There and back again

I think everyone should have a passport, just as everyone has a driver's license. You never know when the chance to get to another country will present itself (read: I still believe that someone might just pay me to travel abroad), and I wouldn't want anyone to miss it (read: I dream of flying to Paris for a weekend getaway on a moment's notice) because they don't have the proper documentation to get there and back again. The real (as opposed to my) passport requirements have come up in a few different conversations lately, so here I am, blogging about it.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative includes a revision of the document requirements for US citizens to re-enter the country after travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean region. US citizens must present a passport to re-enter the US when traveling by air from these regions as of January 23, 2007. (I thought that we always had to have a passport to travel to Canada by air -- I needed mine when I flew to Montreal in 2001.)

Another issue of the initiative is when one will need a passport to re-enter the country when traveling from these regions by land and sea. (Again, I needed my passport when I drove into Lethbridge, Alberta in 2005, so thought this requirement was in place already). Both the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security expect the requirement to be in place by mid-2008, but have not set the date yet. However, beginning on January 31, 2008, US citizens must present their driver's license (or other government-issued photo ID) and birth certificate (or other proof of citizenship). The border states of Arizona, California, Michigan, Texas, Vermont, and Washington are developing enhanced driver's licenses that prove citizenship with RFID (radio frequency identification) technology. Sounds creepy to me, but I don't exactly carry my birth certificate with me either. Actually, I don't know if I even have a copy...

Anyway, it's just easier to have a passport.

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