Blaine, Wash. - Victoria Day (Monday, May 24) unofficially marks the end of the winter season and thus the beginning of summer. Border traffic volumes are expected to be greatly increased during this holiday weekend, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding all travelers planning trips across the border into the U.S. to make sure they have the proper documents.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, implemented on June 1, 2009, requires U.S. and Canadian citizens ages 16 and older to present a valid, acceptable travel document that denotes both identity and citizenship when entering the U.S. by land or sea.
CBP strongly encourages travelers to obtain a radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled travel document such as a U.S. Passport Card, Enhanced Driver's License/Enhanced Identification Card or Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST/EXPRES) to expedite their entry and make crossing the border more efficient.
WHTI-compliant, RFID-enabled documents help reduce the time it takes to process travelers at the border. No personal identification information is stored on the RFID chip embedded in the cards - only a series of ones and zeros that points to information in a secure CBP database.
Additionally, all travelers are reminded of a few simple steps they can employ to cross the border. Plan your trip and allow extra time for crossing the border. Consult the CBP website to monitor border wait times and review the "Know Before You Go" tip sheet. Avoid peak travel times when at all possible. The heaviest traffic periods are typically between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The U.S. has been and continues to be a welcoming nation. CBP not only protects U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents in the country, but also wants to ensure the safety of our international travelers who come to visit, study and conduct legitimate business in our country.