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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sentri Pass Information by Peter Fowler (Fast Pass) in Baja

Good Information for Gringos Living in Baja ~ Articles by Peter Fowler:Rosarito Beach, Baja, MexicoBorder Crossing By Peter Fowler
The busiest border crossing in the world takes place at the San Ysidro crossing – about 14 million per year! If you are contemplating visiting Rosarito Beach from the USA I recommend that you get on I-5 South which will take you directly to the border crossing at San Ysidro. Be advised that ammunition and guns are not allowed. If you are traveling with any new products such that could be purchased in Mexico you may be charged a tax. The right lane at the San Ysidro border will lead you to where you can make your declaration(s). If you have nothing to declare and choose to travel from the border to Rosarito Beach via the scenic road, after crossing stay in the right hand lane of the left three lanes and take the second off-ramp and continue to stay right. This will take you directly to the coast. Shortly after reaching the coast and turning south you will come to the one and only toll station on the way to Rosarito Beach. If you miss the second off-ramp, not to worry - continue in the right lane and you will come out on Paseo de los Heroes. Again, keep to the right. Soon thereafter you will see an “Ensenada Rosarito Scenic Road” sign. Turn right there and follow the signs. If you continue past the “Ensenada Rosarito Scenic Road” sign you will shortly thereafter come to an “Ensenada Rosarito” sign. A right turn there will put you on the toll-free, or “free road.” Follow the signs. To cross the border from Rosarito Beach you can choose the scenic road with a toll or the free road. When proceeding via the scenic road follow the San Diego signs and as you get close to the border keep right and watch for the first and only traffic light. There you will make a left hand turn, keeping to the right in the turn in order to come out of the turn in the right hand lane. Soon you will come to two lanes to the right with a concrete divider. The right hand lane is “exclusivo,” - for three or more passengers. Others take the left hand lane. Thereafter simply continue to the border. If you choose the free road, as you get close to Tijuana follow the San Diego sign, not the Centro. You will come to a glorietta with a statue of an Indian. Make a counter-clockwise turn and head west on Paseo de los Heroes. Soon you will see the San Diego sign. Note: You cannot get into the “exclusivo” lane this way. If you have three or more passengers and want the fast lane, continue straight ahead past the statue of the Indian and take the third left. Follow the signs which will lead you to the “exclusivo” lane and on to the border. I recommend you drive the scenic road and the free road at least once just to see the different scenery. Many residents and frequent visitors find it convenient and feasible to obtain a SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection) pass. This is the fastest way to get across the border (special lane) and will accommodate just one person in the car. If you are carrying passengers, all those in the car must have a SENTRI pass. A pass is two-fold: One is for the car and the other for the occupants. An electronic device is placed on the car. These special lanes are at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa crossings. To obtain a SENTRI Pass an applicant is subject to a background check. Requirements include proof of citizenship, driver’s license, proof of residence, and proof of financial solvency or employment. Questions include indicating any arrests or convictions. Failure to answer such questions will result in application denial. The fee for this program is $129.00 per applicant for two years with $49.00 payable with the application and $80.00 due at time of enrollment. For more info go to www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/frequent_traveler/sentri.xml. Applications are available at the Otai Mesa SENTRI Office, 2500 Paso Internacional, Otay Mesa, California 92143-3231, or via online (see web site above). The SENTRI Office is at the border on the USA side, just East of the crossing. If in doubt about finding the office, ask the border guard. And when you are at the SENTRI Office, ask for directions about how to get into the special lane when crossing. Walk-ins with completed applications are not accepted. Call 619-661-3170 Mondays through Fridays from 9AM ‘til 3PM for an appointment. Completed applications must be submitted in person.

Published Thursday, June 7, 2007 4:31 PM by Laura Tierney

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