The rules are changing for travelers headed outside of the United States.
Up to now, US citizens didn?t need a passport to fly to some nearby countries but you will starting January 8. As part of the “Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004,” travelers flying to and from the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and Panama must have a passport to enter or re-enter the United States.
Katie Wilson, an agent with AAA Travel, says she had already been recommending that her customers get a passport and take it along to those islands, so they could easily get back into the US in emergencies.
Wilson says at first, the change in the law will only affect airline travelers. But it will extend to other modes of transportation. January of 2008 is the date set to add the passport requirement for people who are driving across the US border with Canada or Mexico.
Wilson says since it can take up to two months to get a passport application processed, November is the optimum time to do the paper work filled out and get the application submitted.
Many travel agents can help you get the application forms to apply for a passport and find a place to get passport photos taken. You can also apply at the Post Office in many cities.