County urges international travelers to apply for passports
Last updated 4/2/2009 at Noon
SAN DIEGO — The County of San Diego is alerting those who plan to travel internationally or who want to cross the Mexican border after June 1 to have a passport book, passport card or other travel document approved by the Department of Homeland Security.
On June 1, the second phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) will go into effect and travelers will need to have these documents to be able to reenter the US when returning from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda by land or sea ports-of-entry.
“Without the proper travel document, travelers will be denied entry into the US. Proper planning can help ensure that this doesn’t happen to you,” said Thomas Pastuszka, County Clerk of the Board. “It’s better to have peace of mind and the proper documents so you can travel without worry. It can take a few weeks to get your passport; that’s why it’s a good idea to apply in advance of the June 1 deadline.”
The passport card is different from a passport book because it was designed to meet the requirements of the land and sea phase of the WHTI. The passport card is valid in border communities where crossing the border is a daily occurrence. The passport card is not valid for international air travel, which requires a passport book.
The County of San Diego encourages travelers to apply for a passport book or passport card at the County Administration Center at 1600 Pacific Highway, room 402, in San Diego. Normally, it can take up to six weeks to receive a passport; however, for an additional fee applicants can receive it within two to three weeks if they need to travel.
At the County, there are no lines, no hassles and free two-hour parking. No appointment is necessary. First-time applicants will pay $45 for adult cards and $35 for children. Service is offered from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Additional information is available at http://www.sandiegocob.com.