Pembina, N.D. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding both Americans and Canadians planning trips across the border into the United States during the upcoming holiday weekend to make sure they have their proper documents and to anticipate heavy traffic.
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 (RFID)-enabled 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.
WHTI-compliant, RFID-enabled documents help reduce the time it takes to process travelers at the border. No personal identification information is stored on the RFID chip embedded in the cards - only a series of ones and zeros that points to information in a secure CBP database.
CBP also reminds U.S. lawful permanent residents that the I-551 form (green card) is acceptable for land and sea travel into the U.S.
CBP travel tips:
Tip #1 - Travelers should familiarize themselves with the "Know Before You Go" section of the CBP website to avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of prohibited items. "Know Before You Go" brochures are also available at border ports.
Tip #2 - Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Individuals should have their crossing documents available for the inspection and they should be prepared to declare all items acquired abroad. In addition, individuals should end cellular phone conversations before arriving at the inspection booth.
Tip #3 - Wait times for the ports of International Falls, Minnesota and Pembina, North Dakota can be monitored at the CBP Wait Times - Airport and Border web site. Information is updated hourly and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use/short waits.
Tip #4 - During periods of heavy travel, border crossers may wish to consider alternative, less heavily traveled entry routes.
Tip #5 - Travelers should plan to build extra time into their trips in the event they cross during periods of exceptionally heavy traffic.
Tip #6 - Know the difference between goods for personal use vs. commercial use.
Tip #7 -Do not attempt to bring fruits, meats, dairy/poultry products and firewood into the United States from Canada without first checking whether they are permitted.
Tip # 8 - Understand that CBP officers have the authority to conduct enforcement examinations without a warrant, ranging from a single luggage examination up to and possibly including a personal search. Even during the summer vacation season, international border crossers should continue to expect a thorough inspection process when they enter the U.S. from Canada.
The United States has been and continues to be a welcoming nation. U.S. Customs and Border Protection not only protects U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents in the country but also wants to ensure the safety of our international travelers who come to visit, study and conduct legitimate business in our country.
Our dual mission is to facilitate travel in the United States while we secure our borders, our people and our visitors from those that would do us harm like terrorists and terrorist weapons, criminals and contraband.
For more information, please visit Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative or CBP website.