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  4. CBP Offers I-94 Travel Document Tips Ahead of Thanksgiving and Black Friday

CBP Offers I-94 Travel Document Tips Ahead of Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Release Date
Tue, 11/23/2021

EL PASO, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are seeing an increase in travelers seeking I-94 entry documents since travel restrictions were eased Nov. 8. The agency is offering a number of tips to streamline the process based upon current trends.

CBP is reminding travelers who have pre-paid the I-94 through the CBP One™ mobile application that they can bypass the I-94 lobbies and go directly to pedestrian processing to complete the process. Some travelers are unnecessarily visiting the I-94 lobbies to obtain the document slowing the overall process.

CBP officers are also noting a number of challenges in issuing the pre-paid I-94 at the pedestrian primary inspection booths. These appear to be related to data submission errors. CBP encourages users to double-check all information before submitting their data. Common issues include date of birth mistakes and other biographical errors. When these issues arise travelers are directed to the I-94 lobby for manual processing which slows the process.

CBP also encourages travelers to submit their information before arriving at a the port entry but within seven days of travel.

CBP One™ is a mobile application that serves as a single portal to a variety of CBP services. Through a series of guided questions, the app will direct each type of user to the appropriate services based on their needs.

As part of CBP’s comprehensive effort to improve the security of our nation’s borders while enhancing legitimate travel and trade, CBP One™ will provide increased accessibility and transparency to some of CBP’s most utilized services.

The I-94 Entry feature allows travelers to apply for a provisional I-94 prior to arriving at a land border crossing. Travelers who apply for their I-94 ahead of time will experience faster processing times to expedite entry. Travelers can also quickly access their current I-94 submission to view critical information such as, how long they can remain in the U.S., and use it for proof of visitor status once in the United States.

Travelers should download the free CBP One™ app on their web-enabled smart device. Note that a free account is required to use CBP One™. After opening the CBP One™ app, tap “Sign In with”.

  • Travelers who do not have a account should “Create an account” and follow the instructions.
  • Travelers who already have a account should sign into their existing account, and will be redirected back to the CBP One™.

After signing in to CBP One™ users can access the different CBP services based on their specific needs.

As Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the holiday season approaches CBP officials continue to ask for preparedness and patience as travelers are able to take advantage of the first stage of re-opening following pandemic travel restrictions. Longer than normal wait times are expected and travelers should plan accordingly.

Since Nov.8, fully vaccinated foreign nationals with appropriate documents for entry have been permitted to cross into the U.S. from Mexico at land border crossings for non-essential reasons again. These travelers are required to be prepared to attest to vaccination status and to present proof of vaccination to a CBP officer upon request.

Information about what is acceptable as proof of vaccination, including which vaccines are permissible, is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers | CDC. Please note that to be considered fully vaccinated, 14 days must have passed since your final shot for your vaccine.

For the ports of entry along the U.S/Mexico border, CBP officials are suggesting the following steps that travelers can take to try and help speed processing for entry into the U.S.:

  • If you are a visa holder traveling for non-essential reasons, you can verbally attest or declare to the officer that you have been vaccinated, without waiting for the officer to ask the question. Have your proof of vaccination ready, in case the officer asks to see it. (Not every individual will be asked to show their proof at every crossing, but they are required to have their proof of vaccination with them in case they are asked to provide it to the CBP officer as a part of their inspection for entry into the U.S.)
  • If you are traveling for non-essential reasons, travel at off-peak times. At local ports of entry, our peak times with the highest traffic volumes are on Sundays and weekday mornings To help alleviate bottlenecks, CBP is recommending that those who can, decide when to cross choose off-peak hours for their travel times.
  • Use the correct lane. Traffic at our local ports of entry is segmented into three different lanes. The SENTRI lanes are only for those traveling in a vehicle with all of the occupants registered in the low-risk Trusted Traveler program; the vehicle itself must also be registered with SENTRI. The Ready lanes are only for those who have a document equipped to use the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology available to help speed processing into the U.S. For U.S. citizens, that’s a passport card, rather than the blue passport book. It also includes Legal Permanent Resident Cards and the Border Crossing Cards held by local B1/B2 visa holders. All others must have their correct documentation ready to show that they have the legal status to enter the U.S., and use the general traffic lanes.

Additional information about these changes to the travel restrictions are available from the DHS press release and Fact Sheet.

Last Modified: Jan 10, 2024