Tag

travel

International TravelSeizuresU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Goodbye Airport lines. Hello Trusted Traveler Programs.

posted by Jennifer Diaz July 10, 2018 0 comments

traveltravelAs the summer heat climbs, so does the volume of international travelers. According to Generali Global Assistance  annual travel survey, the number of Americans planning to travel over the summer increased from 61% in 2016 to 68% today, surpassing the rates of both their European (64%) and Chinese (67%) counterparts. The report delves even deeper, explaining that the average American budgets $2,643 for a summer vacation lasting 1.5 weeks. This summer, 54% of American travelers will go abroad, increasing the workload of border integrity agencies and increasing the level of inconvenience placed on the travelers. When traveling, no one enjoys waiting in lines, airport’s inefficient organization, and especially, wasting precious time. Continue Reading

CubaExportInternational Travel

Top Impacts of Cuba Being Removed From “Terrorism List”

posted by Jennifer Diaz May 29, 2015 0 comments
blog 59 picture

As you know, the President made a big announcement back in December, 2014 that the US would take historic steps to chart a new course in our diplomatic relations with Cuba. One specific action item was instructing the Secretary of State to immediately launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and provide a report to the President within six months regarding Cuba’s support for international terrorism.

Within four months of the President’s announcement, on April 8, 2015 (2 months early!), the Secretary of State finalized their review and recommended that Cuba no longer be designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.  Thereafter, on April 14, the President sent Congress the statutorily required report indicating the Administration’s intent to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, including the certification that “Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months; and that Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.” Members of Congress, initially vowing to block the removal of Cuba from the “terrorism list” had no legal outlet to voice their opposition, and as of today, the 45-day Congressional pre-notification period has expired. As a result, the Secretary of State has officially made the final decision to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, effective today, May 29, 2015.

The Department of State issued a Press Statement today advising that:

The rescission of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission. While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation

Below are the top 4 impacts I foresee as a result of Cuba being removed from the State Sponsor of Terrorism List (leaving only Iran, Sudan, and Syria now on the list):

Continue Reading

ExportImportInternational TravelU.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

TOP Questions and Answers on Obama’s Cuba Announcement

posted by Jennifer Diaz December 19, 2014 0 comments

cubaTop Questions and Answers in regards to the December 17, 2014 announcement by President Obama stating the U.S. will lay out “a new course in our relations with Cuba.” Continue Reading

Currency SeizureSeizuresU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Don’t Let Your Currency be Seized When Traveling Internationally – TOP TIPS

posted by Jennifer Diaz November 20, 2012 3 Comments

The holidays are approaching… Do you intend to carry “monetary instruments” when traveling internationally?

Read on, these TOP 5 Tips when carrying “monetary instruments” above $10,000 can save you a U.S. Customs Seizure Case.

Here are your top tips to assure you get it right, and you’re not screaming “Help – U.S. Customs Took my Money at the Airport”.

1. If you intend to carry over $10,000 in monetary instruments, including travelers checks and U.S. or foreign money, you MUST fill out the required form, FINCEN Form 105.  Note, it is PERFECTLY acceptable to travel with currency, you JUST have to report it. Don’t be scared to do so.

2. Review U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s “Currency Reporting” flyer.  Make sure you memorize what “monetary instruments” consist of:

  • U.S. or foreign coins and currency;
  • Travelers checks (in any form);
  • Negotiable Instruments (including checks, promissory notes, and money orders – in a transferable form);
  • Incomplete instruments (checks, promissory notes, and money orders) that are signed with a payees name omitted;
  • Securities or stock in bearer form (in a transferable form)

3. Make sure you can explain the legitimate source of the money.

4. Make sure you can explain the legitimate intended use of the money.

5. Don’t divide currency for the purpose of evading reporting requirements.

Check out CBP’s recent seizures of currency and DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!:

 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Keep Your Shoes ON When Going Through TSA

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 30, 2012 1 Comment

If you travel often, read on, you’ll be glad you did. When was the last time you had the ability to go through security WITH YOUR SHOES ON? Without taking out your laptop? WITH your jacket on? Without having to take out your liquids?

If this appeals to you, which it definitely did for me, you’ll be pleased to know the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for TSA Pre-Check, an initiative that allows eligible passengers to qualify for expedited screening at participating airports.

U.S. citizens, who are members of a CBP Trusted Traveler program, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS are automatically eligible to participate and receive expedited screening benefits for domestic travel through the TSA Pre-Check initiative. TSA Pre-Check benefits include keeping shoes, light outerwear and belts on, keeping laptops in their cases, and leaving the 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in one’s carry-on during screening through TSA security checkpoints.

Members interested in participating in TSA Pre-Check through their Trusted Traveler program membership must enter their PASS ID into the ‘Known Traveler’ field when booking a flight reservation or saving their PASS ID to their airline’s frequent flyer profile. Members can find their PASS ID either online by accessing their GOES account, or on the back of their membership card in the top-left corner.

When traveling on one of the TSA Pre-Check participating airlines, CBP Trusted Traveler members should remember to provide the airline with their full name, date of birth, and PASS ID exactly as it appears in their CBP Trusted Traveler program online account to ensure they are properly considered for TSA Pre-Check.

To learn more, visit Global Entry or TSA, you’ll be glad you did!

