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CBP Advises Early Travel for Labor Day Holiday Weekend

Release Date: 
August 26, 2014

BLAINE, Wash. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO), is reminding travelers planning trips across the border this holiday weekend into the United States to plan ahead and to anticipate increased traffic volumes during the celebration of the Labor Day holiday weekend.  Border traffic volumes are expected to peak during this period.

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, US passport card   or Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry or FAST/EXPRES) to expedite their entry and make future border crossings more efficient.

To avoid delays border crossers may want to use the nearby and less heavily traveled port of entry at Sumas on State Highway 9 or the Lynden port of entry available from 8 a.m. until midnight on State Highway 539.

Ready Lanes are open at Peace Arch (8 a.m. until 1 p.m., Monday through Friday), Lynden (noon until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday) and Sumas (11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday) for those travelers with RFID-enabled cards.

CBP is urging 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 that they have sufficiently strong ties to their country of origin including a home abroad they do not intend to abandon.

Do not attempt to bring fruits, meats and dairy/poultry products into the United States from Canada without first checking whether they are permitted.  Review the tip sheet here for additional information on how to become a “Ready Traveler” prior to your trip into the United States.

International pleasure boaters are reminded of the requirement to report their arrival to CBP immediately.  CBP has designated specific reporting locations that are staffed during established hours throughout the boating season for pleasure boats to report their arrival and be inspected by CBP. The master of the boat must report to CBP telephonically and be directed to the nearest port of entry to satisfy the face-to-face requirement, or report to the nearest designated reporting location along with the boat's passengers for inspection.  For a list of locations in the Puget Sound region that small vessels may clear CBP please visit here.

There are four exceptions to the face-to-face inspection at a designated reporting location, NEXUS, Canadian Border Boat Landing Permit (I-68), Outlying Area Reporting Stations (OARS), and the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS).  Participation in any of the programs does not preclude the requirement for physical report upon request by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Any small pleasure vessel leaving a United States port into international or foreign waters, without a call at a foreign port, does not satisfy the foreign departure requirement. Therefore, certain fishing vessels, cruises to nowhere, or any vessel that leaves from a United States port and returns without calling a foreign port or place, has not departed the United States.

The Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS) along the northern border is a voluntary program that allows international boaters to pre-register with CBP in order to obtain an expedited clearance upon arrival in the U.S.  The system is open to all U.S. citizens and permanent residents, as well as Canadian citizens.  Boat owners and passengers can fill out an online application and schedule a visit to an enrollment center near them to apply to the program. There is no fee to apply to the program.  Participation will require applicants to undergo a vetting process which will include checks against law enforcement databases and terrorist indices and an in-person interview.  Boat owners or passengers who are currently members of a CBP Trusted Traveler Program (e.g. NEXUS or Global Entry), or who hold a current form I-68, can enroll without visiting an enrollment center.

Once enrolled, boat owners file a small vessel reporting float plan prior to their departure from the U.S, if the trip begins in the U.S., or prior to their entry into the U.S., if the trip begins abroad.  Upon arrival in the U.S., boat masters can then call CBP at the closest Port of Entry with the float plan identification number received when the plan was filed, answer customs questions and receive clearance to enter the U.S.

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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017