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CBP issues travel alert for the total solar eclipse

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Just about everyone in the path of totality says they’re ready for the total solar eclipse and that includes agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol.

The border will remain open for the total solar eclipse and Customs agents are expecting higher traffic volumes with delays that are expected.

CBP has some tips for travelers — have your travel documents ready in place, check border wait times before you leave your home or wherever you’re traveling from, travel in non-peak hours if you can and declare what you have.

Staff will be on hand to the best of their abilities to handle not only passenger cars that come across the bridge but also truck traffic.

“We’re going to certainly treat it like it’s a special event like we normally do, we’ll certainly try to staff to the best of our capabilities in order to mitigate the wait times and travel times,” said Supervisory Program Manager Giorgio Fuda of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

As an additional tip, although legal in Canada and in New York State, no marijuana of any quantity is allowed at the bridge crossings because marijuana is not recognized by the federal statute.

The regional municipality of Niagara in Ontario, Canada is proactively invoking a state of emergency to prepare for the event. The declaration announced Thursday sets in motion some additional planning tools to prepare for the day, which could involve major traffic jams, heavier demands on emergency services and cell phone network overloads.

The city is in the path of totality, where the moon will entirely block the sun’s rays for a few minutes. Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said earlier in March that he expects the most visitors his city has ever seen in a single day.

Agents say you should drive carefully as you cross for the actual eclipse because it’s expected to get darker for the celestial event. Customs agents say they’re working with local and federal partners to handle the eclipse on April 8.

Here’s a full list of travel tips from CBP:

Travel Tips

  1. Utilize the appropriate travel document. Passports, U.S. Passport Cards, Enhanced Driver’s Licenses are a few of the approved documents. Obtain more information here: Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
  2. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). VWP travelers looking to enter the United States at land ports of entry are required to obtain an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). If you arrive without a valid travel authorization, you will be permitted to withdraw your application for admission, return to Canada, and submit an ESTA application there. More information here: Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
  3. Check border wait times. Plan ahead. Give yourself extra time. Check traffic conditions at the border crossings within your region and select the crossing that is least congested. Travelers can download CBP’s Border Wait Time “app” to their mobile devices to check crossing traffic conditions. Travelers can also obtain traffic conditions at www.cbp.gov/travel/advisories-wait-times.
  4. If possible, travel during non-peak travel times. Peak travel times generally tend to be between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. If you are able, leaving the night before is one way to avoid peak traffic delays.
  5. Prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Have your travel documents in hand, roll down the vehicle windows, and remove hats and sunglasses before entering the inspection area.
  6. 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, become educated prior to traveling, this includes agriculture products. Please visit https://www.cbp.gov/travel. Remember, marijuana remains illegal in the United States federally. Do not cross the border with any marijuana or marijuana products.
  7. Declare your goods. Travelers should declare all items being brought from abroad that will remain in the U.S. This includes gifts and Duty-Free purchases.
  8. Food and plants. There are numerous agricultural restrictions on fruits, meats, and plants. Before bringing these items, check the CBP website on bringing agricultural products into the U.S. If you decide to take your chances and bring it with you, be certain to declare it, and be willing to surrender it if it turns out to be prohibited.

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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