Hidalgo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today that designated Ready Lanes at the Hidalgo and Pharr International Bridges officially opened and were dedicated for the exclusive use of travelers with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-enabled entry documents.
CBP officials together with counterparts and stakeholders representing various federal, consular and municipal agencies gathered to announce the opening of the lane and to advise the traveling public about the benefits of using the Ready Lane. The WHTI-compliant, RFID-only Ready Lanes pilot has completed and lanes are beginning to be opened across the nation.
Currently Ready Lanes are in operation at Ambassador Bridge, Detroit; Del Rio, Texas; Ysleta/Zaragoza Bridge, El Paso; Donna/Rio Bravo Bridge, Progresso; DeConcini, Nogales; Peach Arch, Blaine; Otay Mesa, San Diego; Lukeville, Ariz.; Lincoln-Juarez, Laredo; Bridge 1 Eagle Pass, Texas; Douglas, Ariz. Additional ports will be rolled out this winter. At the ports of entry where we have Ready Lanes we are seeing a 10 to 20 second decrease in processing times.
Since implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative on June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizens entering the United States by land or sea from Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean are required to present a valid WHTI-compliant document.
WHTI-compliant, RFID-enabled travel documents reduce the time it takes to process travelers at the border. Over the past year CBP has strongly encouraged travelers to obtain an RFID-enabled travel document such as a U.S. passport card, enhanced driver's license, enhanced identification card (where available) or a trusted traveler program card such as a SENTRI, NEXUS or FAST card to expedite entry and make crossing the border more efficient.
Other RFID-enabled documents that will be accepted at the Ready Lane include newer border crossing cards, those issued or renewed after October 2008 and the newer resident alien cards, those that were issued or renewed in 2010.
"The dedication of these Ready Lanes at both the Hidalgo and Pharr International Bridges will help expedite entry for those U.S. citizen travelers who have made the effort to obtain RFID-enabled documents that comply with WHTI and to non-U.S. citizen travelers who cross the border frequently and have obtained the latest resident alien and border crossing cards that are also RFID-enabled during this busy upcoming holiday season," said Sylvia Briones, acting port director for Hidalgo-Pharr.
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 the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.