Buffalo, N.Y. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding travelers planning trips across the border into the U.S. to make sure they have the proper documents this weekend in conjunction with the U.S. Memorial Day long weekend. As a result, CBP officials want to remind the traveling public that there are a number of steps that can be taken to facilitate their arrival into the U.S.
Travelers are reminded to check traffic at all local border crossings within the Buffalo/Niagara region and select the crossing that is least congested. Travelers easily can obtain current border traffic conditions by calling the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission's toll free number at 1-800-715-6722 or by visiting any of the following Web sites:
Travelers also can obtain a "Know Before You Go" brochure, which also is available on the CBP Web site. This brochure contains valuable information including duty exemptions and restricted and prohibited merchandise.
Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Individuals should have their approved travel documents available for inspection and they should be prepared to declare all items acquired outside the U.S.
In compliance with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, implemented June 1, 2009, all travelers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, are required to present an approved-travel document that denotes both identity and citizenship. WHTI approved travel documents include a valid passport, U.S. Passport Card, trusted traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST) or an Enhanced Driver's License. Children under the age of 16 can present an original or copy of their birth certificate. Please visit the WHTI Web site for additional information.
CBP strongly encourages travelers to obtain a radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled travel document such as a U.S. Passport Card, Enhanced Driver's License/Enhanced Identification Card or trusted traveler program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST/EXPRES) to expedite their entry and make crossing the border more efficient.
WHTI-compliant, RFID-enabled documents help reduce the time it takes to process travelers at the border. No personal identification information is stored on the RFID chip embedded in the cards - only a series of ones and zeros that points to information in a secure CBP database.
WHTI document requirements for air travel have been in effect since January 2007. Almost all travelers flying back to the United States need to present a passport or NEXUS card.
CBP also reminds U.S. lawful permanent residents that the I-551 form - the green card - is acceptable for land and sea travel into the U.S.