New US Travel Requirements
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Take Note Before Your Next Timeshare Vacation:
Effective January 2007, the US Department of State and Homeland Security requires that citizens of the US, as well as persons arriving from Bermuda, Canada, and Mexico, must present a passport to enter the US when arriving by air. The only exceptions to this rule will be for persons who possess an Air NEXUS card, US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner document, or a US government form I-551, also known as an Alien Registration Card and are prepared to present that documentation instead of a passport.
While the proposal regarding travel between the US and countries in the western hemisphere originally called for a similar regulation regarding land and sea travel to be implemented in 2008, there remains some discussion of how and when this facet of the law will be put in place.
If you do not have a passport and anticipate that you will need to obtain one, do so as early as possible before your scheduled travel date. In 2006, the US Department of State issued 12.1 million passports to American citizens and they anticipate issuing approximately 16 million in 2007.
And if you do not have a current passport, but you are longing for a tropical vacation, here’s some suggestions should you wish to travel sooner than the 6-8 weeks the US Department of State recommends you allow to process your passport paperwork:
- Plan to vacation stateside at a timeshare resort, hotel, or vacation condo in Hawaii, Miami Beach, or South Padre Island, Texas.
- Pay rush fees (typically about $100 above the standard passport application fee) to a passport expediting company, some of which promise to get you a passport within three days of receiving your application, appropriate documentation, and of course, your money.
- Or, plan to holiday in a US territory. Travel to Guam, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands (as well as American Samoa, Swains Island, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) does not require you to have a US passport.