Weedsport, NY — August 16, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast PR Director
Just as the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series gets ready to venture back across the Canadian border for its return trip to Cornwall Motor Speedway in the province of Ontario, the government has re-issued a statement declaring June 1, 2009 as the cut-off date for U.S. travelers seeking re-entrance into the country from Canada, as well as Mexico and the Caribbean, without a valid passport or equivalent document.
The good news is that a cheaper and easier option is being developed that makes a passport card much easier to carry when traveling abroad. The government is on the brink of releasing a new card that will fit in a standard-sized wallet and cost half as much. About 350,000 Americans have already applied for this new card, which is the latest attempt to tighten up border security.
For first-time adult applicants, the new card will cost $45 compared with nearly $100 for the initial passport; average passport rates are $97 for first-time applicants ages 16 years and older, and $82 for those under 16, not including photos. Anyone already holding a valid passport or applying for one at the same time as a card will pay just an additional $20. Those who apply now should expect a four-week wait as the government continues to follow the first come-first served policy.
Expectations are high that many millions of passport cards will soon be in circulation, helping day-trippers and visitors who make frequent trips by land or sea. A regular passport is still required for air travel as the new card may not be used; otherwise, the new card carries the rights and privileges of the U.S. passport book and is adjudicated to the exact same standards.
The State Department issued approximately 18 million regular passports last year and the number continues to rise at a steady rate. Travelers are encouraged strongly to apply early for the cards, mostly to avoid the major rush that occurred a year ago when the government first mandated passports for those arriving from elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere.
Since January, travelers have not been allowed to re-enter the country from Canada or Mexico just by declaring their U.S. citizenship. They must provide proper proof of identification although a grace period has allowed some flexibility about documentation: until next June a government-issued photo ID (eg. driver’s license) and proof of citizenship (eg. birth certificate) are currently acceptable.
Both passports and passport cards issued are good for 10 years for adults and five years for children. Further information can be obtained by logging into www.travel.state.gov or by calling 877/487-2778. Passport application forms are available by downloading from www.travel.state.gov/passport/forms/forms_847.html.
Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket retailer of parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United States, serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets As of April 19, 2008, the Company operated 3,291 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Additional information about the Company, employment opportunities, customer services, and on-line shopping for parts and accessories can be found on the Company’s web site at www.advanceautoparts.com.
The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire and Sunoco Race Fuels. Promotional partners include AMB i.t., Rite Aid Corporation and the University of Northwestern Ohio and the contingency sponsors are Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Crane Cams, Integra Shocks, MSD Ignitions, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks and Wrisco Industries.