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Global Entry Kiosks Declarations and Food Questions

Global Entry Kiosks Declarations and Food Questions

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Old Sep 14, 19, 4:37 am   -   Wikipost
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Global Entry kiosks typically ask a yes/no question about whether you are bringing "food" into the country. The question is broader than on the deprecated blue form that asked about fruits, vegetables, meats, etc.

CBP answers the question of whether you must declare all "food" on its website:

Must I declare food items or products when using the Global entry kiosk?

Yes, all food items and products must be declared when entering the U.S.

You may be able to bring in food such as fruits, meats or other agricultural products depending on the region or country from which you are traveling.
General consensus is that the best practice is to declare any "food", include candies, cookies, snacks, etc. and then inform the CBP agent about your food. Experience has been that in nearly all cases the agent will wave you through with extremely minimal delay. As explained elsewhere, the primary focus of the question is to prevent importation of fruits, vegetable, and meats that could cause harm to the American food supply, but it is safest to allow the CBP agent to make the determination.

There is some debate as to whether items one can ingest for non-nutritive reasons (e.g., gum, toothpaste, medicine) should qualify as food. There does not appear to be an answer from CBP or experience showing the proper categorization of such items.
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Old Jan 23, 14, 7:59 am
  #91  
 
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This week I had the opportunity to use the GE kiosks for the first time (new Nexus/GE member). As I was bringing cheese back from Europe, I marked the food question with a 'yes.'
To my surprise, I did receive a big 'X' on my slip, but rather a large circle around the words 'proceed to baggage inspection.'
I ended up spending about 20 minutes in secondary, with the agent typing away my reason for travel (a Mileage Run, where I only spent 24 hours on the ground). He also inspected my bags.

This would probably NOT have happened if I had waited in the non-existent line, and spoke to a CBP officer. So, so far, GE actually hurt me more than it helped me...
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Old Jan 24, 14, 2:14 am
  #92  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
In the past with the blue form, I always wrote in what the food was since I only bring things that I know are OK, such as chocolates and cookies. I know not to ever cross borders with meat, fruit, etc.
Chocolates and cookies haven't always been ok for import into the US, and so I always declare them. I follow CBP actions very closely but I don't assume that I'm always on top of changes or all developments on what goodies are not generally permissible at the time of my return to the US.

Consumable foodstuff is always declared by me when I have such stuff.
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Old Jan 24, 14, 3:23 am
  #93  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
In the past with the blue form, I always wrote in what the food was since I only bring things that I know are OK, such as chocolates and cookies. I know not to ever cross borders with meat, fruit, etc.
Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Chocolates and cookies haven't always been ok for import into the US, and so I always declare them. I follow CBP actions very closely but I don't assume that I'm always on top of changes or all developments on what goodies are not generally permissible at the time of my return to the US.

Consumable foodstuff is always declared by me when I have such stuff.
The point of declaring food items is so that customs can determine what can be imported or not. The important part isn't what can be brought in or not, or that you know, its that it gets declared so they can determine. Yes, cookies and chocolate, are going to be ok, but still should be declared if the question says "food". I was told by an officer once that the only thing that are never ok to bring in is citrus fruits and some specific kind of meat (I think maybe goat?).

Have no idea if the list goes beyond that. However, they want to inspect the stuff, determine where it comes from, and then decide whether you get to keep it or not based on that. If they can't determine, I guess it doesn't come in.

AFAIK, you don't get notes/revocation of the program for declaring fruit that can't be imported. You delcare it, the agriculture officer inspects it, and says yes or no. If no, they take it and that's the end of it. Now if you don't declare it on the other hand, that's where you get into trouble.

Last edited by emcampbe; Jan 24, 14 at 3:28 am
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Old Jan 24, 14, 11:29 am
  #94  
 
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
AFAIK, you don't get notes/revocation of the program for declaring fruit that can't be imported. You delcare it, the agriculture officer inspects it, and says yes or no. If no, they take it and that's the end of it. Now if you don't declare it on the other hand, that's where you get into trouble.
FYI - that's not what the customs officer told me when I was selected for a baggage screening for marking 'yes' to the food question.
He recommended marking NO to that question, then verbally advising the customs officer that I have X or Y food items.
He said it's OK to verbally change a declaration. I asked him if he really recommends lying to the machine, and he said that changing a declaration is not lying...
Sounded a bit strange to me.
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Old Jan 26, 14, 6:09 am
  #95  
 
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I just passed through in ATL and got sent to full blown secondary at the exit. I had to argue with the AirServ employee taking the CBP files to put mine towards the front of the queue being GE, which she confirmed with the CBP officers was the correct process - why an AirServ employee is working in an FIS Secondary Facility, I have no clue.

