The number of people crossing the border from Mexico to the United States will increase from next Monday, November 8 and, therefore, the wait times.
For this reason, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Wednesday reiterated its appeal to people traveling for non-essential reasons to avoid crossing by Rush hours.
The hours during which the greatest traffic is expected at the garitas are From Monday to Friday from 4 to 9 a.m.and the Sundaysfrom 2 p.m. to midnight.
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“We are asking non-essential travelers to avoid traveling during these times,” said San Ysidro Port of Entry manager Moises Castillo.
Restrictions on non-essential travel at the land border, imposed nearly 20 months ago as a measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19, will be lifted next week.
For the first time since March 2020, foreigners will be able to enter the United States by land, provided they prove they are fully vaccinated.
At 24-hour entry points, such as San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, restrictions will be lifted at midnight on November 8. In those that are subject to a timetable, it will be from the start of their operations on that day.
However, US authorities recommend waiting and not traveling during peak periods.
Castillo said staff from other areas have been assigned to speed up the process during the first and second inspections, in addition to the fact that during peak hours more lanes may be open at checkpoints.
“In any case, due to the volume of traffic, waiting times are expected to be high,” he stressed.
In terms of personnel, he pointed out that they are “very close to the level that was before COVID”.
He also reiterated that the PedWest crosswalk will continue to be closed for the time being. “We have found it more efficient to open PedEast completely, so PedWest will not be open for now,” he said.
What you need to know before crossing the border
People traveling for non-essential reasons should be prepared at the time of inspection to show their proof of COVID vaccination and to inform the agent of both the reason for their trip and their vaccination status.
“We’re asking people not to wait for officers to ask them the question,” Castillo said.
Both physical and digital proof of vaccination will be accepted, per Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
The voucher review process will be random, but travelers should have it on hand in case the customs officer asks to see it.
Young people and children aged 17 or under are exempt from compulsory vaccination.
“With the lifting of restrictions, we expect an increase in travellers. Everyone should expect higher crossover times. That’s the reality of what we’re going to see,” said Pete Flores, director of ground operations at CBP.
“Only in San Ysidro do we process almost 50,000 vehicles a day. For every person who can help us save a few seconds preparing their documentation, those seconds benefit all travelers at our border crossings.
Which vaccines will be accepted?
The CDC has determined that vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and those approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) are accepted for travel to the United States.
The FDA has cleared Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. For its part, the WHO also approves AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinopharm and Sinovac.
Who is considered fully vaccinated?
People who have passed 14 days after receiving the two-dose series of a COVID vaccine, or a single dose in Johnson & Johnson’s case, are considered to have a full immunization schedule.
Also those with 14 days after receiving a series of an active vaccine (not a placebo) in the AstraZeneca or Novavax vaccine trials in the United States.
And finally, those with 14 days after receiving two doses of any combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines, given at least 17 days apart.
What about the I-94 permit?
U.S. Authorities Require I-94 Permit Process to Be Done Through Mobile App CBPOne to save time and make your trips easier.
The cost of applying for an I-94 using the mobile app is $6, which is equivalent to doing so through the internet portal or arriving at a land port of entry.
“You can show it (to the officer) on your phone, the system will have a record that you have I-94, and there’s no need to print it out,” Castillo said.
Travelers can use this app to apply, receive conditional approval, and pay for the permit. The last step will be done once you arrive at the inspection at the port of entry.
What will happen in January 2022?
From January 2022, all foreign citizens, whether traveling for essential or non-essential reasons, will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
US citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents will be exempt from this requirement.