Effective Jan. 31, 2008, New Requirements for Entry at Land and Sea Ports from Canada
Effective Jan. 31, 2008, U.S. and Canadian citizens (19 and older) will be required to present proof of citizenship, such as 1) a passport or 2) a birth certificate or naturalization certificate supported by a government issued photo ID, when entering the United States through land and sea ports of entry from Canada. Children ages 18 and under are only required to present proof of citizenship (without ID), such as a birth certificate, naturalization certificate or passport. If a birth certificate is presented, it must be a certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state. A photocopy of a birth certificate will only be accepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) if the original has been sent to the Department of State in support of a passport application. In such case, the traveler must obtain and provide proof of passport application . These changes are significant as compared to the current and long-standing policy that allows CBP officers to accept oral declarations of citizenship from U.S. and Canadian citizens seeking entry into the United States through a land or sea border. Effective Jan. 31, 2008, oral declarations will not be accepted. All customers traveling by land or sea to Canada to take either a valid passport or a government issued birth certificate and photo ID beginning Jan. 31, 2008. All travelers by air should be reminded to bring a passport. The passport requirement for air travelers entering the U.S. from Canada has been on the books since Jan. 8, 2007. Please note that travelers holding NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST cards will continue to be accepted for cross-border travel. Eventually, at an unspecified date in mid-2008, the Department of State will require passports, or soon-to-be announced passport alternatives, from ALL travelers at ALL points rt. The current turnaround time for a passport is four to six weeks. For information on obtaining a U.S. Passport visit http://www.travel.state.gov/ or call 1-877-487-2778. Specific documentation requirements for land, sea and air travel may be found at www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/ready_set_go/ .
Are you prepared for a personal emergency that may require you to leave the ship and fly back to the Untied Sates? This week we where asked this question by a cruiser who's mother had become deathly ill and she and her husband where scheduled to be on a 7 day cruise within a few days. They had purchased travel insurance (smart decision) but they did not have passports. They're concern: If something should happen to her mother could they depart the ship and fly back into the United States from another country? The answer: You must have a passport to fly in or out of the United States from another country! So if you are planning a cruise and think you don't need that passport, think again. If an emergency happens in which you may find yourself flying into the United States from another country you will likely be denied entry and even travel insurance won't help. I am not exactly sure what the process is for getting approval but from what I have heard it will likely include going before a judge. This process could take several days and perhaps even long enough that you would have been better to finish your cruise. Soon you will need a passport for taking cruises in and out of the Unites States ports as well so your best bet, get your passport now! This way you can enjoy your cruise knowing that you will always be welcomed home.