Caribbean Sailing Vacations by Ed Hamilton

NEW PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS
for entry or re-entry into the US


Since January 23, 2007, all citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Carbbean have been required to present a valid passport when entering the United States at any airport. This includes children of any age. By January 2008, this will be in effect for citizens arriving by land and sea.

On June 8, due to the record-breaking demand and longer than expected processing times for passport applications, the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security announced that US citizens traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda who have applied for but not yet received passports can enter and depart from the United States by air with a government issued photo identification and Department of State official proof of application for a passport through September 30, 2007.

Adults who have applied should present a government issued photo ID (such as a driver's license) and an official proof of application for passport from the U.S. Department of State. Children under the age of 16 traveling with their parents or legal guardian will be permitted to travel with the child's proof of application status. A print-out of the online status check may be accessed at http://travel.state.gov/passport.

You will need to apply in person for your passport if you have never applied before. This also is true for applicants who do not still have their expired passport, their passport was issued over 15 years prior, the last passport issued was done so when the applicant was under age 16, or if the passport was lost or stolen. There are over 6,000 passport acceptance agencies throughout the U.S., commonly in Federal, State and probate courts and some post offices or public libraries.

The time taken to process a passport application is generally ten to twelve weeks. If you are travelling within two weeks, there are 13 regional passport agencies that can arrange this by appointment. Passport applications that are expidited are subject to a $60 fee in addition to application and overnight delivery costs. Expedited passport processing takes between two and three weeks. For more information on how or where to obtain a passport visit www.travel.state.gov or call the National Passport Information Center toll free at 1-877-4USA-PPT.