U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced today that the extension of the border zone in New Mexico for Border Crossing Card holders is now effective. Following publish of the final rule in June with an implementation date 30-days from publish, Border Crossing Card holders can now travel up to 55 miles from the border without obtaining a Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.
This change allows BCC holders entering the United States by land, to travel to the cities of Deming and Las Cruces, N.M., stimulating commerce, trade and tourism activity in the area. The current process to obtain a Form I-94 includes a secondary inspection with an officer with interview, fingerprinting, database queries, and other paperwork to confirm legitimate travel.
Current DHS regulations state that certain nonimmigrant Mexican nationals presenting a BCC are not required to complete a CBP Form I-94 if they are staying within 25 miles of the border. In 1999, this regulation was amended for the state of Arizona to allow BCC holders to travel up to 75 miles from the border for similar economic stimulations facilitated by increased trade and travel.
As part of CBP’s work to transform the way we do business at ports of entry, this change will decrease paperwork for both the officer and the traveler and will allow CBP to better optimize its resources in New Mexico.
CBP recently announced another effort also intended to decrease paperwork for both the traveler and CBP officer in the air and sea environment - the automation of the Form I-94 for air and sea travelers meaning that affected visitors will no longer need to fill out a paper form when arriving to the U.S. by air or sea, improving procedures and reducing costs as well.