'Your Papers, Please' Coming to Canada and Mexico
In a move that likely will have a large, negative effect on tourism, the Bush Administration announced new rules today that will require Americans to have a passport if they want to re-enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, or the Carribean. The new program is the "Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative."
[I]t will require U.S. citizens to show a passport to re-enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and Panama. Canadian citizens will also have to show their passport to enter the U.S.
According to the State Department, a passport or other accepted travel document will be required starting December 31, 2005 for air and sea travel to or from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central and South America. The documents will be required for all air and sea travel to or from Mexico and Canada starting December 31, 2006. Starting December 31, 2007, the documents will be required for all air, sea, and land border crossings.
Passports now cost $97 for people over 16 and take six to eight weeks to arrive. The State Deparment is contemplating additional "papers" that will be acceptable in the future:
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