Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Border Travel is Getting Interesting...

Earlier this year the US State Department had some issues with issuing passports. Because of a rule change it became required that US citizens needed a passport when departing or arriving to the US from Mexico, Canada, and non-US Caribbean spots. It created an huge influx of those needed passports and in turn a huge backlog.

There are changes happening in 2009 for sea and land crossings will require certain documentation (suggestions are a passport). Here are the highlights and the latest news:

1. Before you make any decision about getting a passport (or other WHTI-compliant document), know this: Starting January 31, all travelers, including American citizens, who enter the country by land or sea will need to show some sort of documentation. (Air travelers already have to show a valid passport.) Oral declarations of citizenship, which were previously accepted on a discretionary basis, will no longer be allowed.

2. The government continues to move forward on its plans to implement its proposed passport card, or PASS card, which is designed to be a less expensive alternative to a traditional passport. This is being developed for those that travel across the border often.

3. Several states are working on Enhanced Driver’s License and Identification (EDL/ID) programs. Like the PASS card, these wallet-sized cards will include an embedded chip that can be read wirelessly; likewise, they’ll be valid for land and sea crossings, but not air travel.

So, my advice is to get a passport, you never know when an abroad travel opportunity might come up!

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