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Expect border delays this holiday weekend

Vehicles from Canada to the U.S. at the Peace Arch border crossing in Blaine.
Vehicles from Canada to the U.S. at the Peace Arch border crossing in Blaine. The Bellingham Herald file

Those traveling across the U.S.-Canada border this weekend may experience longer than usual wait times because of Canadian Thanksgiving/U.S. Columbus Day on Monday, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Canada Border Services Agency news releases.

Travelers are encouraged to plan trips in advance and use nearby and less-traveled border crossings in Lynden and Sumas, according to the releases.

The Sumas crossing is open 24 hours a day, while the Lynden crossing is open from 8 a.m. until midnight. Sumas is allowing recreational vehicles and oversized vehicles to use the cargo lanes this weekend.

“We encourage all travelers to follow the simple steps … to help facilitate their travel into the United States during this holiday period,” said Area Port Director Kenneth L. Williams in a prepared statement.

Travelers are also encouraged to obtain RFID-enabled cards, such as enhanced driver’s licenses and identification cards, Fast or Nexus passes, among others.

For those who have such cards, the Ready Lanes are open during the following times:

▪ Blaine Peace Arch: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.

▪ Lynden: Noon to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

▪ Sumas: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday .

All foreign travelers requiring I-94 or visa waiver entry documents are encouraged to get them before their day of travel, officials said.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

7 simple steps when crossing the border:

▪  Check the CBP website.

▪  Beat the border rush. Go during off-peak times, such as between 6 and 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Use the internet or free Border Wait Times app or the CanBorder app.

▪  Keep travel documents ready.

▪  Know the contents of your vehicle and be prepared to declare all items.

▪  Declare all firearms or leave them at home.

▪  Know what food products can be imported. Many fruits, meats, dairy and poultry products can’t be brought into the U.S. from Canada.

▪  Leave medical marijuana at home. Although it’s legal in several U.S. states and Canada, the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

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