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U.S. Tightens Passport Requirements by 2008

April 5, 2005

U.S. Tightens Passport Requirements by 2008
April 5, 2005 – By 2008, Americans will need passports to re-enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, Panama and Bermuda. Canadians will also have to present a passport to enter the U.S. Until now, Canadians have been the only foreigners allowed to enter the country with just a driver’s license and Americans returning home from Canada have only needed to show a driver’s license or other government-issued photo identification card.

The new requirements, which are expected to be in place by Jan. 1, 2008, were called for in intelligence legislation approved last year by Congress, as protecting U.S. borders have become a top concern of U.S. intelligence and security officials since Sept. 11.

According to MSNBC, besides a passport, re-entering Americans could use another approved travel document like frequent travel cards, which are issued to some people who travel often between the U.S. and Mexico. These cards typically are used to avoid long border-crossing lines.

The new system will first address the Caribbean, then Mexico and Canada. It will start at airports and subsequently spread to land crossings, said an official speaking on condition of anonymity.

U.S. inspectors should be less burdened with these changes because they will no longer have to sift through different kinds of travel documents, officials said.

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