IMPERIAL VALLEY, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in the Imperial Valley are anticipating an increase in applications by Mexican travelers for the required I-94 permit during the Easter holiday season. Mexican border crossing card 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 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 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 the Calexico downtown port of entry and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Calexico East port.” At the Andrade port travelers may obtain the permit between the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
For a faster more convenient method to apply for an I-94 travelers may utilize the online I-94 application process by visiting this I-94 website. This can be completed up to seven days prior to their entry. In order to finalize the I-94 issuance, a traveler must present themselves at a land port of entry within seven days of their application and be interviewed by a CBP officer.
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 are not eligible to work in the United States.
Tips for Travelers
Tip #1 – Plan your trip and allow extra time for crossing the border. Members of the traveling public should consult the CBP website site at https://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/mobile to monitor border wait times. Information is updated hourly and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light usage and or shorter waits. You can also keep updated by using your mobile Smartphone by going to http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/mobile.asp.
Tip #2 - Avoid peak travel
Tip #3 - Declare all agriculture products such as meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, and handcrafted wreaths or any other holiday decorations that may have wheat straw as a component. Agriculture products are subject to inspection, and may not be allowed into the U.S. due to their potential to harbor insects and diseases that could harm the nation’s agricultural industry. Traditional foods and gifts such as ham, birds, and chicks are prohibited from entering the U.S. Cascarones (confetti-filled eggshells) are restricted to quantities of 12 per passenger. Birds and cascarones are regulated in order to prevent the spread of avian diseases, such as Newcastle disease and highly pathogenic avian influenza. Newcastle disease and highly pathogenic avian influenza are extremely infectious and fatal viral diseases that affect a number of bird species, attacking their respiratory and nervous systems.
Tip #4 - Be prepared to show proof of citizenship and identity to enter the United States. For U.S. citizens, this must include a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) approved document such as a U.S. passport, U.S. passport card, trusted traveler program card (SENTRI and NEXUS), or an enhanced driver’s license from participating states. Legal Permanent Residents must present their I-551 legal permanent resident card.
Tip #5 – Travelers should familiarize themselves with the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP website to avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of prohibited items. “Know Before You Go” brochures are also available at border ports.
CBP is reminding travelers that, although medical marijuana is legal in many U.S. States, the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana all remain illegal under U.S. federal law. Consequently, crossing with a valid medical marijuana prescription is prohibited and could potentially result in fines, apprehension, or both.
CBP officers have the responsibility to inspect travelers and their belongings. This may include luggage, vehicle, and the search of a person, and is meant to enforce our laws as well as protect legitimate travelers.