CBP Announces Measures to Facilitate Upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday Traffic at the Laredo Port of Entry
LAREDO, Texas– U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Laredo Port of Entry encourages travelers to plan ahead, utilize Ready Lanes and asks for the public’s patience as CBP prepares to facilitate Thanksgiving holiday traffic without a full complement of officers due to recent deployments in support of border security operations in response to the arriving migrant caravans in California. CBP at the Laredo Port of Entry makes necessary arrangements to implement facilitation measures to assist the traveling public with their experience while crossing one of the busiest land border ports in the country.
“Traffic volumes increase by approximately 20 percent during our holiday periods at the Laredo Port of Entry and this year we are impacted by the temporary deployment of CBP officers to California in response to the migrant caravans,” said Port Director Albert Flores, Laredo Port of Entry. “We thank the traveling public for being proactive, patient and availing themselves of facilitation measures such as Ready Lanes and mobile tourist permit processing stations implemented during the previous holiday traffic periods as CBP reported reduced wait times compared to previous years.”
The Laredo Port of Entry strongly encourages travelers to apply for their tourist permits online via http://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 finger scans and a photo is taken. The Laredo Port 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.
CBP in collaboration with the Outlet Shoppes at Laredo has implemented a Mobile Enrollment Center for issuance of I-94 tourist permits. The Mobile Enrollment Center will be available during Thanksgiving weekend from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Mobile Enrollment Center is located in the second floor of the food court area of the Outlet Shoppes at Laredo.
In close coordination with the Government of Mexico and the City of Laredo, the designated lane, which is designed for local cross border traffic that does not require tourist permits or other benefits, will be available from Nov. 21-25. The designated lane, which runs the full length of the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge and fans out to three primary inspection booths, has cement barriers to indicate their location to local commuters and to ensure that daily local traffic is being processed in a timely manner. CBP encourages daily border crossers to utilize these assigned lanes which are located on the three Westernmost lanes of the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge.
CBP advised of an additional facilitation measure; Gateway to the Americas Bridge will be processing SENTRI-only vehicular traffic on Friday, Nov. 23 and Saturday, Nov. 24 from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m.
CBP also encourages travelers to obtain and utilize radio-frequency identification technology (RFID)-equipped travel documents such as U.S. passport cards and the newer versions (i.e. since 2011) of the border crossing card and resident alien card so that they can utilize Ready Lanes. Processing in Ready Lanes is 20 percent faster than normal lanes and provide a time savings of up to 20 seconds per vehicle. CBP encourages travelers to obtain RFID entry documents to use Ready Lanes and enroll in trusted traveler programs.
Members of the traveling public can monitor Border Wait Times via this link or also obtain the BWT app on their smartphone via Apple App Store and Google Play (CBP BWT) so that they can observe the wait times and make an informed decision on which bridge to use. These wait times are updated on an hourly basis. CBP reminds the public that they may utilize the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge as an alternate route to avoid heavy traffic.
Also to avoid any potential delays or fines due to travelers bringing prohibited/restricted agricultural items, CBP encourages travelers to declare all agricultural items to a CBP officer upon arrival and before making their journey to consult the Know Before You Go guide at the following link.
For more information about filing an I-94 electronically, please consult the following link.
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.