A change in American policy has created huge headaches for Canadians who feel the urge to travel south of the border from time to time. Since Jan. 23, 2007, Canadians flying to the U.S. have had to possess a valid passport.
The new rule — part of the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative — led to long lineups at passport offices across the country and a huge backlog as Passport Canada was inundated with a surge in the number of applications.
The initiative requires citizens of the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Bermuda travelling by air to the U.S. from other countries in the western hemisphere to present a valid passport, a Merchant Mariner’s Document or a card issued under the NEXUS Air frequent traveller program.
The second stage of the initiative takes effect Jan. 31, 2008, when those who travel to the U.S. by land or water will be required to show valid identification when they cross the border. Verbal declarations will no longer be accepted.
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