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CBP Offers Holiday Tips for Quick and Safe Crossing Border Crossing Experience

Release Date: 
November 19, 2010

El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials in El Paso are anticipating an increase in border traffic as the holiday season approaches. CBP is offering a number of tips to travelers designed to expedite the border crossing experience.

"We will closely monitor traffic patterns and adjust staffing as needed to keep traffic moving as quickly as possible," said William Molaski, CBP El Paso port director. "The impact of the holiday season at border crossing points is no different than at area stores, restaurants and roadways. There will be more people than normal and travelers should expect that and prepare accordingly."

CBP is offering a series of tips to help border area travelers. The tips are useful because the holiday travel season is usually a time when people who are unfamiliar with CBP protocols cross the border and travel to the interior of the U.S. Others cross the border more frequently than normal to shop, visit family and friends, and attend holiday related events. Adopting the strategies provided by CBP can help travelers cross the border quickly, safely and without incident.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso Port Director William Molaski shares holiday border crossing tips with members of the El Paso/Juarez media at the Paso Del Norte international crossing November 19, 2010.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso Port Director William Molaski shares holiday border crossing tips with members of the El Paso/Juarez media at the Paso Del Norte international crossing November 19, 2010.

Tip #1 - Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Please have crossing documents available for the inspection including a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) approved document for U.S. citizens.

Tip #2 - Travelers should declare all items acquired abroad. In addition, individuals should end cellular phone conversations before arriving at the inspection booth.

Tip #3 - Travelers should build extra time into their trips in the event they cross during periods of exceptionally heavy traffic. This includes SENTRI/Dedicated Commuter Lane (DCL) users.

Tip #4 - Travelers are encouraged to visit 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 available at border ports.

Tip #5 - Consult the Border Wait Times section of the CBP website site to monitor border crossing times. Information is updated hourly and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use/short waits.

Tip #6 - During periods of heavy travel, border crossers may wish to consider alternative entry routes. They should also travel during non-peak hours if their schedule allows. For example pedestrians should avoid the Paso Del Norte crossing between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. if their schedule allows.

Tip #7 - Visit the port of entry to obtain I-94 travel documents in advance of the busiest holiday travel periods. This will allow travelers who require I-94 documents (those planning to travel beyond the border zone or stay in the U.S. for more than 30 days) to bypass those lines when they formally enter the U.S. They will still be subject to the inspection process.

Tip #8 - Drivers should insure that their vehicles are properly maintained and mechanically sound and that occupants avoid riding in areas of vehicles not specifically designed to carry passengers. Failure to follow these steps can expose crossers/passengers to carbon monoxide.

The principal mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is anti-terrorism. CBP officers at border ports of entry and CBP agents at Border Patrol check points are committed to identifying and stopping terrorists and the tools of terror. As a result, border crossers should continue to expect a thorough inspection process when they enter the U.S. from Mexico.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017