Imperial Valley, California - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in the Imperial Valley are anticipating an increase in applications by Mexican travelers for the required I-94 permit during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season.  Mexican border crossing card (or “laser visa”) holders who plan to visit the U.S. for more than 30-days and or will travel more than 25 miles from the border during the upcoming travel season, are urged to obtain the essential document early instead of waiting until the day of travel.

“We urge travelers to obtain the required document as much as a week or two early to avoid congestion and potential delays,” said Billy Whitford, Area Director for the Calexico Ports of Entry. “If they apply early, they will obtain the essential document faster and more conveniently.  Travelers may obtain the permit 24 hours a day at the Calexico downtown port of entry and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Calexico East port.”

All traveling family members need to be present during the I-94 application process.  Those requesting the permits must be able to establish financial solvency and proof of residency outside the U.S., and must demonstrate that they have sufficiently strong ties to their country of origin including a home abroad they do not intend to abandon.  Applicants who present a border crossing card (or laser visa) are not eligible to work in the United States.

When crossing the border, travelers must declare all agriculture products such as meats, fruits, vegetables and holiday decorations that may have hay or straw as an ingredient. These are not allowed into the U.S. due to possible insects and diseases that could harm the nation’s agricultural industry. 

CBP officers have the responsibility to inspect you and your belongings. This may include your luggage, vehicle, and a search of your person, and is meant to enforce our laws as well as protect legitimate travelers.

CBP officials continually monitor traffic and border crossing times and will employ various traffic management operations to maintain the flow of traffic during periods of exceptionally heavy usage.

Avoid peak travel times when at all possible.  The heaviest traffic periods typically are between the hours of 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily at Calexico downtown port.  During periods of heavy traffic, border crossers may wish to consider an alternative entry route through the Calexico East port of entry or the Andrade port.