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New passport rules Monday

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  • New passport rules Monday

    New ID rules begin June 1 for Mexico, Canada trips

    BLAINE, Wash. New rules requiring passports or new high-tech documents to cross the United States' northern and southern borders are taking effect Monday, as some rue the tightening of security and others hail it as long overdue.

    The rules are being implemented nearly eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks and long after the 9/11 Commission recommended the changes. They were delayed by complaints from state officials who worried the restrictions would hinder the flow of people and commerce and affect border towns dependent on international crossings.

    In 2001 a driver's license and an oral declaration of citizenship were enough to cross the Canadian and Mexican borders; Monday's changes are the last step in a gradual ratcheting up of the rules. Now thousands of Americans are preparing by applying for passports or obtaining special driver's licenses that can also be used to cross the border.

    "It's sad," said Steve Saltzman, a 60-year-old dual Canadian-American citizen as he entered the U.S. at the Peace Arch crossing in Blaine, Wash., on Thursday. "This was the longest undefended border in the world. Now all of the sudden it is defended, and not nearly as friendly."

    Near the border crossing, local Blaine resident Mike Williams disagreed.

    "This concept was past due," said Williams. "Because it's not a safe world and it's becoming more dangerous all the time."

    In one Texas border community, long lines were reported at a local courthouse as people rushed to apply for the required documents. But it remains to be seen if the new requirement will cause traffic backups at points of entry and headaches for people unaware of the looming change.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say they're confident the transition will be smooth.

    "Our research indicates approximately 80 percent of the individuals coming in now, U.S. and Canadians, are compliant," and are crossing with proof of citizenship, said Thomas Winkowski, assistant commissioner for field operations at Customs and Border Protection.

    The higher noncompliance areas, he said, are primarily U.S. citizens in the southern border region.

    Travelers who do not comply with the new requirements will get a warning and be allowed to enter the U.S. after a background check, said Michele James, director of field operations for the northern border that covers Washington state.

    "We're going to be very practical and flexible on June 1 and thereafter," James said.

    The new rule, which also affects sea crossings, is the final implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a security measure crafted from recommendations from the 9/11 Commission.

    It's part of a gradual boost in security along the northern border that has featured millions of dollars in upgrades and the hiring of hundreds of more customs officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents.

    Before the new rule, travelers only needed to show identification, such as a driver's license, and orally declare their citizenship. In 2008, the federal government changed that rule to require proof of citizenship, such as a birth's certificate or a passport.

    Winkowski said people expected delays at points of entry in 2008 after proof of citizenship became a requirement, but no serious backlogs appeared.

    He said U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue its outreach campaign through the summer to inform Americans of the new passport requirement.

    Under the new rule, travelers also can use a passport card issued by the U.S. State Department to cross land borders. The card does not work for air travel. At $45 for first-time applicants, it's a more affordable alternative to the traditional passport, which costs $100. More than 1 million passport cards have been issued since last year.

    Identification documents available under the "Trusted Traveler" programs are also accepted. Those require fees ranging from $50 to more than $100. These programs, developed by the U.S, Canadian and Mexican governments, allow vetted travelers faster access to the border. In some cases, members in these programs have their own lanes at border crossings.

    Enhanced driver's licenses, which use a microchip to store a person's information, also can be used to cross the northern and southern borders. Washington state, Vermont, New York, and Michigan are the only states that offer them so far. An application process and interview are required for these licenses.

    There will be some exceptions. Children under 16 traveling with family, people under 19 traveling in youth groups, Native Americans and members of the military will be able to use different forms of identification. Also, travelers in cruises that depart from a U.S. port, sail only within the Western Hemisphere and return the same port do not have to comply.

    The U.S. State Department said there has been no spike in passport applications because of the June 1 deadline. The increase came in 2007 when it became required to show a passport for air travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. That year a backlog of applications accumulated, affecting travelers nationwide.

    The number of U.S. passport card applications, however, has increased as June 1 approaches, said Brenda Sprague, head of the passport division of the department's Bureau of Consular Affairs.

    For states along the vast northern border, which for decades enjoyed fewer restrictions than the southern border, the changes sparked a wave of opposition when they were first proposed.

    Concerns appear to have died down, however. In Washington state, for instance, the governor's office said it was pleased with the federal government's progress.

    In the border town of Weslaco, Texas, Jesus Gonzalez said he crosses into Mexico about three times a month for medical needs, but he had not yet applied for any of the documents.

    Asked if the new requirement would affect him, Gonzalez pointed back across the bridge toward Nuevo Progreso, Mexico: "It's going to affect them more," he said. "Businesses are going to hurt a tad bit and I feel sorry for them."
    Positive vibes, positive taught

  • #2
    Re: New passport rules Monday

    Passports, please: New border rules takes effect

    Border guards began requesting passports as Canadians crossed into the United States on Monday as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative officially took effect just after midnight.

