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Get Your Passport!

The days of traveling out of the country with your birth certificate or drivers license are coming to an end. New Travel Document requirements will go into effect December 31, 2006. This “Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative” will affect air or sea travel to and from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda. As of that date United States Citizens will be required to present a current passport. The second part of the initiative rolls out December 31, 2007 and extends the requirements to land border crossings.

These new regulations will not affect travel between the United States and its territories. For example, U.S. citizens traveling to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands will not need passports. Now, these dates may seem far in the future but savvy travelers are already getting prepared. Their theory is “why wait!” A great many cruise itineraries include stops at multiple islands- some U.S. territories but not all. With that in mind some of the cruise lines are already asking for passports as the preferred form of ID.

According to the U.S. government the peak processing time for passports is between January and July. For faster service they recommend applying between August and December.Applying is a snap! You can download the application at home, in some cases have your picture taken at your local Post Office and mail it off. Passports are valid for 10 years- that’s a lot of happy traveling.
Be Safe- Get Your Passport Now!

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