How to Fill the Customs Immigration Form When Traveling to the US

Are you one of those people who hates filling forms? Well, you aren’t alone. I must confess that lengthy forms that ask for a whole lot of information drive me nuts too sometimes. Filling forms isn’t scary, but it can be daunting for the elderly, especially if this is the first time that they are filling a particular type of form.

Fortunately, one of the simplest and easiest forms to fill is the Customs Declaration Form that needs to be filled by anyone traveling internationally. This is true for parents traveling to America to visit their children too. The Customs Declaration Form is usually handed out by a flight attendant, during the flight. Just like any other form, the US Customs and Border Protection Declaration Form 6059B might make you nervous, more so because inaccurate information could get you into trouble, and in some cases, land you in jail too.

I don’t mean to scare you. All I want to emphasize is that you should learn about it beforehand so that you can keep all the information handy when you need to fill it. Here are some things that could help you.

What is the Purpose of Customs Declaration Form 609B?

Entering to the US requires people to complete multiple entry forms. The first form that needs to be filled is the CBP declaration form 609 B. The US authorities use this form to get basic information about you and the reason that has brought you to the US. Through this form, they also find out whether you are bringing any agricultural or wildlife products to the country, or if you visited a farm before travelling.

Although the details may seem irrelevant at first, they are just meant to keep people from bringing in goods to sell without paying the requisite taxes on them or bringing in some agricultural disease, accidentally.

Thankfully, it’s one form per family. There is no need to fill separate forms if you are traveling with family members or other people who live in your household, related by blood, marriage, adoption, or by a stretch of the imagination, domestic relationship. A single form will suffice.

US Customs Immigration Form

The form consists of 15 sections that will require you to fill the below mentioned details:

  1. Your name
  2. Date of birth
  3. Number of family members traveling (other than yourself)
  4. Address where you are staying in the US (American address for US citizens and address of hotel, friend’s house, etc., for visitors)
  5. Country from which you received your passport
  6. Passport Number
  7. Current country of residence (where you live)
  8. Countries visited before travelling to the US
  9. Airline and flight number of the plane/vessel you’re currently on
  10. Is business the reason or a holiday?
  11. What are you bringing with you?  (Be honest)
    – fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, food, insects
    – any animal products (including meats and actual animals)
    – disease agents, cells cultures, snails
    – soil (if you have visited a farm)
  12. Have you been in close proximity to livestock in another country?
  13. Are you carrying more than US$10,000 with you (even if it is in a foreign currency)?
  14. Are you carrying any commercial merchandise?
  15. For US residents: What is the total value of the goods and merchandise acquired abroad and brought back? (This should be less than or equal to $800 to save on duty.)

For visitors: What is the total value of things they are bringing and will be leaving in the US? (This should not be more than $100 for tax free allowance).

You’ll need to mention the items you are bringing into the country with you on the reverse of the form. Do keep the receipts handy. You might need them. Feel free to ask a CBP officer if you have questions about your form or need help.

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All the best!

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Entrepreneur, Mentor & Blogger.
I help business grow & scale. Have helped 15+ companies scale in US, Middle East and India.
I share everything I learned on this blog, so that you benefit. Here’s more about me.

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