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Latino Daily News

Saturday April 23, 2011

CBP Offers Tips for Easter Holiday Border Crossing

CBP Offers Tips for Easter Holiday Border Crossing

Photo: Tips for Easter Holiday Border Crossing

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the ports in Arizona are providing guidance to assist travelers who intend to travel between the United States and Mexico in the days before the Easter holiday. The tips are designed to ease the crossing process as CBP officers maintain their principal anti-terror mission.

The Easter/Holy Week season is historically one of the busiest travel periods at Southwest border crossings. Along with an increase in overall traffic figures, another area that experiences a significant increase in volume is the number of Mexican laser visa card holders who request the I-94 travel documents required to travel beyond the border zone during the holiday. The number of I-94 applications typically double or triple at many of the Arizona ports during the Holy Week.

U.S. citizen travelers are also reminded they now need a U.S. Passport, U.S. Passport card or other approved Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative document to enter the U.S. at a land border crossing as per the new requirements.

In an effort to provide the best possible service to the traveling public during the upcoming holiday season, CBP officials are proactively reminding members of the traveling public there are a number of steps they can employ to cross the border as quickly and safely as possible while avoiding violations of U.S. law.

Tip #1 – Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Please have crossing documents available for the inspection including a WHTI-approved document for U.S. citizens. ( getyouhome.gov )

Tip #2 – Travelers should declare all items acquired abroad. In addition, individuals should end cellular phone conversations before arriving at the inspection booth.

Tip #3 – Travelers should build extra time into their trips in the event they cross during periods of exceptionally heavy traffic.

Tip #4 – Travelers who do have Radio Frequency Identification enabled cards may wish to consider using the designated “Ready Lane” at the Dennis DeConcini crossing at the Port of Nogales.

Tip #5 – Travelers are encouraged to visit the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP website to avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of prohibited items. “Know Before You Go” brochures are available at border ports. ( Know Before You Go )

Tip #6 – Consult the CBP website to monitor border crossing times. Information is updated hourly and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use/short waits. ( Border Wait Times )

Tip #7 – Visit the port of entry to obtain I-94 travel documents in advance of the busiest holiday travel periods. This will allow travelers who require I-94 documents (those planning to travel beyond the border zone or stay in the U.S. for more than 30 days) to bypass those lines when they formally enter the U.S. They will still be subject to the inspection process.

Tip #8 – Drivers should insure that their vehicles are properly maintained and mechanically sound and that occupants avoid riding in areas of vehicles not specifically designed to carry passengers. Failure to follow these steps can expose crossers/passengers to carbon monoxide.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.