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A port of entry is a place where one may lawfully enter a country. It typically has a staff of persons who check passports and visas and inspect luggage to assure that contraband is not imported. International airports are usually ports of entry, as are road and rail crossings on a land border. Seaports can be used ports of entry only if a dedicated customs presence is posted there. The choice of whether to become a port of entry is up to the civil authority controlling the port. In the United Statesmarker, for example, Los Angelesmarker and San Diegomarker are ports of entry whereas Newport Beachmarker is not.

At some Ports of Entry, immigration procedures are carried out by the armed forces rather than specific immigration officers. However customs is still carried out by customs officers. Immigration clearance at a few ports of entry have automated sections open to own residents or citizens, such as the E-channel found in Hong Kongmarker and Macaumarker.

On some borders the concept of a port of entry does not exist. Travelers may cross the border wherever and whenever convenient. In some cases this may be restricted to citizens of specific countries and to travelers who are not carrying goods over the customs limits; others may only cross the border at a designated border crossing during its opening times.

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