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2008 Passport Restrictions

Article by John Mehrmann

Effective January 31, 2008, adult United States and Canadian citizens reentering the United States and Canada by land, ferry, or by small boat must carry a passport or a government issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, plus proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. Children 18 and younger require proof of citizenship only.

Cruise passengers are officially exempt, but cruise lines recommend passports and already require a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, and proof of citizenship.

All US travelers returning from the Caribbean, Mexico, Bermuda, and Canada by air have had to carry passports since January 23, 2007. The change of restrictions in January 2007 created a surge in demand for passports, resulting in extended delays of several months to process the increased number and backlog of requests. Turnaround time for a standard passport is now four to six weeks. Expect to wait three weeks for an expedited passport.

The new guidelines effective January 31, 2008 extend the air travel restrictions to land, ferry, and small boat. Plan ahead for international travel, regardless of the mode of transportation, and allow enough time to procure or renew your passport if necessary.


Since August 2007, the United States has been issuing Electronic Passports only.

The U.S. Electronic Passport (e-passport) is similar to the former passport with the addition of a small integrated circuit computer chip embedded in the back cover. The chip securely stores the same data visually displayed on the photo page of the passport, and includes a digital photograph of the bearer. The inclusion of the digital photograph enables biometric comparison, through the use of facial recognition technology, at international borders. The U.S. e-passport also has a new look, incorporating the latest anti-fraud and security features.

Passports without chips will still be valid for the extent of the original validity period, and must be replaced with the new e-passport at the time of renewal

If you have an existing US Passport that is less than 15 years old, is not damaged, you were at least 16 years old when it was issued, and you name has not changed or you can provide documents to prove that it was legally changed, then you may be eligible to renew your passport by mail. Passports can be renewed through the mail by submitted the appropriate DS-82 form, two identical passport photographs, and a check or money order for the processing fee. The address, current fee, and DS-82 form are available at the U.S. Department of State web site,

The NEXUS Program

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), are cooperating in a joint venture to simplify passage for pre-approved low risk travelers.

NEXUS members now have crossing privileges at any air, land, and marine ports of entry. Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, the NEXUS card has been approved as an alternative to the passport for air travel into the United States for US and Canadian citizens. The NEXUS program allows pre-screened, low risk travelers to be processed with little or no delay by the United States and Canadian officials at designated highway lanes at high volume border crossing locations, at a NEXUS kiosk at the Canadian pre-clearance airports, and at select marine locations in the Great Lakes and Seattle, Washington.

Individuals may qualify to participate in NEXUS if they are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or Canada, residing in either country, or if they are a citizen of a country other than Canada or the United States who plans to temporarily reside lawfully in Canada or in the United States for the term of their NEXUS membership and who pass criminal history and law enforcement checks. Individuals may be denied NEXUS if inadmissible to the United States or Canada under applicable immigration law, provide false or incomplete information on the application, have been convicted of a criminal offense in any country for which they have not received a pardon, have previously violated customs or immigration law, or fail to meet stated requirements of the NEXUS program.

To apply for NEXUS, complete a single application and pay one fee. The form can be submitted on-line via the Global On-Line Enrollment (GOES), mailed, or faxed. Qualified applicants are required to come to a NEXUS Enrollment Center only once, for an interview and issuance of a photo-identification card. NEXUS allows United States and Canadian border agencies to concentrate efforts on potentially higher risk travelers and goods, to ensure security and integrity of the borders. NEXUS allows citizens of the United States and Canada to reduce delays at border crossings, and is an excellent form of international travel identification to accompany your passport.

At the time that this article was written, the one time application fee for a five (5) year NEXUS card is US, and the fee for a US passport renewal is US.


Words of Wisdom

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”- Clifton Fadiman

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”- Miriam Beard

“A person travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” – George Moore


John Mehrmann is a freelance author and President of Executive Blueprints Inc., an organization devoted to improving business practices and developing human capital.

About the Author

John Mehrmann is an author, speaker and industry expert with Executive Blueprints Inc. Does the world need another Martyr? The Case of Birtukan Mideksa Written by Chris Flaherty On December 28 2008, Birtukan Mideksa was arrested again and imprisoned to serve a life sentence after the pardon granted to her in 2007 was revoked. Medeksa was among more than 100 people jailed for offences after allegations of fraud took hold of the Ethiopian election in 2005. The Ethiopian government claimed that her pardon was conditional on “an apology for her crimes.” Today, the 36yr old court judge and mother appears to be gradually elevating to martyrdom status alone in her prison cell — much the same way Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma has. In May of 2005 the Ethiopian government shot and killed 193 unarmed protesters after a much contested national election. In addition, thousands around the country were rounded up and sent to prison. The press was virtually shut down and many journalists were forced to go into hiding or risk the possibility of suffering horrific consequences at the hands of government security forces. The effect on the population has been devastating. Since the government crackdown Ethiopians have been living in fear of a regime that has demonstrated it will stop at nothing to maintain power, including murdering its own citizens. The next Ethiopian national election is rapidly approaching and will be held next May. As a filmmaker and a strong supporter of human rights and democracy, I tried my best to reveal the
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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