Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Spring Breakers: Get Your Passports Now

If you're planning on spending spring break in Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean you'll need apply now for a passport, thanks to Congress and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The new passport requirement, known as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI, thanks DHS), went into effect on January 23 and applies to all air travel into the United States. Yep, you can fly out of the country without a passport, but you won't be able to get back in (Roach Motel in reverse). You can drive back in, though driving from a Caribbean island might be a little more than your Saturn can handle.

The new rules affect all citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda who previously could use birth certificates, drivers' licenses and other documents to enter the U.S.

As usual, the government is cashing in. The State Department will do expedited passport processing for an additional fee on top of the higher fees they implemented last year.

The NEXUS program, whatever that is, also fulfills the document requirements of WHTI. The CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws. Yep, all those Spring Break college students are sure terrorism threats. What a bunch of garbage. I'm driving to Toronto! See next post.

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