Disclaimer, I’ve been displeased as this is not sure proof. Don’t expect it to work 100% of the time, it doesn’t… But, when it does, you’ll be ecstatic!
 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Does the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Make Us Safer?

posted by Jennifer Diaz February 17, 2011 3 Comments

I read a fascinating article entitled "HOMELAND SECURITY HASN’T MADE US SAFER," written by Anne Applebaum, a columnist for the Washington Post and Slate.  It was in the January/February issue of Foreign Policy magazine.  The article criticized the massive spending of time and money by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Ms. Applebaum aimed her barbs right at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with the comment:  "As for the TSA, I am not aware of a single bomber or bomb plot stopped by its time-wasting procedures."

I started thinking about it, and even as a pretty well informed customs and international trade attorney, I could not recall a single incident either.  I have seen the indignities of TSA personnel at the airport force handicapped and elderly people out of their wheelchairs.  I have also been the victim of TSA officers groping around my private areas during one of their random, ‘enhanced pat down’ searches.  For a rollicking good laugh, I encourage you to read the official TSA Blog.  People say the strangest things about their air travel experiences to the TSA from the supposed privacy and safety of their computers.

The TSA submitted a budget request of $8.1 billion for fiscal year 2012. With the billions of dollars spent by both the Bush and Obama Administrations over the past 10 years in the ‘War on Terrorism’ and in support of ‘homeland security,’ the question of whether or not the TSA’s 43,000 trained and certified Transportation Security Officers make us safer through its passenger and baggage screening procedures is still debatable.

I would still like to meet the idiot savant who came up with the 3-1-1 TSA rule about carrying liquids aboard an airplane.  I can’t figure out why we had the technology to send men to the moon in 1969, but in 2011 still have to take our shoes off before walking through a TSA x-ray machine.  I guess the silver lining in all this is that, relatively speaking, the air and ocean cargo screening procedures by the TSA are much better thought out and reasonable.

International Travel

10 Symptoms To Diagnose You as a Road Warrior

posted by Jennifer Diaz October 12, 2010 6 Comments

I have traveled way too much recently, and thought I would help you out with some simple test questions to identify if you too are a road warrior who needs a break.  If more than 5 of the below 10 test sample comments seem all too familiar, I recommend you slow down or go home.  Enjoy this blog post, and let me know the results of the test questions for you.

1. TripAdvisor.com becomes your most commonly used Internet site.

2.  You are daily checking your hotel points and frequent flier program balances.

3.  It is no problem to pack clothes and various accessories into a 22 inch carry-on for a 5 night trip.

4.  You travel with an iPod, Blackberry cellphone, Kindle e-reader, Bose acoustic noise-canceling headphones, and laptop, but still think you are forgetting to bring some electronic gadget.

5. You wander the Brookstone store at the airport, and realize you own a heck of a lot of the stuff on display.

6. You buy shoes, shirts, and get a haircut at the airport instead of  in your own home town.

7.  You know what city you are in, but not certain of the time zone, so you call the hotel front desk to find out.

8.  You tell yourself that a five or six hour, cross-country trip from Miami to Los Angeles is no big deal compared to the international flight you recently took to Hong Kong.

9.  You actually recognize many of the TSA screeners at the airport.

10. Someone asks you for your home phone number, and you have to really concentrate to remember it.

No matter where I go or how long I am gone, I always look forward to returning home to my family (and dog).  Maybe, I’ll reward myself and my wife and kids by taking them with me on a plane to some resort hotel far, far away. Or maybe not 🙂

International Travel

Carrying Cash When Traveling Internationally

posted by Jennifer Diaz August 3, 2009 2 Comments

 

Jennifer Diaz, Florida Customs and International Trade LawyerThere are many reasons to be detained by an officer of the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when returning to the United States, but you wouldn’t think that one of those reasons would be because you have too much cash on you. CBP doesn’t come right out and say “show me the money”, but travelers are required to report monies over $10,000 and a supplemental form must be completed by the traveler. In speaking with many foreign travelers, the big misconception is that taxes, customs duties, or some other fee must be paid to the United States Government on the monies over $10,000. WRONG! 

Think about this, who travels with large amounts of money and for what? The most cash heavy travelers are gamblers attending Poker Tournaments, and tradeshow vendors/buyers that travel abroad to make their purchases. Do you really think that they pay customs duties on the cash- NO. On the merchandise possibly, but that’s another blog.

If you do not declare the cash you have and CBP finds it, you will not only forfeit all of your money, but you may also have to pay a penalty and possibly be criminally prosecuted.

In speaking with a few United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, CBP is more concerned about where the money came from and the reasons for carrying large amounts of cash than anything else. In today’s economy, could your average Joe Traveler just go to the bank and withdraw $10,000 and travel abroad? The answer is probably not. However, could the average Jane Buyer withdraw legitimate company funds, travel to a vendor’s factory and make purchases? Absolutely!

It basically comes down to these Do’s and Don’ts: 

  • Do advise CBP of what you have.
  • Don’t, under any circumstances, lie to CBP. 
  • Do declare the exact amount you are carrying.
  • Don’t try to hide money throughout your person and/or luggage with the thought that “They’ll never look there”, because they will. 
  • Do keep a record from where you withdrew the funds you are carrying.
  • Don’t try to pass off money to your traveling companion so the amount carried is less than $10,000. 
  • Don’t try to handle the matter without legal counsel familiar with these matters.

It’s not rocket science, but if you are willing to take a chance on CBP seizing your cash, the old adage comes to mind, “A fool and his gold are soon parted!”