To keep the borders of the United State secure, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspectors of the Department of Homeland Security inspect everyone who arrives at a U.S. port of entry. In most cases, CPB will conduct customs inspection for uniformed personnel returning from theater at their point of departure, in Egypt (for Bright Star participants), Iraq or Afghanistan.
All passengers will be asked to complete and sign a customs declaration form. As part of your inspection, you may be asked questions about anything you are bringing back to the United States that you did not have with you when you left.
CBP officers have the authority to search anyone and anything entering the United States. You are not officially in the United States until after you clear immigration and customs. All baggage that has cleared inspection while in theater will be segregated and stored in a locked container prior to departure and will be returned to its owner upon arrival in the U.S. All returning service personnel should be reminded that complete and accurate information on a customs declaration form is required.
CPB inspectors do not assume that U.S. service personnel have done anything wrong — indeed, very few travelers actually violate the law. All passengers will be asked to complete and sign a customs declaration form. As part of your inspection, you may be asked questions about:
• anything you are bringing back to the United States that you did not have with you when you left; as well as
• the presence of any
– fruits, plants, food, insects, meats;
– animals, or animal/wildlife products, snails, or soil;
– disease agents or cell cultures; or
– prohibited items, such as archaeological material, antiquities or cultural
heritage items, as defined by the host country. (See the statement
concerning "Merchandise from Embargoed Countries" on the
The Department of Homeland Security pledges to treat all returning service personnel courteously and professionally. If you are unhappy with the way you are treated by DHS, ask to speak to your immediate superior.
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