CBP Announces Facilitation Measures to Expedite Processing of Summer Travel Season Traffic at South Texas Ports of Entry
LAREDO, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Laredo Field Office (LFO) and its South Texas ports of entry are preparing to open available lanes as needed, encouraging travelers to obtain tourist permits early, use Ready Lanes or consider enrolling in trusted traveler programs in anticipation of the expected surge in northbound traffic at the ports of entry during the approaching summer travel season, one of the busiest times of the year.
“Our ports of entry have been conducting outreach campaigns to inform the public of the various trusted traveler programs available, as well as coordinating with their local partners to establish mobile I-94 sites. These initiatives encourage travelers to get their I-94s early, urge frequent border crossers to enroll in SENTRI and those with RFID-enabled documents to use the Ready Lanes in addition to operational facilitation measures,” said Director, Field Operations David P. Higgerson, Laredo Field Office.
The radio-frequency identification technology (RFID)-equipped travel documents such as U.S. passport cards and the newer versions of the border crossing card and resident alien card gives travelers access to the Ready Lanes. This technology coupled with the travelers’ readiness by having their entry documents ready as they approach the booth facilitates their processing.
The collaboration between CBP and city officials has enabled the establishment of Mobile Processing Centers for the issuance of I-94 permits at Mall de las Aguilas in Eagle Pass and the Outlet Shoppes at Laredo. Additionally, CBP strongly encourages travelers to apply for their tourist permits online via https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov. Travelers receive a provisional I-94 after submitting their application and payment online. To finalize the I-94 process, travelers must present themselves at a port of entry within seven days of their application to be interviewed by a CBP officer, submit biometric fingerscans and a photo is taken. Laredo Field Office ports of entry will extend front of the line privileges to travelers who submit their I-94 applications electronically and present their provisional I-94 permit receipt.
Moreover, in Laredo and Brownsville, travelers can tune in to AM 1610 to listen to repeating radio broadcasts of important tips in English and Spanish regarding documents necessary to cross, enrollment in the SENTRI program and other useful traveler tips. The 10-watt signal can be heard several miles north and south of the international bridges.
CBP will monitor traffic volumes at international bridges across South Texas and establish facilitation measures such as opening lanes commensurate with traffic flow to enable the processing of larger than normal volume of travelers seeking admission into our country while facilitating the daily commuter traffic flows. Travelers may also monitor Border Wait Times or obtain the CBP BWT app on their smartphone via Apple App Store and Google Play so that they can observe wait times, which are updated hourly, and make an informed decision on which bridge to use. Also, to avoid any potential delays or fines due to travelers bringing prohibited/restricted agricultural items, CBP encourages travelers to consult the Know Before You Visit webpage prior to making their journey and to declare all agricultural items to a CBP officer upon arrival at the port.