going through customs/ immigration

Old Sep 14th, 2009, 08:23 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
going through customs/ immigration

I am going on a cruise to the western caribbean in December. I will be traveling with my husband and 2 kids. (We are US citizens.) What is the process of going through customs and is that different than going through immigration? What exactly are they looking for and what kind of background info are they checking? Typically how long does it take?
amymcswain is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2009, 08:54 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,210
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As opposed to immigration (or passport control), where an agent actually scans your passport and makes sure you are the one pictured on it, Customs ordinarily entails handing a landing card to an agent as you walk through the door without stopping. On rare occasions, the customs agent will stop you and inspect your luggage, but that's exceedingly rare. You'll get the customs declaration (i.e., landing card) on the ship and will be asked to fill it out there, before you disembark.

Each family fills out a customs declaration (each person is allowed to bring in a certain amount of goods, including liquor and tobacco duty free; you pay a duty on the rest).
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2009, 09:39 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So you go through both - customs and passport control? We will not have passports, just our id and birth certificates, so is the process different? What are they checking when they scan it?
amymcswain is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2009, 11:25 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,210
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Of course. Any time you leave the U.S. you have to go through immigration and customs in order to return (occasionally this is done outside of the U.S. ... in Aruba, for example it's done in the Aruba airport). But you still go through immigration as you get off the ship; this happens before Customs and is done by a different agency.

They will check but will not be able to scan your ID and birth certificates. When the immigration agent scans your passport, they are checking to access your file ... your travel patterns, when you left the country, your identity, checking against terrorist watch lists, etc.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2009, 03:25 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 351
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would not want to leave the US without a passport no matter where I went, where I left from or came back to. It is not to late to get passports, but it may cost extra. You never know when you might need a passport.
Aristotle is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2009, 03:42 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 20,638
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Amy, there are new laws that you should check out immediately, most likely you must have 4 passports for this cruise. To start with, your passports will be checked at the embarkation.

We ended our cruise in Dominican Republic, and they checked our passports (US citizens) and I remember filling out 2 or 3 applications, and our suitcases went through x-ray at agriculture checkpoint in addition to the airport x-ray.
Dayenu is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2009, 03:51 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,390
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Here's a link that may help you:

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html
patandhank is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2009, 06:00 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,210
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Despite the new lwas, you can still get by with a birth certificate and photo ID on some Caribbean cruises. Only the cruise line can give you this information, and they will give you the best information. While I would never do such a cruise without a passport, it's certainly still possible to do it.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2009, 01:45 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 23,138
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
According to Dept of State website all people entering Bahamas (and virtually everywhere else) after 6/09 must have a passport. Doug (above) always has good info, but I am not sure he is correct this time. And I would not want to "get by" regarding a passport or even rely on cruiseline info - since it is the governments of respective countries that make the rules.

And even if cruiseline would let you board and the US would let you back in - it would then be impossible to fly home in case of emergency, since you absolutely must have a passport to do that.

So I know it is a lot more money to get passports for everyone - but you still have time. Make sure you read and understand the rules for geting passports for minor children from Dept of State website - it varies by age of kid and requires presence of both parents at time of application or some sort of offical paperwork (to deter parental abductions outside the country)
gail is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2009, 05:09 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,210
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm right on this one. Sea cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port are exempt from the new passport requirements. Here's the rule in brief (copied from the State Department web site): "All Americans traveling outside of the United States are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter the United States. This extended to all sea travel (except closed-loop cruises), including ferry service on June 1, 2009."

If you are taking a cruise that begins and ends in a different U.S. port, then you do have to carry a passport or passport card.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2009, 08:25 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I know that I do not need a passport. I have checked and verifed that info. Picture ID and birth certificate are all we need. Thanks for the advice.
amymcswain is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
mbeyeorr
Europe
12
Jul 16th, 2012 06:21 AM
TxTravelPro
Europe
21
Jul 21st, 2008 03:42 AM
jules4je7
Europe
7
May 23rd, 2005 09:26 AM
Jack31
Europe
11
Nov 6th, 2003 04:00 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -