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Thread: May I see your passport, please

  1. #1
    It's a whole new ballgame
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    May I see your passport, please

    This is getting a lot of play in Vermont, as it's expected to have a huge impact on business here. Effective February 1, you will not be able to cross the border from Canada to the US without proof of citizenship. The real wrinkle here is that US citizens will not be immediately required to present such proof to cross into Canada. If you cross without proof, getting home might be a problem.

    The other problem here is, even if you have your passport, the mess at the border is going to be so extreme that the lines are going to be hideous and the border crossing guards are going to be in foul humour. Be prepared.
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  2. #2
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    LeGuy, I don't know what happened between then and now, but this is up to date from the web site of the US Dept of State:

    "JANUARY 31, 2008
    U.S. and Canadian citizens will need to present either a WHTI-compliant document, or a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, plus proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. DHS also proposes to begin alternative procedures for U.S. and Canadian children at that time."

    This has gotten a lot of press in Vermont this last week. A passport isn't necessary, but proof of citizenship is. There are a lot of local business people upset, not the least of whom is the management of Jay Peak, a ski resort that draws a lot of Canadian traffic. Understandably, they're quite freaked out.
    The mounties always get their man.

  3. #3

    Air Travel

    At present passports are required for air travel only. You may cross by land or sea with a Drivers license or birth certificate until June 2009. At least that's the way I heard it.
    Confucius say: Man who take woman into house on side of hill - not on level.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Regular Guy
    At present passports are required for air travel only. You may cross by land or sea with a Drivers license or birth certificate until June 2009. At least that's the way I heard it.
    At present. Tell you what, pal. You try driving across the border into the US on Feb 2 without proof of citizenship and let me know what happens. Drivers license AND birth certificate will do the trick.

    It's been all over both TV news and newspapers in Vermont this week. Believe what you will.
    The mounties always get their man.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeGuy
    I heard it too. I hadn't read your post properly. I was focused on the passport issue which is even more restrictive.
    Well, the title of the thread is a bit misleading. Regardless, the real problem is going to be the HUGE lines at the border. Think Rouse's Point.
    The mounties always get their man.

  6. #6
    I visit Canada often and always use my passport. I don't understand the big deal. In the US you can get a passport at any post office and it is good for ten years. I never get hassled at the border (in either direction). It is easier to cross the border with a passport so I highly recommend that you get one. It raises fewer questions and is easier to carry than a birth certificate.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by rumpleforeskiin
    At present. Tell you what, pal. You try driving across the border into the US on Feb 2 without proof of citizenship and let me know what happens. Drivers license AND birth certificate will do the trick.

    It's been all over both TV news and newspapers in Vermont this week. Believe what you will.
    Yes of course as the birth certificate has no photo. But I have to admit I focused more on what LeGuy had written and as he said, he misinterpreted. What also threw me a bit is that there is an inference that it takes less time for a border guard to verify the information on a passport than to read a birth certificate and drivers license cards. I see it as taking approximately the same amount of time. Am I missing a step here?
    Confucius say: Man who take woman into house on side of hill - not on level.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jackd1959
    I visit Canada often and always use my passport. I don't understand the big deal. In the US you can get a passport at any post office and it is good for ten years. I never get hassled at the border (in either direction). It is easier to cross the border with a passport so I highly recommend that you get one. It raises fewer questions and is easier to carry than a birth certificate.
    Not sure about the U.S. but my birth certificate is the same size and composition as my visa card. So it fits nicely in my wallet. Not so the passport.
    Confucius say: Man who take woman into house on side of hill - not on level.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Regular Guy
    Am I missing a step here?
    What you're missing is the number of people who aren't going to be aware of the new regulation and who will cause a logjam at the border. What's also been ignored is the waiting time to get a passport and the fact that getting a passport is much more complex in Canada than in the US.

