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Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

Trusted Traveler Programs: SENTRI – Easy Access

In our fourth post in our Trusted Traveler Program Series  we are going to cover SENTRI, the program for pre-approved travelers who cross the U.S./Mexico border frequently. SENTRI users have access to specific, dedicated primary lanes into the United States.  Members are issued a Radio Frequency Identification Document (RFID) that will identify their record and status in the CBP database upon arrival at the U.S. port of entry.  Participants in the program wait for much shorter periods of time than those in regular lanes waiting to enter the United States, even at the busiest time of day. SENTRI Dedicated Commuter Lanes are available at El Paso, TX; Otay Mesa, CA; San Ysidro, CA; Calexico, CA; Nogales, AZ; Hidalgo, TX; Brownsville, TX; Anzalduas, TX; Laredo, TX; and San Luis, AZ


Where Do You Need a Passport?

Most people are aware that you need a passport to go to Europe, Africa and Asia. But what if you’re staying closer to home? A decade ago, getting into Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean was as easy as saying “I’m an American citizen,” but not anymore.  After 9-11, The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was enacted making it much harder to get in and out of the US without a passport. Don’t get caught off-guard if you’re heading to one of these destinations:   Canada Visiting Canada? Check your passport, eh? You definitely need one if you're flying in or out of the country, unless you have a NEXUS trusted traveler card and you are flying to a Canadian preclearance airport with a NEXUS kiosk. If you're traveling by land or sea, you need one of the followi


New Passport Laws Don’t Impede Border Crossing

In 2009, new passport laws went into effect that changed the documents required for travel between the US, Mexico and Canada. Called the Western Travel Initiative (WHTI), the regulations required most US citizens to have either a passport or a passport card for land and sea travel to either country, with a passport book being required for air travel. Local businesses on both sides of the border have been ruing that day ever since, blaming the requirements for slowing down the number of consumers able to casually hop from country to country. Now, a new report suggests that at least on the US/Canadian border, the problem may be an issue of perception rather than an actual increase in wait times.  According to the Spectator, an in-depth study commissioned by the Binational Economic and


Sport Fishing in Mexico? Don’t Forget Your US Passport!

In California, deep-sea fishing boats crossing into Mexican waters have found themselves on the hook instead, as the Mexican  navy boarded them and checked their passengers' passports. According to, the sport-fishing boats believed that they were complying with existing regulations that allow anglers to take short fishing trips of a day or less into Mexican waters, as long as they have a Mexican fishing license. However, one of the boats reported being turned back when an angler on board was unable to produce a valid US passport. Michelle Gandola, a spokeswoman for the Sportfishing Association of California, told SignOnSanDiego that the Association had contacted the Mexican government for clarification: “We’re trying to get some kind of official statement from t


Worried About Mexico? Get a Passport and Head Further South

Drug-fueled violence has been simmering over in certain parts of Mexico for well over a year now. The State Department has issued official travel warning after official travel warning to keep US citizens informed of the situation, most recently in April. With horror stories coming in from across the border on a semi-regular basis, many US citizens have decided that it might be more prudent to take a summer vacation elsewhere. It should be noted that only certain parts of Mexico are affected by the violence- even the cautious bureaucrats over at the Department of State note that "the majority of visitors to Mexico thoroughly enjoy their stay." The travel warning suggests that you stay away from the following areas: Northern Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon (especially th


Driving to Mexico or Canada? What Can I Use As Proof of Travel?

When you apply for an emergency passport, whether it's at a Passport Agency office or through an expediting company, the Department of State requires you to prove that you do in fact have an emergency. When you make an appointment at a Passport Agency office, you must bring a hard copy of your itinerary to show that you will be leaving the country within the next 14 days. If you're using an expediter, you must include proof of travel in the package you send to the company. For most trips, the State Department will only accept one of the following documents: A copy of your airline reservation, or a printed email confirmation if you've purchased an electronic ticket. A reservation with a travel agency If you're traveling on business, a letter on company letterhead describing the d


Get an Expedited Passport for cheap fares at Spirit Airlines!

Have you always fantasized about visiting a tropical Caribbean beach but never thought you'd be able to afford it? What if your plane tickets were only $2? At first glance, joining Spirit Airlines' fare club seems like it just might be the ticket to bring your dream vacation within reach. Membership costs $39.95 per year, but it allows you to access sales that aren't available to non-members. For example, right now club members can fly from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to the Bahamas for just $2 round trip, and from Fort Lauderdale to Cancun for $18 round-trip (plus the usual fees and taxes, of course). Spirit has a members-only sale once every 6 weeks, and as long as you move quickly, you can snag those cheap fares on all the tickets you purchase. But is it worth it?


Get Your Passport Application To Fly South With Virgin America

Geese migrate south in the fall, and now you can, too.  According to Jaunted, Virgin America is scheduled to start flights south of the border in the fall, to Cancun and Cab0 San Lucas.  The new route was announced at an anniversary party commemorating the launch of Virgin America's first international destination, Toronto, last year. If you'd like to be one of the first to fly Virgin's new Mexican routes, you'd better get your passport application in now. Flights are expected to leave from San Francisco and Los Angeles starting this fall. Jaunted explains: Virgin America CEO David Cush says that there's no official date yet set for the first Mexico flights, but we're guessing they'll begin when fall temperatures drop the US back into jacket weather and people start dreaming of hot s


New Passport Cards Confuse Travelers

In 2008, the US Department of State introduced a new passport option: the US passport card.  The wallet-sized card was meant to make international travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean more convenient and less expensive. Passport cards are the same size and shape as a driver's license, and they cost much less-only $45 for a card compared to $100 for a passport book. Passport cards are gradually becoming more and more popular, but as Las Vegas' Fox 5 News reports, there is still a lot of confusion about what type of travel they can actually be used for, and that means people are missing their vacations. You see, passport cards may be much cheaper than a regular passport, but they are much more limited in terms of where and when you can use them. They are ONLY valid for land or s


Got a US Passport Card? Wave it in the Air!

Have you gotten one of the new US passport cards yet? If you have one, and you are driving across an international bridge into Mexico or Canada, border officials want you to take that card out of your wallet and "wave it in the air like you just don't care" before you get to the inspection booth. No, this isn't some elaborate prank designed to make you look foolish for border officials' amusement.  According to the El Paso Times,  this procedure actually helps you get through the border crossing more quickly. Here's how it works: about 70 feet before each inspection booth, the government has set up a sensor. Waving your card in front of the sensor allows the officer in the booth to pull up your data before you get to the booth, cutting the time for a routine crossing by about 5 sec