Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Prepare ahead, have a plan and use the required identification documents if you are traveling across the U.S. Canadian border during the U.S. Presidents day and Canada Family day holiday weekend.
According to a news release issued Thursday:
Students in both the U.S. and Canada also observe the week of the 19th as a holiday recess week. On a typical holiday weekend, the busiest traffic periods seem to fall between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations wants to remind the traveling public that there are a number of steps that can be taken to facilitate their arrival into the United States.
One way to plan ahead is to check traffic conditions at the four border crossings within the Buffalo/Niagara region and select the crossing that is least congested. Travelers can easily obtain current border traffic conditions by calling the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission’s toll free number at 1-800-715-6722 or by visiting any of the following websites: www.cbp.gov, www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca, www.nittec.org, www.peacebridge.com or www.niagarafallsbridges.com.
Travelers should familiarize themselves with the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP website and consult the border wait times page (Know Before You Go) (Wait Times - Airport and Border). Wait time information is updated hourly and is useful in identifying periods of light use/short waits. Travelers should have their approved travel documents available for inspection and be prepared to declare all items acquired outside the U.S.
In compliance with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) implemented on June 1, 2009, all travelers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, need to present an approved-travel document to enter the U.S. by land and sea. These documents include a valid Passport, U.S. Passport Card, Trusted Traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST) or an Enhanced Driver’s License. Children under the age of 16 can present an original or copy of their birth certificate. Please visit the WHTI website for additional information (getyouhome.gov).
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.
CBP also reminds U.S. lawful permanent residents that the I-551 form (green card) is acceptable for land and sea travel into the United States.