CBP Encourages Use of Ready Lane Ahead of Holiday Travel Season at South Texas Ports of Entry
LAREDO, Texas – As the holiday travel season rapidly approaches, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Laredo Field Office is encouraging travelers to beat the rush and avoid needless delays by obtaining their tourist permits early and for frequent crossers to consider obtaining RFID-enabled documents to use Ready Lanes, which provide expedited processing and time savings.
“With the holiday season around the corner, we tend to see an overall increase in cross-border traffic that peaks in the days preceding Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Director, Field Operations David P. Higgerson, Laredo Field Office. “In anticipation of the holiday rush and with an eye towards maximizing efficiency during these high-volume periods, CBP’s Laredo Field Office will hit the airwaves to encourage travelers to get their I-94s early and urge frequent border crossers to obtain RFID-enabled documents to use the Ready Lanes.”
At Laredo Port of Entry, as work progresses on a $62 million, GSA port improvement project at Lincoln-Juarez Bridge, CBP is advising the traveling public that Ready Lanes will shift from the Westernmost lanes to a lane on the Easternmost side immediately adjacent to the dedicated SENTRI lane that will fan out into four primary inspection booths next to the two SENTRI primary inspection booths. Also arriving bus traffic will be processed in the former import lot area below the bridge.
Ready Lanes provide expedited processing through readers that capture information from radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology enabled entry documents such as newer versions of the laser visa, resident alien card and passport cards. Processing is 20 percent faster than normal lanes and provide a time savings of up to 20 seconds per vehicle. Those who have renewed their entry documents within the last 24 months already have RFID-enabled documents and may not know it.
The outreach through radio, print media and a televised public service announcement geared toward Paisanos (U.S. residents with Mexico ties who return to Mexico over the holidays) will emphasize the utility of the Ready Lanes as a worthwhile option for frequent border crossers in preparation for future peak traffic periods. It will encourage travelers to obtain RFID-enabled documents or renew their documents so that they utilize the Ready Lanes. It will also encourage those seeking tourist permits to obtain them early to avoid delays during peak holiday travel periods.
Facilitation measures such as opening lanes commensurate with traffic flow are designed to enable processing of a larger than normal volume of travelers seeking tourist permits to travel into the interior of the U.S. while facilitating the daily commuter traffic flows.
CBP still strives to temper the facilitation measures with security, always upholding CBP’s anti-terrorism mission. CBP will monitor traffic volumes at international bridges across South Texas and stands ready to post additional officers to ensure all available lanes are open, commensurate with traffic flow. In some locations, Border Patrol agents will augment existing staffing.
In Laredo and Brownsville, CBP advises travelers to 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 in Laredo and Brownsville.
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 section.
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.