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Last time I flew to the US, I wasn't given a CBP form (this is where one would normally declare stuff). If the airports have gone paperless (I'm not sure if all airports have done so and how to check if a particular airport has; probably this is a topic for another question), how do I declare some food when entering the US? (If it matters, by food I mean chocolate, canned food, dried fish.)

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For those paperless airports, instead of filling out the paper form, you go to a kiosk where you fill out all the same information. Some of it is pre-populated from you swiping your passport at the kiosk, but then it will ask you the same questions the paper form does. It then prints a copy of the form that you hand to the customs officer.

See this website for more details, including the following blurb:

No, travelers will submit their Customs declaration form electronically via the kiosks. If a traveler has already filled out a Customs declaration form, it can be given to a CBP Officer for shredding.

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  • But this only covers those who are eligible to use those kiosks. What about for example F1 students? Also, what about those eligible visitors who cannot read English (and other languages available at kiosks)? – user76396 Dec 14 '19 at 3:46
  • I can only speak from my personal experience there. What I've seen is that everyone goes to the same line for the kiosks, then if you are not a US citizen, or need further inspection in general, it prints a slip marked with an X. After that, you get directed to either the fast moving line for people without the X, or the slow one for people with it. – PhilippNagel Dec 14 '19 at 4:43
  • Not sure about the language, but I do think they have multiple languages available. There are also people there to help in case of problems. – PhilippNagel Dec 14 '19 at 4:45
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    If you are not eligible to use the kiosks (like me!) then you still need to fill in the standard blue customs form. – Doc Dec 14 '19 at 5:13
  • @Doc Where do you get the form if it's not distributed on the plane and if there are no forms anywhere before going through immigration (in paperless airports)? – user76396 Dec 14 '19 at 15:59
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Over the past few years most US airports have increase the use of electronic submission of the "blue" customs form - either via APC Kiosks which can be used by US citizens and Permanent Residents, Canadian Citizens, people travelling under ESTA, and specific visa holders including the most popular B1/B2 visas, or via the Mobile Passport Control app that can be used by US and Canadian citizens only at this stage.

However there are still a (relatively) small number of people that are required to use the standard immigration lines, and these passengers still need to fill out the blue form.

Airlines have changes the procedures for handing out forms on-board - where previously they would blindly give one to every passenger (or at least, one per family) some now make a point of announcing that only some visa holders require them, and only offering them as required. From what you've said it's possible some airlines are only giving them out to people that ask them for, or even not at all (although I haven't personally experienced that).

If you do not receive a form on-board, they are also available in the immigration hall before you reach the immigration staff - generally at the back near where you enter, and normally with a desk area available to fill them in, although this will vary depending on the airport.

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