December 18, 2017 23:31

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Guam streamlines customs form

14:17 | 22/11/2017

Guam's new customs declaration form is smaller and has new questions about service animals, pets and importing more than five cartons of cigarettes, government of Guam officials said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference in Tumon.

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Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency Director James McDonald, center, talks about the smaller, much improved Guam customs declaration form during a news briefing Wednesday afternoon. Looking on are Guam Visitors Bureau President Nathan Denight, left, and Chief of Customs Vincent S.N. Perez, right. By Nov. 17, Customs will no longer accept the old forms. (Photo: Haidee Eugenio/PDN)

Travelers no longer need to list the names and passport or Social Security numbers for all passengers covered under one form, Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency Director James McDonald said.

"Today, we are able to screen travelers prior to arrival and no longer need to impose on them to provide this information on the form," he said. Instead, only one person in each party will have to provide the information.

This change also expedites passenger processing by no longer requiring customs officers to verify additional information, McDonald said.

Guam Visitors Bureau President Nathan Denight and GVB tourism research acting director Nico Fujikawa said the redesigned form removes question redundancies and makes the forms more relevant.

Denight said when the old form was designed, few if any people were booking flights online.

One of the first few questions in the redesigned form is, "Did you book your travel arrangements online?"

“These customs forms produce a wealth of information that helps our tourism industry make better choices to constantly improve the Guam product and showcase our unique 4,000-year-old culture and hafa adai spirit," Denight said.

The new form rollout period will last through Nov. 17, the final day Customs will accept any of the older declaration forms.

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Guam Visitors Bureau President Nathan Denight, left, shows the difference in size and talks about streamlined questions between the old and new customs declaration form, while Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency Director James McDonald, right, looks on during Wednesday afternoon's news briefing in Tumon. (Photo: Haidee Eugenio/PDN)

The new form also adds specific types of accommodations: vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, cruise ships, timeshares or military facilities.

Chief of Customs Vincent S.N. Perez said the new form asks passengers to declare service animals or pets. Customs will then double check import permits and health certificates.

Perez said Customs has seen an increase in the number of cases in which animals were brought in without prior knowledge of authorities.

Passengers must now declare if they are bringing in more than five cartons, or 1,000 cigarettes. Perez said the old form did not reflect a law signed a few years ago capping the legal limit of cigarettes that can be brought in to Guam by passengers.

Source: guampdn