Sunday, February 15, 2009

Beat The Madding Crowds: Tighter Passport Rules May Take Effect June 1st

You're right. Several times over the past two years, the U.S. State Department has changed the deadline for its stricter Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) entry rules. And for all we know, the deadline could very well be extended at the last minute right before June 1st rolls around. To be ahead of the game though, if a trip to the Caribbean, Mexico, Bermuda, or Canada is even a slight possibility in your foreseeable future, apply now for your U.S. passport.

Unless you plan to venture only within the borders of North America, Canada, or the Caribbean, you may want to skip the U.S. passport card (an ID resembling a driver's license; $45 per adult and $35 for kids under 16). We recommend instead that you splurge for a full-fledged U.S. passport, currently $100 a pop for adults or $75 for renewals, and $85 for children younger than 16 years old, with a $20 fee for renewals.

Besides, you'll be ready to go when that too-good-to-resist airfare sale to Europe or South America comes along, and you'll probably beat the passport rush in the weeks leading up to June's deadline. We bet it's just a matter of time before passports are required for re-entry into the U.S.A. by land or sea from any country. Still confused? Take a look at these two sites:

Happy travels!

Ann Lombardi & Wendy Swartzell
The Trip Chicks

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