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CBP’s Ten Tips to Help Reduce Cross-Border Travel Stress

Release Date: 
December 20, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. –U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expecting an increase in border traffic for the remainder of the holiday season and is reminding travelers who are planning trips across the border to anticipate delays and prepare accordingly.

Please note - the Peace Bridge is currently under construction with only one lane available to the United States. Please plan your trip accordingly. 

Peace Bridge Port of Entry
Peace Bridge Port of Entry

In addition to the increased traffic for the holiday season and associated shopping, the City of Buffalo will be host to the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship hockey tournament. The tournament will run from Tuesday, December 26, 2017, until Friday, January 5, 2018.

CBP continues to work closely with its stakeholders, including the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, Pegula Sports and Entertainment, and other partners to ensure traveler processing at the border is as smooth as possible.

“All available lanes will be open prior to games,” said Acting Port Director Cary Frieling. “However, at times traffic may exceed facility capacity and we ask that you travel well ahead of game times in order to avoid problems caused by a border delay. Travelers can expect to see an increase in border wait times during the event, especially just before game times,” Frieling said.

Travelers looking for ways to improve their travel experience should consider the following tips:

  • Acquire the appropriate travel document. Passports, U.S. Passport Cards, Enhanced Driver’s Licenses are just a few of the approved documents. A list of all approved travel documents can be found at www.getyouhome.gov.
  • Join NEXUS. NEXUS allows pre-screened, low-risk travelers to proceed with little or no delay into the U.S. and Canada. Application forms are available on the Canada Border Services Agency website at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca and travelers can apply online at www.cbp.gov. Additionally, NEXUS information is available toll-free at 1-866-NEXUS 26 (1-866-639-8726).
  • Check border wait times. Plan ahead. Give yourself extra time. Check traffic conditions at the border crossings within the region and select the crossing that is least congested. Travelers can download CBP’s Border Wait Time “APP” to their mobile devices for real time border crossing traffic conditions. The app is available in both Google Play and Apple stores. Travelers can also obtain current border traffic conditions at www.cbp.gov/travel/advisories-wait-times
  • If possible travel during non-peak travel times. If you are able, leave the night before to avoid peak traffic delays.
  • Prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Have your travel documents in hand, roll down vehicle windows and remove hats and sunglasses before entering the inspection area.
  • Travelers are encouraged to visit the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP web site. To avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of restricted or prohibited items become educated prior to traveling, this includes agriculture products. Please visit http://www.cbp.gov/travel.
  • Declare your goods. Travelers should declare all items being brought from abroad that will remain in the U.S. This includes gifts and Duty Free purchases.
  • Food and Plants. There are numerous agricultural restrictions on fruits, meats, and plants. Before bringing these items back, check the CBP website on bringing agricultural products into the U.S. If you decide to take your chances and bring it with you, be certain to declare it, and be willing to surrender it if it turns out to be prohibited.
Last modified: 
December 21, 2017
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