Friday, October 06, 2006

Passports, the Question

Ok, this is complicated, and I'm sorry. If you are confused, feel free to write to Congress as it is all their fault. :)

Here's the deal.

The current rules are that to travel to the Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico you need only a birth ceritificate instead of a passport. However, shortly after September 11th, Congress passed the first law that stated by January 1, 2006 passports would be required for ALL international travel. Late in 2005, the target date was moved a full year out to January 1, 2007. For the past year, I've been telling all clients "Get your passports now, folks."

Then last Friday (late in the day before the break for elections), Congress passed a new bill that changes everything again. (Currently this bill is waiting for President Bush to sign, so it is not 100% official -- but I have serious doubts he'll not sign it.) So the new rules separate air travel from land and sea travel. The basics are you need a passport for all AIR entries into the US from any international location, beginning January 8, 2007. (This means, if you are FLYING home from Vancouver, get your passport NOW.) Currently, sea entries into the US will not need a passport until mid-year 2009 or when State Department gets a new "PassCard" system up and running, whichever comes first. Land entries are not requiring passports until January 1, 2008. This is where it is confusing. IF you are taking the train or bus down to Seattle to fly home (remember those cheaper flights?), you will not (provided Bush signs the bill) need a passport. If you are flying home from Vancouver, you will. If you are Canadian, NONE of this applies to you :)

Short version? Get a passport if you don't have one. They are easy to get, good to have, and you can stop following the moveable dates of the passport rules.

So, how? Go to www.travel.state.gov; print out an application; follow the instructions. Pretty simple right. You'll need 2 passport size photos and $97 for the passport itself. Adult passports are good for 10 years, children's are good for 5.

Anyone else confused?

7 Comments:

Blogger LadyLungDoc said...

Hi there - haven't gotten my invoice yet.

8:24 PM  
Blogger littlehedgehog said...

Ooh that is confusing. Well we're going to get our passports anyway. We plan on going to Europe in the general future and I can't believe I let mine expire but I never got a new one after I got married (in 1999 LOL) anyway.

Thanks for the update though!

1:23 AM  
Blogger Ana said...

Great Got My Passport and I'm ready to go!

I guess I have to wait patiently and knit more socks.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Ana said...

Great Got My Passport and I'm ready to go!

I guess I have to wait patiently and knit more socks.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Ana said...

Great Got My Passport and I'm ready to go!

I guess I have to wait patiently and knit more socks.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

So if we are taking the train from Vancouver to Seattle we are safe not having a passport? Is this confirmed now?

12:24 PM  
Blogger Heatherly said...

my passport was from age 17, maiden name,...EXPIRED.. do ya think i should get a new good one? :-) lol. it is my project next week! i promise

4:56 PM  

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