Passport Requirements Delayed until June 2009

Language was included in the Omnibus Spending Bill passed by the U.S. Congress this week that delays passport identification requirements for U.S. land border crossings until June 1, 2009 at the earliest. This means that U.S. citizens vacationing in Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) will not need to provide passports until June 2009 when crossing back into Arizona at the Lukeville border crossing.

However, enhanced identification requirements requiring government issued identification (like a drivers license) and proof of citizenship (like a birth certificate) to cross back into the U.S. will still go into effect on January 31, 2008. For more information about these requirements, read here. To help educate border crossers, Customs & Border Patrol is now passing out flyers at the Lukeville border when re-entering the U.S. that outline these requirements.

The language passed by Congress also requires DHS to make significant progress in testing and preparation for implementation of the WHTI identification requirements before Congress will approve funds for this implementation. This includes considering alternative identification requirements to passports such as passcards and enhanced drivers licenses. Several states (including Arizona) have already agreed to pilot programs testing enhanced drivers licenses that are expected to contain citizenship information that can be read using radio frequency instead of being swiped (thus speeding up border crossings). Enhanced drivers licenses will cost less than a passport and should be easier to implement using motor vehicle department resources already in place.

So for now, bring your drivers license and birth certificate when coming to Puerto Peñasco (or use your passport if you have one). Note that children 18 and under will only need a birth certificate (no ID required). Also note that those flying from Puerto Peñasco to the U.S. are required to have a passport.

Used with permission from Paul P. Kingsley. Mr. Kingsley is a founding member of The Primestone Group LLC (http://www.primestonegroup.com) and writes a business, real estate and tourism blog about Puerto Peñasco at http://www.puertopenascopost.com

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