by Anne Larison
If you are planning a trip outside the US anytime after December 31, 2006, new identification requirements will be in effect. Starting December 31, a passport will be required for travel by sea or air to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Central and South America. By December 31, 2007, a passport will be needed for all international travel, including land crossings such as the Tijuana border.
According to an article from the San Jose Mercury News and reprinted in The Denver Post, “U.S. State Department officials say consumers appear savvy about the new requirements, which are part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative to strengthen border security. So far this year, passport applications have increased 30 percent over the first six months of 2005, and it’s projected that some 13 million Americans will obtain passports this year, said Angela Aggeler, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Consular Affairs.”
If you don’t already have a passport, you may want to apply for one soon. If you already have a passport but it is set to expire, it is important to know that some countries won’t accept passports that are due to expire within six months of your arrival.
For more information on how to apply for a passport:
–Download application form DS-11 from the State Department’s website:
Forms are also available at local post offices.
We applied for and obtained passports for our 12 year-old twins earlier this year. The process took about five to six weeks. At our local post office we were able to have the passport photo taken for a fee. In many areas you can also obtain a passport photo at a store such as Walgreens.
The passports for children ages 15 and under expire every five years. For age 16 and older your passport will be valid for 10 years.
Get your passport soon and start filling in the pages with stamps from many exciting adventures all over the globe! Happy Travels!