Pembina, N.D. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding travelers planning trips across the border into the U.S. to make sure they have their proper documents and to anticipate heavy traffic during the Victoria Day weekend.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, implemented on June 1, 2009, requires U.S. and Canadian citizens age 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.
WHTI is the joint Department of State-Department of Homeland Security plan that implemented a key 9/11 Commission recommendation to establish document requirements for travelers entering the United States who were previously exempt, including citizens of the U.S., Canada and Bermuda.
CBP also reminds U.S. lawful permanent residents that the I-551 form (green card) is acceptable for land and sea travel into the U.S.
In Canada, Victoria Day unofficially marks the end of the winter season and, thus, the beginning of summer. Traffic volumes at ports of entry are expected to be heavier during the Victoria Day weekend and travelers should familiarize themselves with the "Know Before You Go" section of the CBP website to avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of prohibited items.
Travelers crossing at border crossings that have a dedicated NEXUS lane should know that all passengers in the vehicle must possess a NEXUS card to utilize the NEXUS lane when it is operational. The ports of Pembina, N.D. and International Falls, Minn. both have NEXUS lanes. The Pembina NEXUS lane hours of operation are from 6:30 to 8 a.m. Central Time seven days a week. The International Falls NEXUS lane hours of operation are from 6:30 to 8 a.m. Central Time Monday through Friday.
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.
For more information, please visit the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative page.