U.S. Customs and Border Protection Reminds Travelers of Document Requirements in Time for Spring Break
Tucson, Arizona - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Arizona remind travelers to have their approved travel documents as they get ready to travel during spring break that begins this weekend in many areas.
As local schools, colleges and universities get ready to celebrate their spring break vacation, the ports of entry in Arizona are prepared to handle the traditional traffic increases and emphasize the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) travel-document requirements that have been in effect since June 1, 2009.
WHTI requires U.S. 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 point to information in a secure CBP database.
WHTI document requirements for air travel have been in effect since January 2007.
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.
Travelers crossing at land ports of entry are urged to have their approved travel documents ready in hand when arriving at the ports of entry and to display their WHTI-compliant, RFID-enabled documents properly when using the RFID readers at all primary lanes.
"CBP has a dual mission of enforcement and facilitation and the two go hand-in-hand," said Director of Field Operations David Higgerson. "In order to effectively enforce the laws regarding people, conveyances and goods entering and exiting the country and reduce delays for travelers crossing the border, CBP needs help from the traveling public.
"The most critical step travelers can take is to be prepared by having the proper travel documents and having them ready before reaching the officer. The less time a traveler spends searching for the approved-travel documents while at the booth, the less time everyone waits in line."
On a typical day, CBP welcomes more than one million international travelers into the United States at land, air and sea ports. During fiscal year 2009, CBP screened and processed almost 28 million people through the ports of entry in Arizona.
Traffic volumes at ports of entry in Arizona area are expected to be heavier during spring break travel and travelers are reminded that, to further facilitate their processing, they are encouraged to terminate all cell phone calls and be ready to declare all items acquired in Mexico or abroad when they approach the primary inspection booths. If anyone has a question on what products are admissible, please consult our "Know Before You Go" section on CBP.gov.
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.