LAREDO, Texas — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) at eight ports of entry from Brownsville to Del Rio is prepared for the expected traffic that comes with the beginning of the school year and returning students.
“This is an exciting time for all students and we want to make their transition through our ports of entry a pleasant one,” said Director of Field Operations, David P. Higgerson, Laredo Field Office. “Our officers are ready to facilitate their entry and process any student arriving with approved F, M, or J visas.”
A person interested in pursuing full-time academic or vocational studies in the United States may be eligible for one of two nonimmigrant student categories. The “F” category is for academic students and the “M” is for vocational students. To learn more, please see the Students and Exchange Visitors Program Web page on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's website.
A person interested in participating in an exchange program may be eligible for the “J” category for exchange visitors. The J visa program is for educational and cultural exchange programs. For more information, please see the Exchange Visitor Visa page on the Department of State website.
CBP at the South Texas ports of entry implements a variety of effective measures to facilitate a smooth, orderly traffic flow, including Ready Lanes, trusted traveler programs such as Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI).
CBP strongly encourages students to obtain their student visa, I-94 permit, I-120 form and be enrolled in the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) with time to avoid delays at the port of entry.
Other travelers entering the country for business or pleasure are encouraged to obtain radio-frequency identification technology (RFID)-equipped travel documents such as U.S. passport cards and the newer versions (i.e. since 2011) of the border crossing card and resident alien card so that they can utilize Ready Lanes. CBP also encourages travelers to enroll in trusted traveler programs like SENTRI. Processing times in Ready Lane and SENTRI are faster than normal lanes and provide time savings for travelers.
Members of the traveling public can monitor Border Wait Times via this link or also obtain the BWT app on their smartphone via Apple App Store and Google Play so that they can observe the wait times and make an informed decision on which bridge to use. These wait times are updated on an hourly basis.
Also, to avoid any potential delays or fines due to travelers bringing prohibited/restricted agricultural items, CBP encourages travelers to declare all agricultural items to a CBP officer upon arrival and before making their journey to consult the Know Before You Go guide at the following link.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.