border can better secure your ability to successfully complete the process. We therefore encourage you to work with a New York immigration lawyer from the law offices of Pozo Goldstein, LLP before attempting to cross the border. With the help of an attorney at our firm, the experience can be made as quick and easy as seemingly possible.

Travel Information for U.S. Citizens & Lawful Permanent Residents

Any U.S. citizen who wishes to travel by air – this includes both adults and children – will be required to present a valid passport in order to clear customs. In some cases, a different type of pre-approved travel document can be accepted in lieu of a passport; these documents could include a U.S. Merchant Mariner Document (if the trip is for official business), a U.S. military I.D. and travel orders, or a NEXUS card (only at airports with NEXUS kiosks).

Before a U.S. citizen will be permitted to return to his or her home country of residence when traveling by land or sea, he or she will need to provide supportive documentation that shows a compliance with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHITI). Typically, WHITI-compliant documentation includes passports and / or trusted traveler cards.

Lawful permanent residents, also referred to as green card holders, will also be required to present a passport or other form of secure traveling document before entering the U.S. by air. If a lawful permanent resident wishes to cross the border by land or sea, he or she will be asked to present their Permanent Residence Card. For more information about the Form I-551 that is connected to the Permanent Resident Card, feel free to contact Pozo Goldstein, LLP.

Travel Information for International Visitors

Foreign-born nationals who wish to enter the United States will need to present their passport when going through customs. In some cases, an e-Passport will also be accepted at this time. Depending on the country of origin from which a visitor is coming, he or she may be permitted to enter the U.S. without a visa; such entry is allowed for under the Visa Waiver Program. Persons who enter the U.S. under this program will be subjected to the Internet-based Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Entrants who are subjected to the ESTA must complete the process prior to traveling to the U.S.

A different set of travel circumstances will be allotted to visitors who enter the U.S. from Bermuda, Canada, or Mexico. Persons who cross the border from one of these countries will be subjected to a special set of rules as defined by the WHITI. Regardless of their country of origin, all international visitors to the U.S. are required to present a passport or other secure travel document when entering the country by air. Other compliances for Bermudian, Canadian, and Mexican citizens are as follows:

  • Citizens of Bermuda: Bermudians must present a single document that has been authorized as WHITI-compliant when visiting the U.S. by land or sea. In addition, citizens of Bermuda will be subjected to US-VISIT biometric procedures.
  • Citizens of Canada: Canadians must present a single document that has been authorized as WHITI-compliant if they are traveling by land or sea. Under some circumstances, Canadians will also be subjected to the US-VISIT biometric procedures.
  • Citizens of Mexico: Mexicans must present a passport along with a nonimmigrant visa or Border Crossing Card if they are visiting the U.S. by land or sea. Only some citizens of Mexico will be subjected to US-VISIT biometric procedures.
  • Trusted Traveler Programs: What are they?

    The Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, has a series of Trusted Traveler Programs, the designs of which encompass a number of different types of pre-screenings. These pre-screenings are geared toward providing expedited travel through avenues that have been established as low-risk. Trusted Traveler Programs include:

  • FAST: FAST can be used by approved commercial truck drivers who travel between the U.S. and Canada border, as well as the U.S. and Mexico border.
  • Global Entry: Global Entry can be used by pre-screened international travelers to the U.S.
  • NEXUS: NEXUS can be used by approved members who travel between the U.S. and Canada border either by land, air or sea.
  • SENTRI: SENTRI can be used by approved members who travel between the U.S. and Mexico border either by land, air or sea.
  • Pozo Goldstein, LLP is here for you!

    At the law offices of Pozo Goldstein, LLP, U.S. and foreign-born citizens alike can seek the trusted help they need for an immigration matter of any nature. Whether you wish to learn more about the visas available to you as traveler or your concerns rest with the wellbeing of you and your family as you cross the border, our firm can be contacted for help.

    Collectively, our immigration attorneys have spent more than 90 years working in the legal field – first as immigration prosecutors and a former U.S. judge, and now as immigration attorneys for you. As such, we are well-equipped to take on matters of every degree, and we will work tirelessly to support the efforts being made on behalf of your immigration status. To learn more, don’t hesitate to contact a New York City visa attorney at our office.

  • Border Crossing Cards