Why You May Be Chosen for an Inspection
You may be subject to an inspection for a variety of reasons, some of which include: your
travel documents are incomplete or you do not have the proper documents or visa; you have
previously violated one of the laws CBP enforces; you have a name that matches a person
of interest in one of the government’s enforcement databases; or you have been selected for
a random search.
If you are subject to inspection, you should expect to be treated in a courteous, dignified,
and professional manner. Because the border is a law enforcement environment, CBP
officers may not be able to answer all of your questions about an examination that is
underway. If you have concerns, you can always ask to speak with a CBP supervisor.
Authority to Search
All persons, baggage, and merchandise arriving in, or departing from, the United States are
subject to inspection, search and detention. This is because CBP officers must determine
the identity and citizenship of all persons seeking entry into the United States, determine
the admissibility of foreign nationals, and deter the entry of possible terrorists, terrorist
weapons, controlled substances, and a wide variety of other prohibited and restricted items.
Various laws that CBP is charged to enforce authorize such searches and detention (see, for
example, 8 U.S.C. § 1357 and 19 U.S.C. §§ 1499, 1581, 1582).
What Happens Now?
You’re receiving this sheet because your electronic device(s) has been detained for further
examination, which may include copying. You will receive a written receipt (Form 6051-D)
that details what item(s) are being detained, who at CBP will be your point of contact, and
the contact information (including telephone number) you provide to facilitate the return of
your property within a reasonable time upon completion of the examination.
The CBP officer who approved the detention will speak with you and explain the process,
and provide his or her name and contact telephone number if you have any concerns. Some
airport locations have dedicated Passenger Service Managers who are available in addition
to the onsite supervisor to address any concerns.
Return or Seizure of Detained Electronic Device(s)
CBP will contact you by telephone when the examination of the electronic device(s) is
complete, to notify you that you may pick-up the item(s) during regular business hours
from the location where the item(s) was detained. If it is impractical for you to pick up the
CBP can make arrangements to ship the device to you at our expense. CBP may retain
documents or information relating to immigration, customs, and other enforcement matters
only if such retention is consistent with the privacy and data protection standards of the
system in which such information is retained. Otherwise, if after reviewing the information,
there exists no probable cause to seize it, CBP will not retain any copies.
If CBP determines that the device is subject to seizure under law – for example, if the device
contains evidence of a crime, contraband or other prohibited or restricted items or information
– then you will be notified of the seizure as well as your options to contest it through the
local CBP Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures Office.
Privacy and Civil Liberties Protection
In conducting border searches, CBP officers strictly adhere to all constitutional and statutory
requirements, including those that are applicable to privileged, personal, or business confidential
information. For example, the Trade Secrets Act (18 U.S.C. § 1905) prohibits federal
employees from disclosing, without lawful authority, business confidential information to
which they obtain access as part of their official duties. Moreover, CBP has strict oversight
policies and procedures that implement these constitutional and statutory safeguards. Further
The DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties investigates complaints alleging a
violation by DHS employees of an individual’s civil rights or civil liberties. Additional
information about the Office is available at www.dhs.gov/civilliberties.
Additional information on CBP’s search authority, including a copy of CBP’s policy on the
border search of information, can be found at: www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/admissibility/.
Privacy Act Statement
Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552a (e)(3), this Privacy Act Statement serves to inform you of the following concerning the
possible collection of information from your electronic device.
AUTHORITY and PURPOSE: See above, Authority to Search.
ROUTINE USES: The subject information may be made available to other agencies for investigation and/or for
obtaining assistance relating to jurisdictional or subject matter expertise, or for translation, decryption, or other technical assistance. This information may also be made available to assist in border security and intelligence activities, domestic law enforcement and the enforcement of other crimes of a transnational nature, and shared with elements of the federal government responsible for analyzing terrorist threat information.
CONSEQUENCES OF FAILURE TO PROVIDE INFORMATION: Collection of this information is mandatory at
the time that CBP or ICE seeks to copy information from the electronic device. Failure to provide information to assist