SOUTH TEXAS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at South Texas ports of entry are anticipating an increase in applications by Mexican travelers for the required I-94 permit during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season. 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.
“Due to our unique geography, a significant percentage of U.S.-bound Mexican travelers cross the border at South Texas ports,” said Director, Field Operations David P. Higgerson, Laredo Field Office. “We strongly encourage those travelers to obtain their I-94s early, travel at off-peak times and obtain radiofrequency-enabled documents to use Ready Lanes and avoid unnecessary delays.”
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.
Also, CBP advises that those who traveled by air and had their passports stamped on a previous trip don’t have a valid I-94 in force and would still need to obtain a paper I-94 if they plan to travel beyond the border zone via a land border port of entry.
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 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.
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 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily at most South Texas ports. During periods of heavy traffic, border crossers may wish to consider alternate crossings such as Colombia-Solidarity Bridge, Donna International Bridge or Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios.
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.