CBP Prepares to Implement Facilitation Measures to Expedite Holiday Traffic at the Laredo Port of Entry
LAREDO, Texas – With the arrival of Mexico-bound paisano travelers this weekend and brisk cross-border traffic, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Laredo Port of Entry is encouraging daily travelers to avoid unnecessary delays by utilizing the designated vehicle lanes at the Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge, and for tourists seeking travel into the interior of the U.S., to consider filing their I-94 application electronically and to utilize I-94 tourist permit processing at the Texas Travel Center located at mile marker 18.
“Facilitation measures such as the new designated lanes, electronic I-94 applications 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. “These measures will greatly help us to expedite processing of daily volumes in excess of 15,000 vehicles and tourist permit volumes that can approach 5,000 per day during peak periods.”
In close coordination with the Government of Mexico and the City of Laredo, the designated lane, which is designed for local cross border traffic that does not require tourist permits or other benefits opened on November 24. The assigned lane, which run the full length of the Lincoln-Juarez international bridge and fans out to three primary inspection booths, has 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 at mile marker 18 on Interstate 35, will be open this weekend and will continue to operate on an as-needed basis 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 26,000 permits to date at the satellite tourist processing facility.
The Laredo Port of Entry strongly encourages travelers to apply for their tourist permits online via https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov Travelers will now receive a provisional I-94 after submitting their application and payment online. To finalize the I-94 process, a traveler must present themselves within seven days of their application and submit biometrics, a photo and be interviewed by a CBP officer. Laredo Port of Entry will extend front of the line privileges to travelers who submit their I-94 applications electronically.
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 radio frequency 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 or 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 Go webpage.