new passport regulations start for US travelers

passport needed to fly from US to canada & mexico
from kgo-tv: Remember to pack your passport today even if your travels keep you in North America. The temporary reprieve for travelers to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean expires today…

Travelers had been warned since the policy took affect back in January. This summer the government temporarily waved the new passport rule because it was simply taking too long for new applicants to get one. Travelers had to show proof that they had applied for a passport at that time. The state department issued 18 million passports within this last fiscal year – about 12 million in 2006.

“During the summer, when we had a backlog of passport applications, we allowed people to enter and leave with proof that they had applied for their passport. Now it is only taking six weeks to get a passport. Everyone will be required on Monday to have a passport to enter or leave the United States by air,” said David Donahue, State Dept. Consular Affairs OFC.

If you think you can avoid getting a passport by avoiding air travel keep in mind that beginning in January 2008 those traveling by car or sea from those same countries will also have to show a passport to enter the United States – that or a new passport card which is still being developed.

For those who left the country before today’s rule takes affect they will be allowed to come back into the United States using their previous documentation.

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