HIDALGO, TX —
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge wants to remind travelers about the “Ready Lanes” functions, benefits and hours of operation.
“RFID-enabled cards allow our officers to screen travelers faster,” said Efrain Solis Jr., Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “By having a lane designated just for travelers with these cards, we can reduce the time everyone spends waiting to enter the country, and encourage legitimate business and tourism for our communities on both sides of the border.”
The Ready Lanes, which were inaugurated back in December, 2011 at the Hidalgo and Pharr International Bridges, were established to facilitate vehicle traffic with the concept of only accepting travelers with radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled cards. The designated Ready Lanes at these border crossings operate all week from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. In order to use the Ready Lane, all adult passengers in the vehicle over the age of 16 must present an approved RFID-enabled travel card. These documents include: the U.S. passport card, SENTRI card, the new Legal Permanent Resident (green) card and the new border crossing card (BCC). The approaching passengers hold up their documents and that information is securely read and sent to the screen of the CBP officer at primary, facilitating the inspection process and saving about 20 seconds in processing time per vehicle.
Travelers who use the Ready Lane will have the benefit of a shorter wait time versus using the general lanes of vehicle traffic because of the RFID technology. While the wait time will not be as short as the lanes for pre-approved, low-risk Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) travelers, those using the Ready Lanes can generally expect to see wait times that are significantly shorter, compared to using the general traffic lanes.
Another benefit is that, unlike the SENTRI lane, in which all individuals in the vehicle must have a SENTRI card, a group with any mixture of RFID-enabled travel cards can use the Ready Lane. For example, if the driver has a SENTRI card but the passengers all have other kinds of RFID-enabled documents, such as a U.S. passport card or a new border crossing card, the vehicle may still have the benefit of using the Ready Lane.
Since the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizens entering the United States by land or sea from Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, are required to present a valid, WHTI-compliant document. Using a WHTI-compliant document that is an RFID-enabled travel card allows for more efficient processing of travelers at the border, since RFID technology allows CBP officers to receive information about travelers faster.