SAN DIEGO – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in San Diego are anticipating an increase in applications by Mexican travelers for the required I-94 permit during the Easter holiday season and spring break. Mexican border crossing card (or “laser visa”) holders who plan to visit the U.S. for more than 30-days and or will travel more than 25 miles from the border during the upcoming travel season are urged to obtain the essential document early instead of waiting until the day of travel.
“We urge travelers to obtain the required document as much as a week or two early to avoid congestion and potential delays,” said Pete Flores, director of field operations for the ports of entry on the California border with Mexico. “If they apply early, they will obtain the essential document faster and more conveniently. Travelers may obtain the permit 24 hours a day at both the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports.”
All traveling family members need to be present during the I-94 application process. Those requesting the permits must be able to establish financial solvency and proof of residency outside the U.S., and must demonstrate that they have sufficiently strong ties to their country of origin including a home abroad they do not intend to abandon. Applicants who present a border crossing card (or laser visa) are not eligible to work in the United States.
When crossing the border, travelers must declare all agriculture products such as meats, fruits, vegetables and holiday decorations that may have hay or straw as an ingredient. These are not allowed into the U.S. due to possible insects and diseases that could harm the nation’s agricultural industry.
CBP is reminding the traveling public that cascarones (confetti-filled eggshells) are restricted to quantities of 10 per passenger and the shells may be decorated or etched but they must be empty, clean and free of any egg residue.
Cascarones are a restricted commodity by CBP in order to prevent further spread of Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) through contaminated eggshells. END is a highly contagious, fatal viral disease that affects a substantial number of bird species, attacking respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. Mortality is up to 90 percent of exposed birds.
CBP officers have the responsibility to inspect you and your belongings. This may include your luggage, vehicle, and a search of your person, and is meant to enforce our laws as well as protect legitimate travelers.
As the busiest land border port in the nation with 35,000-40,000 vehicles and 20,000 pedestrians daily entering the U.S. through its gates, the San Ysidro facility is one of the Southwest border stations most affected by heavy holiday I-94 processing.
CBP officials continually monitor traffic and border crossing times and will employ various traffic management operations to maintain the flow of traffic during periods of exceptionally heavy usage.
Avoid peak travel times when at all possible. The heaviest traffic periods typically are between the hours of 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily at area ports. During periods of heavy travel, border crossers may wish to consider alternative entry routes. For example, border crossers may want to use the nearby and less heavily traveled Otay Mesa or the Tecate ports of entry instead of the San Ysidro port.