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CBP offers travel tips for upcoming holiday travel period

Release Date: 
December 17, 2015

EL PASO, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding international travelers planning to cross the border for the upcoming Christmas holiday and New Year’s season of several important things they can do to ensure a smooth and efficient processing experience upon their arrival to the United States.

“The best thing travelers can do is be informed, have their entry documents handy, and declare any and all goods they are importing,” said Hector Mancha, CBP Director of Field Operation in El Paso. “Everyone is in a hurry and CBP is working to help move travelers through our area crossings as quickly as possible while still maintaining our priority homeland security mission.”

The El Paso port of entry is reminding members of the traveling public when all inspection lanes are staffed under the All Lanes Open Initiative. The ongoing public-private partnership between CBP and the city of El Paso will also open more lanes during specific periods at some locations. Travelers can also observe current traffic conditions at the Paso Del Norte, Stanton and Ysleta bridges on the city of El Paso website.

CBP is also encouraging travelers with appropriate entry documents to use the designated Ready Lanes when they can. Also available to assist travelers is the free Border Wait Time app available at the Apple App Store and Google Play. The app is a one-stop shop for cross border travel and provides estimated wait times and open lane status at land ports of entry. The data is updated hourly. The app was introduced a little more than one year ago.

“Just like area stores, restaurants and highways the ports of entry will also be very busy this holiday season. Longer than normal wait times should be expected,” said Mancha. “Being able to remotely check wait times and knowing when all lanes are staffed, and being able to observe current conditions should help the traveling public identify the best times to cross the border quickly,”

CBP introduced the ALOI at the El Paso port of entry approximately three years ago. CBP staffs all vehicular and pedestrian lanes between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. All lanes are open Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. There will be no ALOI added staffing Christmas Day and New Year’s Day because of historically light traffic.

In addition to the ALOI the city of El Paso is providing funding to CBP which allows the agency to staff additional lanes at area border crossings. Those periods are limited to specific locations and times. They generally include vehicular lanes at the Paso Del Norte and Ysleta crossings from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 p.m. to midnight on Sunday; PDN vehicular lanes from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Monday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the pedestrian area. Additional periods are added to support periods of anticipated heavy traffic to include holidays and special events.

A full schedule of added staffing hours can be found at the end of this news release.

In addition to the local information CBP is encouraging travelers to be a “Ready Traveler” by following these travel tips.

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 (www.getyouhome.gov).

Tip #2 – Drivers with RFID-enabled documents should consider using one of the Ready Lanes now operational at the Paso Del Norte, Bridge of the Americas, and Ysleta crossings. Processing times at these lanes are generally 15-20 seconds quicker per vehicle than normal lanes.

Tip #3 – 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 #4 – Travelers approaching an interior Border Patrol checkpoint should have their documents ready to present to the U.S. Border Patrol agent if asked. This will save time.

Tip #5 – Travelers should declare all items acquired abroad. In addition, individuals should end cellular phone conversations before arriving at the inspection booth.

Tip #6 – 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 #7 – 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. 

Tip #8 – Consult 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 #9 – 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.

Tip #10 – 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.

Paso Del Norte – Vehicular Processing
  Regular ALOI hours   560-PPP hours with City of El Paso
Tuesday, December 22 0600-1000 1000-1400
Wednesday, December 23 0600-1000 1000-1400
Thursday, December 24 0600-1000  
Friday, December 25    
Saturday, December 26 1000-1400 1400-1800 and 2200-2400
Sunday, December 27 1400-1800 0000-0200 and 2200-2400
Monday, December 28 0600-1000 0500-0600
Tuesday, December 29 0600-1000  
Wednesday, December 30 0600-1000  
Thursday, December 31 0600-1000  
Friday, January 1    
Saturday, January 2 1000-1400 1400-1800 and 2200-2400
Sunday, January 3 1400-1800 0000-0200, 1400-1800 and 2200-2400
Monday, January 4 0600-1000 0500-0600 and 1400-1800
Tuesday, January 5 0600-1000  
Wednesday, January 6 0600-1000 1000-1400
Paso Del Norte – Pedestrian Processing
  Regular ALOI hours   560-PPP hours with City of El Paso
Tuesday, December 22 0600-1000 1000-1400
Wednesday, December 23 0600-1000 1000-1400
Thursday, December 24 0600-1000  
Friday, December 25    
Saturday, December 26 1000-1400  
Sunday, December 27 1400-1800  
Monday, December 28 0600-1000 1000-1400
Tuesday, December 29 0600-1000  
Wednesday, December 30 0600-1000  
Thursday, December 31 0600-1000  
Friday, January 1    
Saturday, January 2 1000-1400  
Sunday, January 3 1400-1800  
Monday, January 4 0600-1000 1000-1400
Tuesday, January 5 0600-1000  
Wednesday, January 6 0600-1000  
Yselta – Vehicular Processing
  Regular ALOI hours   560-PPP hours with City of El Paso
Tuesday, December 22 0600-1000 1000-1400
Wednesday, December 23 0600-1000 1000-1400
Thursday, December 24 0600-1000  
Friday, December 25    
Saturday, December 26 1000-1400 1400-1800
Sunday, December 27 1400-1800 1400-1800 and 2200-2400
Monday, December 28 0600-1000  
Tuesday, December 29 0600-1000  
Wednesday, December 30 0600-1000  
Thursday, December 31 0600-1000  
Friday, January 1    
Saturday, January 2 1000-1400 1400-1800 and 2200-2400
Sunday, January 3 1400-1800 0000-0200, 1400-1800 and 2200-2400
Monday, January 4 0600-1000 1400-1800
Tuesday, January 5 0600-1000  
Wednesday, January 6 0600-1000 1000-1400
Bridge of the Americas – Vehicular Processing
  Regular ALOI hours   560-PPP hours with City of El Paso
Tuesday, December 22 0600-1000  
Wednesday, December 23 0600-1000  
Thursday, December 24 0600-1000  
Friday, December 25    
Saturday, December 26 1000-1400  
Sunday, December 27 1400-1800  
Monday, December 28 0600-1000  
Tuesday, December 29 0600-1000  
Wednesday, December 30 0600-1000  
Thursday, December 31 0600-1000  
Friday, January 1    
Saturday, January 2 1000-1400  
Sunday, January 3 1000-1800  
Monday, January 4 0600-1000  
Tuesday, January 5 0600-1000  
Wednesay, January 6 0600-1400  
Last modified: 
February 9, 2017