San Diego - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are announcing that a new Ready Lane will be opened at the San Ysidro port of entry later this year, and are encouraging travelers to act now to get the appropriate travel documents to utilize the lane.
While no date has been officially set, planning is currently underway to create a Ready Lane at the nation's busiest border crossing. A Ready Lane is a designated vehicle lane for travelers with documents containing radio frequency identification technology.
Travelers who wish to use the Ready Lane should start preparing now. In order to use this dedicated lane, all adult passengers in the vehicle over the age of 16 must present an approved RFID-enabled travel card. These documents include: the U.S. Passport Card, SENTRI card, the new Legal Permanent Resident "green card" and the new Border Crossing Card.
CBP officials have been working closely with officials from the government of Mexico to develop approach lanes in Mexico, install signs, and make other preparations needed before the lane can be opened at the San Ysidro port of entry.
Travelers who use the Ready Lane will have the benefit of a shorter wait time versus using the general lanes of vehicle traffic because of the RFID technology. While the wait time will not be as short as the lanes for pre-approved, low-risk SENTRI travelers, those using the Ready Lanes can generally expect to see wait times that are significantly shorter compared to using the general traffic lanes.
Another benefit is that unlike the SENTRI lane in which all individuals in the vehicle must have a SENTRI card, a group with any mixture of RFID-enabled travel cards can use the Ready Lane. For example, if the driver has a SENTRI card but the passengers all have other kinds of RFID-enabled documents, such as a U.S. Passport Card or a new Border Crossing Card, the vehicle may still have the benefit of using the Ready Lane.
The planned Ready Lane at San Ysidro follows the opening last May of a Ready Lane at the Otay Mesa port of entry. Currently 49 percent of vehicle traffic at the Otay Mesa port of entry is processed using either the Ready Lane (29 percent) or the dedicated SENTRI lanes (20 percent), both of which use RFID-technology.
"RFID-enabled cards allow our officers to screen travelers faster," said Chris Maston, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego. "By having a lane designated just for travelers with these cards, we can reduce the time everyone spends waiting to enter the country, and encourage legitimate business and tourism for our communities on both sides of the border."
Since the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, 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. Using a WHTI-compliant document that is an RFID-enabled travel card allows for more efficient processing of travelers at the border, since RFID technology allows CBP officers to receive information about travelers faster.
CBP will make an announcement when an official date has been set to open the Ready Lane at San Ysidro.