Santa Claus was officially cleared for entry into the United States on Monday as federal agriculture officials waived stringent livestock checks on his nine reindeer.
The US Department of Agriculture announced in a light-hearted statement that a “Mr. S.Claus” of the North Pole was free to enter the United States with his reindeer from December 24 to December 25.
Authorities also waived the normal health checks for Santa’s reindeer — provided they met certain alternative conditions.
The reindeer would also be required to be “pulling a wooden sleigh that has jingling bells attached and is filled with brightly-wrapped gifts.”
The USDA’s festive statement was in keeping with agencies who acknowledge the existence of Santa Claus, albeit with tongue firmly in cheek.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which polices the skies above Canada and the United States, regularly tracks the progress of Santa Claus and his reindeer in realtime on its NORAD Santa Tracker (www.noradsanta.org).