More Homeland Security regulations kick in next week and Iowans will need proof of citizenship to get back into the country from Canada, Mexico and any other foreign country. Mitch Beaumont, spokesman for Triple-A-Iowa, says travelers will need to show either a passport, or both a birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID, like a driver’s license.
Beaumont says, "That’s a big change. Up until now, that requirement had just been an oral declaration of citizenship and now they’re requiring formal documents to prove that you are a citizen of this country." The new regulations will take effect next Thursday, January 31st, as the federal government will require proof of citizenship when you arrive at all entry borders, airports and seaports. Beaumont says the easiest option is to get a passport.
He says Triple-A highly recommends carrying a passport, especially if you’ll be traveling internationally, as it will be a big help if you have an illness or some other sort of emergency. He says U.S. citizenship may need to be confirmed with local authorities and a passport is the most recognizable travel document in the world for that purpose. While there was a big delay in getting a passport months ago, Beaumont says the process is back on track now.
While last year’s slow-down overwhelmed passport offices, the time-frame has returned to normal now and it should only take six weeks. An adult passport costs just under $100. Passports are not required for U.S. citizens traveling to or returning from a U.S. territory including Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information, chekc the U.S. Post Office’s website .