International Falls Labor Day Travel Advisory
International Falls, Minn. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection reminds both Americans and Canadians planning their travel to celebrate the Labor Day Holiday weekend that there are a number of steps they can employ to cross the border into the U.S. more efficiently.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), implemented on June 1, 2009 requires U.S. and Canadian citizens, age 16 and older to present a valid, acceptable document that denotes both identity and citizenship when entering the U.S. by land or sea. WHTI approved travel documents include a passport, U. S. passport card, enhanced driver's licenses (EDLs) or a Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST).
CBP also wants to remind U.S. lawful permanent residents that the I-551 form (green card) is acceptable for land and sea travel into the U.S.
Here are a few 'Travel Tips' that will assist travelers crossing the international border:
Tip #1 - 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. "Know Before You Go" brochures are also available at border ports.
Tip #2 - Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Individuals should have their crossing documents available for the inspection and they should be prepared to declare all items acquired abroad. In addition, individuals should end cellular phone conversations before arriving at the inspection booth.
Tip #3 - Members of the traveling public should consult the CBP website site to monitor border wait times for various ports of entry. Information is updated hourly and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use/short waits.
Tip #4 - During periods of heavy travel, border crossers may wish to consider alternative, less heavily traveled entry routes.
Tip #5 - Travelers should plan to build extra time into their trips in the event they cross during periods of exceptionally heavy traffic.
Tip #6 - Know the difference between goods for personal use vs. commercial use.
Tip #7 -Do not attempt to bring fruits, meats, dairy/poultry products and firewood into the United States from Canada without first checking whether they are permitted.
Tip # 8 - Understand that CBP officers have the authority to conduct enforcement examinations without a warrant, ranging from a single luggage examination up to and possibly including a personal search. Even during the summer vacation season, international border crossers should continue to expect a thorough inspection process when they enter the U.S. from Canada.
CBP officials continually monitor traffic and border crossing times at area ports of entry. They plan to fully staff all inspection lanes during peak periods and to implement various traffic management operations to maintain the flow of traffic during periods of exceptionally heavy usage.
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.
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.