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New ID rules begin June 1 for Mexico, Canada trips

As you probably remember, there was a lot of talk going around about the new travel regulations to Canada and Mexico.  Well the talk turned to reality, and the new regulations have been approved and are being implemented.  I came across this article regarding the ID requirements for travelers to these countries.

As of Monday June 1, new ID system has been  implemented, which is much tighter than it used to be.  Please read the inserts I have selected for a quick overview,  however if you wish to read the whole article please click here.

New ID rules begin June 1 for Mexico, Canada trips
By MANUEL VALDES, Associated Press Writer Manuel Valdes, Associated Press Writer – Sat May 30, 3:23 pm ET

BLAINE, Wash. – New rules requiring passports or new high-tech documents to cross the United States’ northern and southern borders are taking effect Monday, as some rue the tightening of security and others hail it as long overdue.

  • “Our research indicates approximately 80 percent of the individuals coming in now, U.S. and Canadians, are compliant,” and are crossing with proof of citizenship, said Thomas Winkowski, assistant commissioner for field operations at Customs and Border Protection.
  • The higher noncompliance areas, he said, are primarily U.S. citizens in the southern border region.
  • Travelers who do not comply with the new requirements will get a warning and be allowed to enter the U.S. after a background check, said Michele James, director of field operations for the northern border that covers Washington state.
  • “We’re going to be very practical and flexible on June 1 and thereafter,” James said.
  • The new rule, which also affects sea crossings, is the final implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a security measure crafted from recommendations from the 9/11 Commission.
  • Under the new rule, travelers also can use a passport card issued by the U.S. State Department to cross land borders. The card does not work for air travel. At $45 for first-time applicants, it’s a more affordable alternative to the traditional passport, which costs $100. More than 1 million passport cards have been issued since last year.
  • Identification documents available under the “Trusted Traveler” programs are also accepted. Those require fees ranging from $50 to more than $100. These programs, developed by the U.S, Canadian and Mexican governments, allow vetted travelers faster access to the border. In some cases, members in these programs have their own lanes at border crossings.
  • Enhanced driver’s licenses, which use a microchip to store a person’s information, also can be used to cross the northern and southern borders. Washington state, Vermont, New York, and Michigan are the only states that offer them so far. An application process and interview are required for these licenses.
  • There will be some exceptions. Children under 16 traveling with family, people under 19 traveling in youth groups, Native Americans and members of the military will be able to use different forms of identification. Also, travelers in cruises that depart from a U.S. port, sail only within the Western Hemisphere and return the same port do not have to comply.

Tip:  To avoid any disappointments, please  get your ID documents in order before planning your trip to Canada or Mexico.

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