Government may delay new passport rules

New passport requirements are scheduled to take effect next year that would require passports for travel between many destinations that until now have not required them. Many in the travel industry oppose these changes, and now two U.S. senators have proposed yet another delay to the passport requirement implementation.

Travel Weekly reports (registration required) that two U.S. senators are apparently siding with the travel industry over the issue of passport requirements. As you’ve likely heard by now, new passport requirements are scheduled to take effect next year that would require passports for travel between many destinations that until now have not required them. Those destinations include Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.

Different portions of the new passport rules are currently scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2008, respectively. But now senators Ted Stevens (Alaska) and Patrick Leahy (Vermont) have proposed (and the Senate has approved) an amendment that would push much of the new requirements off until June 1, 2009.

If the amendment makes it into the final immigration bill that will be hammered out in a House-Senate committee, it would be considered a huge victory for the travel industry, which sees the new requirements as a potentially crippling blow to tourism. It’s hard to know if the amendment will survive. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to brush up on the existing passport rules before you next travel.

By Josh Roberts

Josh Roberts believes the best trips involve long hikes and muddy boots. His life goals haven't changed much since he was a kid: He still wants to be Indiana Jones when he grows up.

Follow him on Twitter (@joshwhowrites) and Instagram (@joshwhowrites), and visit his website (joshrobertsbooks.com) or Goodreads page to learn more about his forthcoming novel.

Josh joined SmarterTravel in 2001, and is an active member in both the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

In addition to SmarterTravel, he has written for USA Today, The Boston Globe, Yahoo! Travel, The Huffington Post, Airfarewatchdog, TripAdvisor, Jetsetter, ABC News, Oyster, and Business Insider. His travel photography can be seen in Britain and Ireland's Best Wild Places, published by Penguin UK.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A lacrosse ball. It's small, lightweight, and works wonders on loosening up tight muscles."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Being the first to discover an ancient lost city. Failing that, visiting as many of the already-discovered ancient ruins as possible."

Travel Motto: "Not all those who wander are lost." -J.R.R. Tolkien

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle."

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