On entering the United States (and some other countries), one of the questions each traveler must answer is if they've been on a farm prior to entry. Part (a) of this question is, how far back does that go? If someone is visiting the US for the first time at age 30, and visited a farm at age 8, that wouldn't seem particularly relevant. If they basically walked off the farm onto the plane, a yes answer would seem fitting. Where's the cutoff?

Part (b) is about the consequence of checking yes. Does this mean a traveler is likely to be detained, missing a connecting flight and potentially having thousands of dollars in extra costs associated with buying last-minute replacement airfare? Also, does this differ if the farm primarily raises plants? If so, the traveler might choose not to visit a farm while abroad, instead of including that in the itinerary.

Alternatively, if the farm visit is of strong interest, is there any travel insurance that could cover high replacement airfare costs associated with CBP detention delays, often specifically excluded from policies?

  • Possible duplicate of travel.stackexchange.com/questions/113979/… – JonathanReez Jun 19 '18 at 22:16
  • @JonathanReez Useful link, but that question is about whether or not crossing rangeland counts as visiting a farm and it doesn't actually ask clearly about the consequences. This question is about the consequences of being on what is without question a farm. – WBT Jun 19 '18 at 22:19
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    AFAIK, if both flights are on one booking, then if you miss the connecting flight due to taking a long time in customs, the airline will accommodate you on the next available flight. So that would be one way to get this kind of "insurance". – Nate Eldredge Jun 19 '18 at 22:21
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    I checked yes once, was questioned about it for roughly thirty seconds, and was sent on my way. I hadn't really been on the farm, though, just passing through farm country on my bike. I understand that if you've really been on the farm, you might get a free shoe wash from CBP. I read that here, some time ago now, so this question may be a duplicate. – phoog Jun 20 '18 at 1:11
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    The equivalent questions on the Australian Incoming Passenger Card are more precise: "Are you bringing into Australia oil, items with soil attached or used in freshwater areas e.g. sports/recreational equipment, shoes?" and "Have you been in contact with farms, farm animals, wilderness areas or freshwater streams/lakes etc in the past 30 days?". The first has no time limit, but clear rules on what is the issue. The second has a time limit. Push that to 3 or 6 months if you really want to be compliant. – jcaron Jun 20 '18 at 8:24

I have answered yes to this entering the US, and was asked a few more questions (I had actually been to 4 farms on the Friday and was travelling on a Sunday) eventually leading to "were you wearing those shoes?" On getting a no, I was waved through.

While the actions of border officials can be hard to predict, I think that "to be detained, missing a connecting flight and potentially having thousands of dollars in extra costs associated with buying last-minute replacement airfare" is a highly unlikely outcome of checking yes on the form. The cheapest insurance you can buy in this case would be a new pair of shoes (assuming you currently only have one) so that you can confirm you are not wearing or bringing the shoes that were on the farm.

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  • Or just clean them thoroughly, so there's no visible soil and much stuck to them. That's their main concern, that you're going to bring contaminated soil or manure into the country that could cause a spread of animal or plant disease. – jwenting Jun 21 '18 at 4:52
  • Yes, but that would involve someone's judgement as to "thoroughly" in a way that "the shoes I wore that day are back at my house; these are different ones" does not. – Kate Gregory Jun 21 '18 at 12:27

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