Customs and Border Protection offers summer travel tips

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations is reminding travelers planning trips across the border this spring and summer into the United States to make sure they have their proper documents and to plan ahead. Border traffic volumes normally peak from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

CBP strongly encourages travelers to plan your trip in advance and obtain a radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled travel document such as an Enhanced Driver’s License/Enhanced Identification Card, U.S. passport card or a Trusted Traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry or FAST/EXPRESS) to expedite entry and make future border crossings more efficient.

“CBP welcomes all visitors to the United States,” said area port director Kenneth Williams. “The spring and summer months are a wonderful time to be in the Pacific Northwest. If you arrive at the border prepared, with all your documents ready to show us, we’ll get you down the road and closer to your destination.”

For travelers with RFID-enabled cards, Ready Lanes are open:

· Peace Arch: 8 a.m.–1 p.m. Monday–Friday

· Lynden: noon–4 p.m. Monday–Friday

· Sumas: 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday–Friday and 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

To avoid delays, border crossers may want to use the nearby and less traveled Sumas port of entry on State Highway 9 (open seven days per week, 24 hours per day) or the Lynden port of entry on State Highway 539 (open 8 a.m.–midnight).

CBP urges all foreign travelers requiring I-94 or I-94W (visa waiver) entry document processing to obtain the essential document early instead of waiting until the day of their travel to avoid potential delays at the border. Travelers are encouraged to obtain the required document as much as a week in advance for faster and more convenient processing. All travelers requesting an I-94 or I-94W entry document may be required to establish financial solvency, proof of residency outside the U.S. and demonstrate they have sufficiently strong ties to their country of origin, including a home abroad they do not intend to abandon.

All travelers are reminded of seven simple steps they can employ to cross the border more efficiently:

Check out cbp.gov. The site provides users quick access to the content they need. It also is optimized for access by smart phones and makes use of a new content delivery network that will improve access
internationally.

Beat the border rush. Cross during off-peak times, such as between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Most lines at the border start building in the morning and carry on through the afternoon. Monitor wait times on the internet or via mobile app. The app provides estimated wait times and open lane status 24/7 at ports of entry that process commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles, and pedestrians. It breaks down wait times at each crossing by lane type (Standard, Sentri, FAST, Ready Lane, Nexus, etc.). The app does not require individuals to register or provide any personal information. Information is updated hourly and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use/short waits. CBP officials continually monitor border-crossing times at area ports of entry and plan to fully staff all inspection lanes during peak periods to maintain the flow of traffic.

Keep travel documents handy. Make sure each passenger has the correct travel document accessible and ready to give to the CBP officer. If you are a frequent international traveler and have not already become a member of a trusted traveler program, sign up now.

Know the contents of your vehicles and be prepared to declare all items. Travelers are required to declare all items being imported into the United States from Canada. If you are not sure about what to declare, do not hesitate to ask the CBP officer.

Declare all firearms. Travelers are reminded that specific requirements must be met to import or export firearms and ammunition to/from the United States. For more information on the importation or exportation of firearms and ammunition, visit the atf.gov, pmddtc.state.gov or contact CBP at 406-453-7631.

Know what food products can be imported. Many fruits, meats, dairy and poultry products are prohibited from being imported into the United States from Canada.

Leave medical marijuana at home. Although medical marijuana is legal in many U.S. States and Canada, the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana all remain illegal under federal law.

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