Waited about 10 minutes, and got sent on my way without opening my bags. Both of my friends traveling without GE beat me through, however.
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Old Feb 3, 14, 2:44 pm
  #96  
 
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Declare that food!

or lose some money and GE. that must be some powerful good popcorn.



http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...-dont-smuggle/

On Tuesday, a couple from West Chester, Pa., attempted to smuggle about 30 pounds of undeclared and prohibited food products from India through Washington Dulles International Airport, authorities said. The people were “trusted travelers,” a special status given to travelers who pay $100 fee and undergo a rigorous background check that includes an interview. The “trusted” status allows them to speed through screening by making their declarations at special automated kiosks.

CPB officials said the couple returned from India through Dubai and went to the Global Entry self-help kiosk to make their declarations. Neither of them said they had any food products. CBP officers, however, referred for secondary inspection.

The couple again said they did not have any food in the eight pieces of luggage they’d returned home with. More questioning followed and they told officers they had only sweets and spices. But when a CBP agriculture specialist passed each bag through an X-ray, “anomalies” were detected in seven of the eight bags. After further examination, agents found about 25 pounds of chick peas and five pounds of popcorn with green curry leaves — which, yes, you guessed properly, are not allowed.

(NOTE: Chickpeas from India are prohibited due to the possible introduction of harmful plant diseases and insect pests, such as the highly destructive Khapra beetle.)

Bottom line: trust broken.

In addition to a $500 fine, the couple are no longer trusted travelers
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Old Feb 9, 14, 7:26 am
  #97  
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I recently got into a discussion about declaring candy at the GE kiosk. I was told it was not necessary, but on one trip when I had plenty of time, I did declare some candy just to see what would happen and how long it would take to clear once I declared it. Well, the CBP officer just blew up, said why was I declaring candy? I just screwed up the system etc. Anyway, after leaving the customs area, I saw a CBP officer and asked him about declaring candy, I did not mention the episode with the other officer, he said that if you can put it in your mouth, it is food, so yes it should be declared. I thanked him and went on my way. The question regarding food is slightly ambiguous at the kiosk terminal, but on the manual questionnaire, the blue form, it says FOOD, so I don't declare candy at the kiosk, but I do on the blue form, just in case.
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Old Feb 10, 14, 3:25 am
  #98  
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Originally Posted by sfo View Post
I recently got into a discussion about declaring candy at the GE kiosk. I was told it was not necessary, but on one trip when I had plenty of time, I did declare some candy just to see what would happen and how long it would take to clear once I declared it. Well, the CBP officer just blew up, said why was I declaring candy? I just screwed up the system etc. Anyway, after leaving the customs area, I saw a CBP officer and asked him about declaring candy, I did not mention the episode with the other officer, he said that if you can put it in your mouth, it is food, so yes it should be declared. I thanked him and went on my way. The question regarding food is slightly ambiguous at the kiosk terminal, but on the manual questionnaire, the blue form, it says FOOD, so I don't declare candy at the kiosk, but I do on the blue form, just in case.
Supposedly the kiosk question has been updated and now says "food" - so that would have to be declared. There is a thread in this forum. Posted around the last time I used a kiosk, which was just prior to Xmas, but the machine I used (pre-clearance, YYZ) had the question the same way it always did, asking about specific kinds of food.
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Old Feb 10, 14, 7:28 am
  #99  
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
Supposedly the kiosk question has been updated and now says "food" - so that would have to be declared. There is a thread in this forum. Posted around the last time I used a kiosk, which was just prior to Xmas, but the machine I used (pre-clearance, YYZ) had the question the same way it always did, asking about specific kinds of food.
I have used the Kiosks that were/are very specific about the type of foods and candy was not one of them, but if now it says "food" then a declaration will need to be made on the Kiosk as "yes".
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Old Feb 15, 14, 8:21 am
  #100  
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Originally Posted by bostonbali View Post
This week I had the opportunity to use the GE kiosks for the first time (new Nexus/GE member). As I was bringing cheese back from Europe, I marked the food question with a 'yes.'
To my surprise, I did receive a big 'X' on my slip, but rather a large circle around the words 'proceed to baggage inspection.'
I ended up spending about 20 minutes in secondary, with the agent typing away my reason for travel (a Mileage Run, where I only spent 24 hours on the ground). He also inspected my bags.

