U.S. Customs expects busy travel across border for holiday, urges drivers to have ID ready
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 2:36 pm

Busy cross border travel is expected to begin the day before Thanksgiving and continue throughout December as the Holiday season begins.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is considered the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season.

Many stores have extended hours, and some open as early as Thanksgiving Eve. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Field Operations wants to remind the traveling public that there are a number of steps that can be taken to facilitate their arrival into the United States.

Travelers are encouraged to prepare for cross border activity in advance and can obtain local border traffic conditions by visiting the CBP website at www.cbp.gov.

Wait time information is updated hourly and is useful in identifying periods of light traffic/short waits.

Travelers should familiarize themselves with the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP website and consult the border wait times page (Know Before You Go) (Wait Times - Airport and Border). Travelers should have their approved travel documents available for inspection and be prepared to declare all items acquired outside or being imported into the U.S.

In compliance with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) implemented June 1, 2009, all travelers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, need to present an approved travel document to enter the U.S. by land and sea.

These documents include a valid Passport, U.S. Passport Card, Trusted Traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST) or an Enhanced Driver’s License. Children under the age of 16 can present an original or copy of their birth certificate. Please visit the WHTI Web site for additional information (getyouhome.gov).

CBP strongly encourages travelers to obtain a radio frequency identification (RFID) enabled travel document such as a U.S. Passport Card, Enhanced Driver’s License/Enhanced Identification Card or Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST/EXPRES) to expedite their entry and make crossing the border more efficient.

WHTI compliant, RFID enabled documents help reduce the time it takes to process travelers at the border.

No personal identification information is stored on the RFID chip embedded in the cards – only a series of ones and zeros that points to information in a secure CBP database.

WHTI document requirements for air travel have been in effect since January 2007.

CBP also reminds U.S. lawful permanent residents that the I-551 form (green card) is acceptable for land and sea travel into the U.S.

Frequent cross-border travelers are encouraged to participate in the NEXUS program, which allows pre-screened, low-risk travelers to proceed with little or no delay into the United States and Canada.

Application forms are available on the Canada Border Services Agency website at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca and travelers can apply online at www.cbp.gov. Additionally, NEXUS information is available toll-free.