Be prepared crossing the border during Holy Week

BUFFALO – As part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s mission to safeguard the nation’s borders, CBP is offering the following guidance on how to expedite border crossings for travelers returning through western New York’s ports of entry.

CBP’s overall Resource Optimization Strategy intends to maximize existing resources, identify staffing needs, and explore funding sources to support identified staffing needs. However, CBP also encourages travelers to be prepared and educate themselves on U.S. rules and regulations.

Prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Have your Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative or Radio Frequency Identification enabled documents in hand before reaching primary inspection. Travelers should declare all items acquired abroad. Additionally, individuals should end cellular phone conversations before arriving at the inspection booth. Travelers should also have their windows rolled down for inspection and remove any sunglasses and hats prior to entering the inspection area.

Travelers are encouraged to visit the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP website. To avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of restricted or prohibited items, including agricultural products, please become educated prior to traveling by visiting www.cbp.gov/travel.

Allow for extra time and check border wait times in case of exceptionally heavy traffic. Travelers should check traffic conditions at the border crossings within the region and select the crossing that is least congested. Travelers can easily obtain current border traffic conditions at www.cbp.gov.

Be aware of what food and plants are prohibited from entering the United States. There are numerous agricultural restrictions on fruits, meats and plants. Before transporting these items please check the CBP website on bringing agricultural products into the U.S. If you decide to bring these items with you be certain to declare them; if the items are prohibited, they must be surrendered or returned to Canada.

Cross-border travelers are encouraged to participate in the NEXUS program. NEXUS 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).

For more information on what to expect at a port of entry, document requirements, and prohibited or restricted items, travelers can visit www.GetYouHome.gov.