ST. ALBANS, VT — U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding travelers that there will be increased traffic volumes associated with Good Friday and Easter weekend beginning April 14; however there are a number of tips to help expedite cross-border travel.
Due to extensive construction at the Derby Line I-91 border crossing, travelers are encouraged to use alternative crossings such as the Norton Port of Entry or to cross at off-peak times. CBP asks that commercial and passenger vehicle operators exercise patience, specifically at the Derby Line crossing, as the lanes at the I-91 port of entry are currently limited to two car lanes and one commercial lane. Commercial trucks and buses are sharing the lone commercial lane, which has been relocated to the east side of the port of entry and commercial buses, trucks, and private vehicles are queuing in a single area.
“There are a number of tips that can help travelers get across the border faster and more efficiently, so it is important to familiarize yourself with those before starting your trip,” said Acting St. Albans Area Port Director Michael Fox. “The construction at Derby Line is going to bring some much needed improvements to the border crossing. We are working to minimize impact to travelers as much as possible and we appreciate your patience and understanding during this temporary phase.”
To have a smooth border crossing, ensure you have the proper documents, declare all items you are traveling with and familiarize yourself ahead of time with prohibited and restricted items. For a list of helpful tips and additional information, visit the Know Before You Go and Know Before You Visit sections of the CBP website.
One of the best tips is to become a CBP Trusted Traveler NEXUS allows pre-screened, low-risk travelers to proceed with little or no delay into the United States and Canada. NEXUS currently provides more than 1.25 million members expedited processing at dedicated border-crossing lanes, at NEXUS kiosks in CBP preclearance airports in Canada, and at maritime reporting locations.
The next best advice is to ensure that you have a radio frequency identification (RFID) enabled travel document, such as a U.S. Passport Card, Enhanced Driver’s License, Enhanced Identification Card, or a trusted traveler program membership card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST/EXPRES).
Here is a Top-10 list of smart border-crossing travel tips:
Tip 1 – Download CBP’s Border Wait Times app. Check border-crossing wait times by Port of Entry before you start your trip at CBP’s Border Advisories and Wait Times website. You can also download CBP’s Border Wait Times app free from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Tip 2 – Plan for extra time or an alternate route during peak travel times. For example, travelers might use the nearby and less heavily traveled Beecher Falls Port of Entry instead of the busier Derby Line Port of Entry.
Tip 3 - Prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Have your identity and crossing documents available for the inspection. These include a WHTI-compliant document for U.S. citizens and nonimmigrant aliens from Canada, Bermuda, and Mexico. U.S. lawful permanent residents I-551 form (green card) is acceptable at land and sea Ports of Entry. For more information, please visit CBP’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative website.
Tip 4 – Put down your cell phone. Cell phones delay CBP inspection, and impacts everyone in line.
Tip 5 – Know state alcohol, tobacco, and firearms laws. Travelers should learn about state laws concerning transporting alcohol, tobacco or firearms across state lines.
Tip 6 – Report all currency. There is no limit to how much currency you may take in or out of the U.S. However, U.S. federal law requires you to report your total currency of $10,000 or more. Currency includes all forms of monetary instruments. Travelers who fail to truthfully report all of their currency risk their currency being seized, and may face criminal charges.
Tip 7 – Declare all food items. You may bring prepared foods into the U.S. from Canada for personal use. Importing food for resale or for commercial use, visit www.fda.gov or contact your local CBP office for more information. If you are unsure if the food products you are bringing to the U.S. are admissible, visit CBP’s Bringing Food into the US website, or check with your local CBP office before arrival. Kinder Chocolate Eggs remain prohibited as they are not compliant with FDA regulations.
Tip 8 – Declare all goods and gifts. All travelers and vehicles are subject to CBP border searches. Declare everything you purchased or acquired outside of the United States to a CBP officer. Travel with unwrapped gifts, and then wrap your gifts before you reach your destination.
Tip 9 – Declare all medicines. All valid non-expired prescription medications should be in the original prescription containers with all pertinent information listed on the label. Illicit narcotics are illegal to possess or to use in the U.S.
Tip 10 – Transporting pets. Cats and dogs must be free of disease and illness when entering the U.S. Dog owners must be able to show proof of rabies vaccination. If crossing with a puppy, prior CDC approval and accompanying paperwork is required. Bird owners must pre-arrange for a veterinary inspection with USDA Veterinarian Services at designated ports. Learn more about Bringing Pets or Wildlife into the United States.