This would probably NOT have happened if I had waited in the non-existent line, and spoke to a CBP officer. So, so far, GE actually hurt me more than it helped me...
Once you get that X on your slip, get ready to have more secondary screenings when traveling international. After I've gotten that X, you'll get the infamous SSSS on your boarding pass when departing the US. I've gotten it two consecutive times since December and I travel overseas every month.
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Old Feb 15, 14, 4:24 pm
  #101  
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Originally Posted by gemini573 View Post
Once you get that X on your slip, get ready to have more secondary screenings when traveling international. After I've gotten that X, you'll get the infamous SSSS on your boarding pass when departing the US. I've gotten it two consecutive times since December and I travel overseas every month.
That isn't how it goes for everyone in these kind of situations. If you think the <SSSS> flag on future flights is a result of kiosk giving an X previous times, then you should consider a refundable ticket to get a boarding pass for a flight with another airline at that airport for the same day and see what happens when you check-in for that other flight/airline and see how that works out. That would provide more of a clue on what may be taking place.

Last edited by TWA884; Jun 6, 17 at 9:50 am Reason: Term better left for the policy debate forum
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Old Feb 18, 14, 10:48 am
  #102  
 
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I hadn't realized the paper form had changed as well, but most of my international travel is from India (twice a year, generally), and I'm bringing back dry snacks that my mother-in-law makes. CBP's never had a problem in the past, but I'm applying for GE now and I'm concerned that this is going to cause a problem for me when I come into the country. I'm mainly doing it to get Pre (and skip the line when I do enter), so I'm wondering if I'm better off to just abandon this and apply for Pre instead.

I'm a US citizen, btw.
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Old Feb 18, 14, 11:14 am
  #103  
 
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Originally Posted by rishib View Post
I hadn't realized the paper form had changed as well, but most of my international travel is from India (twice a year, generally), and I'm bringing back dry snacks that my mother-in-law makes. CBP's never had a problem in the past, but I'm applying for GE now and I'm concerned that this is going to cause a problem for me when I come into the country. I'm mainly doing it to get Pre (and skip the line when I do enter), so I'm wondering if I'm better off to just abandon this and apply for Pre instead.

I'm a US citizen, btw.
See reply #52. As long as you answer truthfully, you'll be fine. It's CBP's job to determine which food can be admitted to the US or not. If it's not admitted and confiscated, then you're still fine. The key point is that you made a truthful declaration.
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Old Feb 18, 14, 11:16 am
  #104  
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Chocolates and cookies haven't always been ok for import into the US, and so I always declare them. I follow CBP actions very closely but I don't assume that I'm always on top of changes or all developments on what goodies are not generally permissible at the time of my return to the US.

Consumable foodstuff is always declared by me when I have such stuff.
+1

I think Kinder Eggs are an excellent example of something apparently innocuous that could cause real problems.

There's nowhere on the airline videos or the blue form indicating that there's a special type of chocolate, ie, Kinder Eggs, that is specifically prohibited. I suspect there are many many frequent travelers unaware of this restriction. I brought them back overland from Canada for a long time and may have brought them back after they were prohibited without realizing it. I verbally declared chocolates and no one ever asked specifically about Kinder Eggs.

Confiscation is bad enough, if it's something that a reasonable traveler couldn't (IMHO) be expected to know about. Losing trusted traveler status or getting flagged by a zealous agent is a much bigger deal.

Sometimes the declaration is simple and the agent waves you through or gives you the 'why are you wasting my time?' attitude. Sometimes it leads to a time-wasting secondary. I'm risk averse and will continue to follow the instructions I was given: declare it all, even if I know it is allowed.
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Old Feb 18, 14, 11:38 am
  #105  
 
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I always kinda wonder if something like vanilla counts as food or not. I had something else once that I picked up on a cruise that I wasn't really sure whether it counted as food or not (can't remember what it was though unfortunately), I actually waited till I got to an agent that time to ask whether I should mark food or no food for it (pre-GE for me, and a cruise, where there's no GE anyways).
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