More Visitors to US Able to File Joint Family Customs Declar | 2014-01-13 18:26

It will soon be easier for international visitors to the US to file a joint customs declaration as the US government is broadening the definition of "members of a family residing in one household" to include long-term same-sex couples and other domestic relationships.

The change, made by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), would define "domestic relationship" to include foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings, legal wards, other dependents, and individuals with an 'in loco parentis' or guardianship relationship. It would also cover "two adults who are in a committed relationship including, but not limited to, long-term companions and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships where the partners are financially interdependent, and are not married to, or a partner of, anyone else".

As CBP stated, "members of a family residing in one household" will continue to encompass relationships of blood, adoption and marriage.

The final rule is planned to be published in the Federal Register on 18 December and would take effect from 17 January 2014. The change is said to reduce paperwork for visitors who are traveling to the US together as a family, as well as to streamline passenger processing, thereby increasing efficiency for CBP, airline personnel and the traveling public.

Thanks to the rule, more international visitors coming to the US would be allowed to file a joint customs declaration for items acquired abroad. These visitors can file one combined family declaration to the CBP officer upon arrival. As with any joint declaration, verbal or written, the person making and/or signing the declaration will be held accountable for its validity.
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