With the easing of many of the COVID-19 travel restrictions at the northern border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is seeing an uptick in travelers at ports of entry. To reduce wait times, CBP is urging travelers who require an I-94 to apply and prepay online before arriving at the land border.
A Form I-94 is needed by all visitors except: U.S. citizens, returning resident aliens, aliens with immigrant visas, and most Canadian citizens visiting or in transit. Travelers will be issued an I-94 during the admission process at the port of entry. If you are traveling via a land border you may apply for an I-94 in advance, saving time while at the port of entry later.
“With summer approaching and people beginning to feel more comfortable traveling, we will inevitably see wait times increase,” said Harmit Gill, Director, Area Port of Blaine. “Travelers who apply for an I-94 online prior to their arrival at a port of entry, can save themselves a significant amount of time at the border.”
Travelers are also encouraged to follow the tips below:
Check out the CBP informational website
The CBP site has been completely redesigned to help users quickly access the content they need. It also is optimized for access by smart phones and makes use of a new content delivery network that will improve access internationally.
Beat the border rush
Cross during off-peak times, such as before 6 a.m. or after 3 p.m. Most lines at the border start building in the morning and carry on into early afternoon.
Monitor wait times via the CBP “Border Wait Times” website. Information is updated hourly and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use/short waits.
Keep travel documents handy
Make sure each passenger has the correct travel document accessible and ready to give to the CBP officer.
If you are a frequent international traveler and have not already become a member of a trusted traveler program, sign up now. For more information, please visit CBP’s Trusted Traveler site.
Know the contents of your vehicles and be prepared to declare all items
Travelers are required to declare all items being imported into the United States from Canada. If you are not sure about what to declare, do not hesitate to ask the CBP officer.
Know what food products can be imported
Many fruits, meats, dairy and poultry products are prohibited from being imported into the United States from Canada. For more information, view prohibited and restricted items.
Declare all firearms
Travelers are reminded that specific requirements must be met to import or export firearms and ammunition to/from the United States. For more information on the importation or exportation of firearms and ammunition visit the ATF website.
Leave marijuana at home
Although marijuana is legal in many U.S. states and Canada, the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana all remain illegal under federal law.