Blaine, Wash. - 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 and to anticipate heavy traffic during the Memorial Day weekend.
"Memorial Day is observed as a day of remembrance for those soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country," said Area Port Director Gregory Alvarez. "For many, it is also the start of the summer travel season and will result in heavy traffic entering the U.S. through Blaine-area ports. We are once again advising all travelers to plan their trips ahead of time and to please allow extra time for crossing the border."
Travelers should consider alternate ports of entry as the best way to avoid long delays, and avoid peak travel times when at all possible. The heaviest traffic periods are typically between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
In the Blaine area, during the reconstruction phase of the Peace Arch port of entry, border crossers may want to use the nearby and less heavily traveled ports of entry at the Pacific Highway crossing on State Highway 543 or Sumas on State Highway 9. The Lynden port of entry is also available from 8 a.m. until midnight on State Highway 539.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), implemented on June 1, 2009, requires U.S. and Canadian citizens, age 16 and older to present a valid, acceptable travel document that denotes both identity and citizenship when entering the U.S by land or sea.
CBP strongly encourages travelers to obtain a radio frequency identification-enabled (RFID) 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.
CBP officials continually monitor traffic and border crossing times at area ports of entry and fully staff all inspection lanes during peak periods.
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.