U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminds both Americans and Canadians planning their holiday travel for Canada Day, Fourth of July and summer vacation season that there are a number of steps they can employ to cross the border more efficiently.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was implemented on June 1 and 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 acceptable documents include a passport, U.S. passport card, enhanced driver’s licenses -- now produced by the State of Washington and Province of British Columbia -- or a Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST).
CBP also wants to remind U.S. lawful permanent residents that the Form I-551 (green card) is acceptable for land and sea travel into the U.S.
"The United States remain a welcoming nation for our neighbors to the north, however the holidays and summer weekends will require additional planning and patience on the part of travelers,” said Michele James, CBP director of Field Operations-Seattle.
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 Web site to avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of prohibited items.
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 Web
site to monitor border wait times for various ports of entry including Blaine
and Sumas, Wash.; Sweetgrass, Mont.; and Pembina, N.D. Information is updated
hourly and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use/short
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 (i.e.
Canada Day and the Fourth of July holidays and adjacent weekends).
Tip #6 – Know the difference between goods for personal use vs. commercial
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.