LAREDO, Texas – As the holiday travel season rapidly approaches, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Laredo Port of Entry is encouraging frequent border crossers to avoid unnecessary delays by utilizing designated vehicle commuter lanes at the Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge and the I-94 tourist permit processing at the Texas Travel Center located at mile marker 18.
“Facilitation measures such as the new designated commuter lanes and a satellite tourist permit processing facility will be implemented during the holiday season to expedite processing of cross-border traffic though the Laredo Port of Entry,” said Deputy Port Director Alberto Flores, Laredo Port of Entry. “During high peak traffic periods, CBP officers process approximately 15,000 vehicles daily through the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge and approximately 2,000 tourist permits on a daily basis.”
In close coordination with the government of Mexico and the City of Laredo, the designated vehicle commuter lanes are scheduled to open on November 24th at approximately 8 a.m. The assigned lanes, which run the full length of the Lincoln-Juarez international bridge, will have delineators installed to indicate their location to local commuters and to ensure that daily local traffic is being processed in a timely manner. CBP encourages daily border crossers to utilize these assigned lanes which are located on the three Westernmost lanes of the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge.
The satellite I-94 tourist permit processing station at Texas Travel Information Center is scheduled to open November 25 through November 27 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will continue to operate every weekend until January 9. CBP will monitor I-94 tourist permit processing lanes and will refer individuals to the Texas Travel Information Center for further processing. Since implementing the facilitation measure last year, CBP officers have issued more than 20,000 permits to date at the satellite tourist processing facility.
CBP also encourages travelers to obtain and utilize radio-frequency identification technology (RFID)-equipped travel documents such as U.S. passport cards and the newer versions (i.e. since 2011) of the border crossing card and resident alien card so that they can utilize Ready Lanes. Processing in Ready Lanes is 20 percent faster than normal lanes and provide a time savings of up to 20 seconds per vehicle. Those who have renewed their entry documents within the last 24 months already have radiofrequency identification enabled documents (RFID) and may not know it. CBP encourages travelers to obtain RFID entry documents to use Ready Lanes and enroll in trusted traveler programs.
Members of the traveling public can monitor Border Wait Times via this link or also obtain the BWT app on their smartphone via Apple App Store and Google Play so that they can observe the wait times and make an informed decision on which bridge to use. These wait times are updated on an hourly basis. CBP reminds the public that they may utilize the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge as an alternate route to avoid heavy traffic.
Also to avoid any potential delays or fines due to travelers bringing prohibited/restricted agricultural items, CBP encourages travelers to declare all agricultural items to a CBP officer upon arrival and before making their journey to consult the Know Before You Visit webpage.