Be Prepares to show your Passport or Passport ID Card starting June 1st!

After a great Valentine’s Day, busy President’s Day weekend, and very active February, there is so much to relate to our readers that I hardly know where to begin – or even if Lannette is going to give me enough space. So be forewarned…if my Editorial suddenly comes to a halt, making no sense at the end, you’ll know she cut me off with a reminder about the WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) which, from what we’re hearing, WILL go into effect on June 1st – a few short months from now. For those of you who don’t know about WHAT, you are required to have a passport or passport ID card when leaving Mexico and re-entering the U.S. by vehicle (you have always needed one for airline flights). During the transition period, our Lukeville border crossing (and others); have been accepting your birth certificate and government issued photo ID in lieu of a passport. Come June 1st, this will no longer be an option. In a conversation with the Lukeville Port today, they stated that, as far as they know, June 1st is it. No more freebies – passports or passport ID cards will be requires for U.S Citizens crossing the border by land or sea. Apparently some newspapers, magazines and rental companies have been sending out the wrong message, stating that all you need is a regular ID card or driver’s license (no birth certificate). This is incorrect – no matter what anyone tells you. The passport ID card is cheaper ($45 for adults, $35 for minors, (under age 16) and $20 for adult renewal) than a regular passport ($100 for adults, $85 for minors under the age of 16 and $75 for adult renewal). You can find in depth and accurate information on how to obtain one, or both, on the following website www.travel.gov/passport/get/fees/fees_837.html. If you apply for both at the same time you can save about $25. Arizona will be following through with their “3 in 1 Enhanced Driver’s license”, which is another option, to the two above, but we have been told that, although their website says they will be available September 2008, they will not be issued until the end of 2009. Again, nothing in writing anywhere, that’s just what we have learned – we will wait for official word on this, but please don’t bank on the Enhanced Driver’s License in lieu of a passport ID card or you’ll be getting used to your new seaside home, perhaps schlepping the Rocky Point Times Newspaper on the street for some side dinero! (A joke, of course). Another thing we have learned, from more than one source, is that our Lukeville Port of Entry is to become a 24-hour port this year. This will, “literally take an act of Congress” to push this through, so take it as a rumor for now, file it away, and hope it comes true. The Lukeville Port has been getting more staff and agents so it would seem that they are gearing up for some big changes this year.

In talking with the Port today, we learned that we need to update our “Travel Information Section” pages where we list “permitted” and “prohibited” items, but you can take back to the U.S. with you. We did not have oranges and/or grapefruit (citrus) listed on the “prohibited” items, but you cannot take them back into the U.S., due to the possibility of the fruit fly hanging around. And, you are only allowed 1 liter of alcohol per person (of legal age).

This we did have right, but we do not state that you cannot import additional bottles.

This is a Pima County regulation and is county, state government mandated, so it will be different at other border crossing. For example, you can bring 2 litters of alcohol per person when you cross at Nogales. So, if you are crossing at another port, please check first – luckily a nice couple came into our office today and asked the question which prompted our phone call to the border. We will have the information updated next month.

In this edition of RPTimes, you will find a list of local establishments where you can pick up our paper, but get them quick as they go like hotcakes! Our advertisers come first, when it comes to distribution, so that’s another good reason to get your ad into the next edition. We have also been expanding our distribution locations throughout Arizona, and are pleased to announce our latest location – The Cattlemans Bar and Grill in Prescott. The Cattlemans owner, and Peñasco lover, Chuck Roberts has been gracious enough to take on the task of carrying the Rocky Point Times at his restaurant for his patrons.  

Rocky Point Times

 

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