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CBP Advises Travelers to Obtain the I-94 Permit Early and Reminders for Traveling During Holiday Season

Release Date: 
December 18, 2015

SAN DIEGO – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in the San Diego 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.

“To avoid congestion and possible delays, we encourage travelers to obtain the I-94 early,” said Sidney Aki, Port Director for the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa passenger ports of entry. “If travelers apply early, they can obtain the required document quicker and more conveniently.  Travelers may obtain the permit 24 hours a day at both border crossings.”

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 that 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 officers have the responsibility to inspect you and your belongings. This may include your luggage, vehicle, and a search of your person.  These inspections are 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.  During periods of heavy traffic at the San Ysidro port of entry, border crossers may wish to consider an alternative entry route through the Otay Mesa or Tecate ports of entry.

You may monitor wait times on the CBP website at

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017