    Border officials told CBC News that they will be "pragmatic and flexible" as the new rules are rolled in. No Canadian citizen will be denied entry.

    But people without proper documentation should be prepared to face delays, officials said.

    Anyone who doesn't have a passport will still being allowed to cross the border for the next few weeks, as long as they have such things as a birth certificate and picture identification.

    But those without a passport will be given a paper that says: "Non-compliant. You are not in compliance with the secure document requirements that went into effect June 1, 2009, for entry into the United States."

    "U.S. and Canadian citizens must present a secure travel document for entry into the United States at land and sea ports of entry."

    U.S. border officials at Calais, Maine, reported no problems early Monday morning as people crossed into the state from St. Stephen, N.B.

    The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, an anti-terrorism policy passed by Congress in 2004, requires travellers 16 and older who are entering the United States from Canada by land or sea to carry one of the following:

    Passport.
    NEXUS card.
    Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card.
    Enhanced driver's licence (EDL) or an enhanced identification card (EIC) from a province where a U.S.-approved EDL/EIC program has been implemented.
    Secure Certificate of Indian Status (when this certificate is available and approved by the United States).
    Canadian citizens 18 years of age or under who are travelling with a school or other organized group, under adult supervision with parental/guardian consent, may present proof of Canadian citizenship alone.

    It's estimated 41 per cent of Canadians have a passport, but only about 20 per cent of Americans have one.

    Tourism and business groups have been bracing for this day, worried many people will avoid the red tape and decide not to travel across the Canada-U.S. border.

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/...travel375.html
    "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." ~Malcolm X

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: New passport rules Monday

      ....

      Armenians without Armenian citizenship may visit country without visas

      Armenia has passed amendments to the law on foreigners, simplifying the visa regime for Armenian communities, News Armenia reports.


      Armenian Police Chief Alik Sargsyan said that foreigners visiting Armenia may stay without visas for 90 day, and with visas for 180 days with the opportunity of extending the visas by 60 days. Armenians from certain states have no opportunity to receive a visa at the border.


      The amendments are aimed at helping foreigners to visit Armenia using the visa-free regime, allowing Armenians from a set of states to receive visas for 180 days.
      Մեկ Ազգ, Մեկ Մշակույթ
      ---
      "Western Assimilation is the greatest threat to the Armenian nation since the Armenian Genocide."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: New passport rules Monday

        Originally posted by Mos View Post
        Armenians without Armenian citizenship may visit country without visas

        Armenia has passed amendments to the law on foreigners, simplifying the visa regime for Armenian communities, News Armenia reports.


        Armenian Police Chief Alik Sargsyan said that foreigners visiting Armenia may stay without visas for 90 day, and with visas for 180 days with the opportunity of extending the visas by 60 days. Armenians from certain states have no opportunity to receive a visa at the border.


        The amendments are aimed at helping foreigners to visit Armenia using the visa-free regime, allowing Armenians from a set of states to receive visas for 180 days.
        great! but too late for me, i'm going to yerevan on friday. stay tuned for trip reports
        Last edited by arakeretzig; 05-25-2011, 02:20 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: New passport rules Monday

          Originally posted by arakeretzig View Post
          great! but too late for me, i'm going to yerevan on friday. stay tuned for trip reports
          I don't know what it means. I have only seen it written about in one source. It could be also easily exploited (every tourist saying they have some Armenian background).
          Մեկ Ազգ, Մեկ Մշակույթ
          ---
          "Western Assimilation is the greatest threat to the Armenian nation since the Armenian Genocide."

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: New passport rules Monday

            Originally posted by Mos View Post
            I don't know what it means. I have only seen it written about in one source. It could be also easily exploited (every tourist saying they have some Armenian background).
            Either your mother or father have armenian names or family names should suffice. It's not like they're going to DNA test you

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: New passport rules Monday

              Originally posted by arakeretzig View Post
              great! but too late for me, i'm going to yerevan on friday. stay tuned for trip reports
              Barov gnas, bari veradarts!
              BUY "WHO IS MONTE." Proceeds from this film will benefit the families of the fallen soldiers of the Karabagh war. Available at: www.armenianmusic.com

              <<Երբ իրիկունը գլուխներդ դնեք բարծին որ քնանաք, մի քիչ մտածեք ազգի մասին>>
              --ՔԱՋՆ ԱՆԴՐԱՆԻԿ

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: New passport rules Monday

                Originally posted by sadar456
                No they will not, there are many ways to know about your history.
                They could try the soil test?

                I'll give 5 gold stars to whoever can explain what mythical incident from Armenian history I am referring to.
                Plenipotentiary meow!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: New passport rules Monday

                  Here's a few pictures from my trip this summer, I can't write a long report, no time :/


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                  • #10
                    Re: New passport rules Monday

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                    some more pics. enjoy.

                    Comment

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