BUFFALO, N.Y.- ( release ) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Field Operations reminds travelers planning cross border trips on June 15th and into the early morning hours on June 16th to plan for an increase in both pedestrian and automobile traffic. The Rainbow Bridge is expected to see a significant increase in pedestrian and automobile traffic following the Nik Wallenda event and CBP officials want to inform the traveling public that there are a number of steps that can be taken to facilitate their arrival into the United States.
On June 15th, the Whirlpool Bridge hours of operation will be extended from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am on June 16th allowing NEXUS cardholders expanded access to the NEXUS exclusive crossing. All other travelers should check traffic conditions at the other three 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, cbsa-asfc.gc.ca, nittec.org, peacebridge.com, or niagarafallsbridges.com.
Travelers should familiarize themselves with the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP Web site 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 traffic/short waits. Travelers should have their approved travel documents available for inspection and be prepared to declare all items acquired outside, or being imported into, the U.S.
In compliance with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) implemented 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 Web site 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.
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.
Cross-border travelers are encouraged to participate in the NEXUS program, which allows pre-screened, low-risk travelers to proceed with little or no delay into the United States and Canada. Application forms are available on the Canada Border Services Agency website at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca and travelers can apply online at www.cbp.gov. Additionally, NEXUS information is available toll-free at 1-866-NEXUS 26 (1-866-639-8726).
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security responsible for 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.