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Beating the Holiday traffic at El Paso ports of entry

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Ahead of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection are encouraging travelers to plan ahead.

According to CBP officials, the busiest time for CBP officers working at area ports is typically late November through early January.

"So our first tip would be just to plan for that. Expect longer than normal waits, the same as if you're going shopping at the mall. You know, it's going to be crowded. Same thing at the ports. So plan ahead, build extra time into your trip. That's important," said Roger Maier, a CBP spokesperson.

On an average day, crossers wait between 30 to 45 minutes. During the holiday season, it can increase to over an hour.

"The Friday right after Thanksgiving is very busy. Any weekend leading up to Christmas is very busy," he said.

Maier said CBP staff is limited, but sometimes they are forced to adjust staffing accordingly.

He also suggested travelers check bridge wait times on their own so they know which bridge is the best option. He urges travelers to be patient.

To avoid any other delays, CBP encourages travelers to declare agricultural to CBP officers upon arrival.

"The key thing is, is to declare what you have because if you declare it and it's a prohibited item, generally it can be abandoned without consequence," he said.

Maier also encouraged tourists to apply for I-94 travel permits early. Travelers can apply for the permits online via the CBP One App.

Article Topic Follows: On the Border

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Rosemary Montañez

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