CBP Seeks to Expand Eligibility to File Joint Declarations Upon Return to U.S.

Today’s Federal Register includes a proposed rule by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) which would expand the definition of “members of a family residing in one household” to allow more persons to file joint customs declarations upon returning to the U.S. Currently, the definition only recognizes relationships by blood, marriage, or adoption.

According to their press release, the change would expand the definition to include “domestic relationships” which would include: foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings, legal wards, other dependents, and individuals with an in loco parentis or guardianship relationship. The expanded definition would also include 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 share financial assets and obligations, and are not married to, or a partner of, anyone else.

The change would allow more persons to file a joint declaration upon returning to the U.S. which would, in turn, reduce the workload on CBP officers and speed the arrivals process for all passengers. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking can be found here. The comment period closes on May 29th and the changes will not take effect until a final rule is published thereafter. CBP’s press release can be found here.