    There are tons of Canadians who cross the border infrequently to shop in either Burlington or Plattsburgh. Also many of these people are not frequent travelers and for them to put out $90 for a passport will deter them from crossing and spending, especially if they'll also have to get passports for 2-3 kids crossing with them.
    The mounties always get their man.

  10. #10
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    This is no surprise

    The date of implementation has been delayed many times, but the basic issue is that at some point you will need a passport to enter the US regardless of method of travel.

    This has been well published and although some may disagree with the policy, everyone has had well over 2 years of warning. I renewed my passport last year and when I show it at the border it has made my crossings quicker & easier. If you don't have a passport by the time they actually enact the rule, IMO its your own fault for not planning in advance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Regular Guy
    Am I missing a step here?
    Since there is no US national standard for birth certificates or driver's licenses (at least 50 different versions of each in the US), on the US side they can scan your passport and verify its authenticity and your identity much quicker

    Regards,

    Voyager
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  11. #11
    Maybe Americans can come to Canada with either a drivers license or a birth certificate,
    read post#1
    Confucius say: Man who take woman into house on side of hill - not on level.

  12. #12
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    Green Card Holders and Non Immigrants holding B, H, J and Other types of visas have always had to present their passports from their native countries to enter US from Canada. I don't understand why Congressmen from both parties from states along the Canadian border are getting upset about these new rules. Instead of showing driver's license you now have to show your Passport. How difficult is that.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJDude
    I don't understand why Congressmen from both parties from states along the Canadian border are getting upset about these new rules. Instead of showing driver's license you now have to show your Passport. How difficult is that.
    For Canadian shoppers who don't have passports, it's really quite difficult. Actually, it's quite impossible.

    As T76 has noted above, getting a Canadian passport takes time. What she doesn't note is that it isn't cheap, especially if you're traveling with your family. For a family of four, it's nearly $400. Also getting a Canadian passport requires an affidavit from a guarantor whom you've known for at least two years and is qualified, by profession, to sign such an affidavit.

    Here's a link to the three page passport application. http://www.ppt.gc.ca/form/pdfs/pptc153.pdf

    I had a plan to visit Europe with a young woman from Montreal about 18 months ago. We had to jettison this trip when she couldn't get a passport for lack of a guarantor.
    Last edited by rumpleforeskiin; 01-20-2008 at 09:16 PM.
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  14. #14
    clown of many colors
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    For more info on the US side of things...

    http://www.dhs.gov/xtrvlsec/crossingborders/index.shtm

    Or, for those who like to read press releases:
    http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1200669485238.shtm

    Or, for those who are page-loading-challenged, from the 1st link:

    Air Travel
    All U.S. citizens including children must present a passport or secure travel document when entering the United States by air.

    Land/Sea Travel
    Beginning January 31, 2008, the United States will end the practice of accepting oral declarations of citizenship at the border.

    U.S. citizens ages 19 and older must present documentation that proves both identity and citizenship. Identification documents must include a photo, name and date of birth. View the complete list of acceptable documents at CBP.gov.

    Children ages 18 and under will only be required to present proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.
    Last edited by Chuckles; 01-21-2008 at 07:16 AM.
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  15. #15
    clown of many colors
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    As far as the June 2009 issue goes...

    From the press release (2nd link, previous post):

    ...DHS has maintained a consistent public awareness and information campaign to ensure that the traveling public is aware of the new travel documentation requirements under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). The transition beginning Jan. 31 will allow travelers to become accustomed to the need to present appropriate documents. Travelers who apply for a passport card, passport, Trusted Traveler Program cards, or other secure documentation denoting both citizenship and identity in response to the Jan. 31 change will not need to take additional steps to meet the final WHTI requirements upon full implementation in June 2009.

    ...Although DHS was on schedule to begin implementation of the new requirements as early as summer 2008, the fiscal year 2008 Appropriations Bill passed by Congress last month restricts the department from implementing these new requirements until June 2009.
    Last edited by Chuckles; 01-21-2008 at 07:46 AM.
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