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Summary:

This is mobile tech news only because it can affect millions of travelers going to Mexico or Canada.  Currently you don’t need a US passport to travel to either of those countries but the rules change next year effective January 7.  US citizens can currently use […]

This is mobile tech news only because it can affect millions of travelers going to Mexico or Canada.  Currently you don’t need a US passport to travel to either of those countries but the rules change next year effective January 7.  US citizens can currently use a photo ID to enter Mexico or Canada but when the new rules go into effect you will need a US passport, and since it can take 6 to 8 weeks to get one for the first time you should apply now for travel early next year.

(NBC San Diego via inFlightHQ)

  1. Just a quick note, as a Canadian watching this very closely indeed, that this affects air travel only. People crossing the borders by land or sea will remain unaffected until January 2008 at the earliest.

    — Steve

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  2. The major cruise lines are going to start requiring passports next year as well. My family is booked on a Caribbean cruise (on the Disney Cruise Line) for next October and during the booking process they emphasized several times that passports are now required. In the past, on cruises to the Caribbean or to Mexico a photo ID and birth certificate was sufficient.

    One other important point to emphasize for those traveling with children is that passports are required for everyone, regardless of age.

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  3. Anyone traveling to Canada now to Canada by air most definitely needs a passport. Canada technically does not require a passport but it does require proof of citizenship. Even a birth certificate with a US government-issued photo may not be sufficient. You can’t go by US regulations – it is the Canadian regulations that will apply.

    The reality is that if you fly without a passport, you may not even be allowed on the plane. I speak from personal experience. We talked our way onto the plane. When we arrived in Canada we were shunted off to special handling. It took a good deal of extra time, and we got a pretty severe dressing down from a Canadian immigration authority. We easily could have been held overnight for further questioning.

    It was somewhat easier returning to the US, although once again we had automatic “special handling.” We were going to have to wait over an hour (US immigration was handled at the Canadian airport) – but other circumstances intervened and we lucked out.

    From now on, it is the passport for me.

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