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How easy is it to visit the U.S.? Two surveys disagree.

April 09, 2013|By Hugo Martin
  • Visiting the U.S., is it a nightmare or a dream? Two surveys come to different conclusions.
Visiting the U.S., is it a nightmare or a dream? Two surveys come to different… (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

The process of getting into the U.S. for a visit is either easy and efficient or so frustrating that many tourists tell their friends to avoid a trip to the country.

The starkly different portrayals of the nation's customs process come from two separate surveys issued in the Last month.

The U.S. Travel Assn., a trade group for the nation's travel industry, released a survey in March that said the entry process is so frustrating and inefficient that 43% of travelers would recommend that others avoid visiting the U.S.

The group has been lobbying the Obama administration to spend up to $150 million to add 1,000 more customs and border protection officers to speed up the entry process for foreign tourists.

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The survey by the travel group questioned 1,200 overseas travelers in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, China and Brazil.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a survey that said that 80% of travelers felt the entry process made them feel welcome and more than 85% said the processing time was short or reasonable.

More than 90% of travelers said customs agents were welcoming, professional, helpful, efficient and communicative, according to the federal agency survey.

The survey by the Customs and Border Protection questioned 25,000 travelers entering the country at 20 airports in the U.S.

"CBP has taken a proactive approach to ensure a welcoming environment for travelers, and promote travel and tourism while maintaining the highest levels of security and professionalism," said the agency's acting commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski.

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