Texans in border communities used to cross back and forth freely with little to no documentation.
Much has changed since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The 9/11 Commission in 2004 determined the border crossing rules were too lax, and Congress passed the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which required U.S. border crossers to possess passports or passport cards to cross the international ports of entry. Mexican travelers are required to carry a Border Crossing Card.
The complexities of international travel can be mind-twisting to someone who is new to it.
Andrés Rodriguez is a representative of the U.S. State Department’s Office of Passport Services. He says the proper documentation will ensure you’ll be processed more efficiently.
Rodriguez also encourages travelers to stay updated with travel warnings from the State Department.
The Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which lies across the border from Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville, has the same Level 4 travel warning as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
For more information on the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, visit step.state.gov.
And for more details on what’s required to apply for a passport, visit travel.state.gov.