U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced in May that it is easing the international arrival process with new technology and procedures, including automating the I-94 Arrival/Departure Record and expanding self-service kiosks.

CBP said that additional steps travelers can take to smooth their arrival process include familiarizing themselves with U.S. rules and regulations before departing. The agency released its "Top 10 Travel Tips" (edited):

  • Join Trusted Travelers through Global Entry, SENTRI, or NEXUS. (click here).
  • Know the required travel documentation for your trip. (Hint: you will need a passport for air travel!) (click here).
  • If you are from a Visa Waiver country, don't leave home without your Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). More on getting your Electronic System for Travel Authorization before boarding your flight. (click here).
  • For those traveling by air or sea on a visa, CBP has automated the I-94. Find your I-94 number here.
  • Complete your Customs Declaration (your flight staff will hand out the form) before you deplane. What is eligible for duty exemptions? (click here).
  • Know what merchandise you can bring to the United States (click here).
  • Many agriculture products can bring damaging pests and diseases into the country; check to see what may be harmful. (click here).
  • Allow for lines at ports of entry. Summer is a busy travel season; be prepared and work with CBP officers as they do their job. (click here).
  • Monitor border wait times. Know what ports of entry have lighter traffic, or use an alternate to avoid delays. (click here).
  • Take it with you! (click here).

CBP also announced the opening of a seasonal border station at Ely, Minnesota, from May 25 until September 7, 2013, to help with the busy summer tourist season.

The CBP announcement including the travel tips is available here. The announcement about the seasonal border station is available here. A FAQ on the I-94 automation is available here.