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  4. CBP Provides Tips for Travelers for The Holiday Season

CBP Provides Tips for Travelers for The Holiday Season

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SAN DIEGO – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in San Diego are reminding travelers planning trips across the border into the United States for Thanksgiving, to make sure they have their proper documents and to plan ahead. Border traffic volumes peak at various times during this period, especially on weekends.

CBP is anticipating an increase in applications by travelers for the required I-94 permit during this holiday season. Mexican border crossing card holders who plan to visit the U.S. for more than 30-days and or will travel more than 25 miles from the border during the travel season, are urged to obtain the essential document early instead of waiting until the day of travel.

“During holidays we experience an increase in traffic at the ports of entry, and urge travelers to follow the tips below to assist in their travel into the United States,” said Pete Flores, director of field operations for the ports of entry on the California border with Mexico.

For a faster, more convenient method to apply for an I-94, travelers may utilize the online I-94 application process by visiting https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/. This can be completed up to seven days prior to their entry and travelers must make entry within those seven days to finalize their application.

All traveling family members need to be present during the I-94 application process. Those requesting the permits must be able to establish financial solvency and proof of residency outside the U.S., and must demonstrate that they have sufficiently strong ties to their country of origin, including a home abroad they do not intend to abandon. Applicants who present a border crossing card are not eligible to work or permanently reside in the United States.

CBP strongly encourages travelers to plan your trip in advance and obtain a radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled travel document such as an Enhanced Driver’s License/Enhanced Identification Card, U.S. passport card or Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry or FAST/EXPRES) to expedite entry and make future border crossings more efficient.

Tips for Travelers

Tip #1 – Beat the border rush

Plan your trip and allow extra time for crossing the border. Members of the traveling public should consult the CBP website site at http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/ to monitor border wait times. Information is updated hourly. Travelers may also monitor wait time information for the San Ysidro border station by calling 619-690-8999, for the Otay Mesa border station by calling 619-671-8999 and for the Tecate border station by calling 619-938-8300, or on your mobile Smartphone by going to http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/mobile.asp. Avoid peak travel times when at all possible. The heaviest traffic periods typically are between the hours of 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily at area ports. During periods of heavy travel, border crossers may wish to consider alternative entry routes. For example, border crossers may want to use the nearby and less heavily traveled Otay Mesa or the Tecate ports of entry instead of the San Ysidro port.

Tip #2 - Know what food products can be imported
Declare all agriculture products such as meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, and handcrafted wreaths or any other holiday decorations that may have wheat straw as a component. Agriculture products are subject to inspection, and may not be allowed into the U.S. due to their potential to harbor insects and diseases that could harm the nation’s agricultural industry. Traditional foods and gifts such as guavas, sugar cane and hawthorn apples “tejocotes” are prohibited from entering the U.S. For more information, view prohibited and restricted items.

Tip #3 - Keep travel documents handy
Be prepared to show proof of citizenship and identity to enter the United States. For U.S. citizens, this must include a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) approved document such as a U.S. passport, U.S. passport card, trusted traveler program card (SENTRI and NEXUS), or an enhanced driver’s license from participating states. Legal Permanent Residents must present their I-551 legal permanent resident card. U.S. travelers 15 years of age and younger can present just a birth certificate. For other travelers, be prepared to present a valid passport with a valid visa or Border Crossing Card/Laser Visa.

Tip #4 - Declare all firearms
Travelers are reminded that specific requirements must be met to import or export firearms and ammunition to/from the United States. For more information on the importation or exportation of firearms and ammunition, visit the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; State Department; and Commerce Department websites or contact CBP at (619) 685-4300.

Tip #5 - Leave medical marijuana at home
Although medical marijuana is legal in many U.S. states and Canada, the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana all remain illegal under federal law. Consequently, crossing with a valid medical marijuana prescription is prohibited and could potentially result in fines, apprehension, or both.

CBP officers have the responsibility to inspect travelers and their belongings. This may include luggage, vehicle, and the search of a person, and is meant to enforce our laws as well as protect travelers.

For more information on international travel into the United States, visit CBP’s Travel section.

Last Modified: February 3, 2021