CBP Reminds Traveling Public to Plan Ahead for Upcoming Holy Week Traffic at the Laredo Port of Entry
LAREDO, Texas– U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Laredo Port of Entry encourages travelers to plan ahead and avoid unnecessary delays during the upcoming Semana Santa traffic. CBP also reminds the traveling public that they may obtain their tourist permit by filing their I-94 application electronically and to utilize I-94 tourist permit processing at the Texas Travel Information Center located at mile marker 18 on Interstate 35.
“During peak travel periods, the Laredo Port of Entry processes volumes in excess of 15,000 vehicles and approximately 5,000 permits daily,” said Port Director Gregory Alvarez, Laredo Port of Entry. “If the traveling public prepares ahead, and more non-immigrant visa holding travelers apply for their tourist permits online, we are hopeful that the Laredo Port of Entry will see reduced wait times and the traveling public will be processed in a more timely manner.”
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, travelers must present themselves at a port of entry within seven days of their application to be interviewed by a CBP officer, submit biometric fingerscans and a photo is taken. Laredo Field Office ports of entry will extend front of the line privileges to travelers who submit their I-94 applications electronically and present their provisional I-94 permit receipt.
The satellite I-94 tourist permit processing station at Texas Travel Information Center (TTC) at mile marker 18 on Interstate 35 will be available on weekends from April 5-15, 2017. The TTC will continue to operate on an as-needed basis during the expected high peak travel period of Semana Santa. CBP will monitor I-94 tourist permit processing lanes and will refer individuals to the Texas Travel Information Center for further processing.
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 will be available on April 6. The designated lane, which runs 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.
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 using 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.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.