Customs means many things to many people. To the international traveler, Customs is the men and women in blue at the border station, airport or seaport who examine personal baggage upon return to the States. To the importer, Customs provides advice, protection and control of merchandise shipped into the country. To the smuggler, Customs is the planes, vessels, vehicles and dedicated people constantly monitoring the nation’s perimeter to thwart smuggling and attempts at illicit entry of merchandise.
As an international traveler, you should be aware of the rules of bringing items back from your trip. Please review the travel information titled Know Before You Go that is provided by the U.S. Customs Service.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires U.S. and Canadian travelers to present a passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the U.S. It is a result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA).
The goal of WHTI is to facilitate entry for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors, while strengthening U.S. border security. Standard documents will enable the Department of Homeland Security to quickly and reliably identify a traveler.
WHTI went into effect June 1, 2009 for land and sea travel into the U.S. WHTI went into effect for air travelers on January 23, 2007.
Passports & Visas
American Passport Express is a non-governmental service that works with the U.S. Passport Agency to return US passports in as little as 24 hours. Visit the American Passport Express site for a list of all expedited passport services.
The Wichita Public Library is now accepting Passport Applications on behalf of the U.S. Dept. of State. The Alford Branch (3447 S. Meridian) is designated as an official Passport Acceptance Agency by the U.S. Department of State. If you need to apply for your passport, give the Alford Branch a call at (316) 350-3261 to schedule your appointment. Get full details at wichitalibrary.org/passports.
If you are flying to Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean, you will need a passport to return to the United States. Visit the Department of State’s website for more information.
For a listing of passport offices, click here.
For additional information on passports and visas, and travel tips for those traveling abroad, please visit the U.S. Department of State Travel and Living Abroad site.
If you are traveling to international destinations, the Universal Currency Converter allows you to perform interactive foreign exchange rate calculations on the Internet, using live, up-to-the-minute currency rates.
The Foreign Currency Exchange service in Wichita is at INTRUST Bank.