Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

New passport deadline gives reprieve until ’09

New passport card is a cheaper, more convenient alternative

Washington – Anglers feeling under the gun to comply with
federal regulations requiring a valid passport for re-entry into
the United States from Canada this summer (by land or sea) have
been granted a slight reprieve. That rule won’t take effect until
at least June 2009.

Not only that, but land and sea travelers entering the United
States from Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda now have the option to use
a passport card, instead of a conventional passport, at a fraction
of the price.

According to U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, of Minnesota, the
implementation deadline for the Western Hemisphere Travel
Initiative’s land and sea travel requirement was extended in late
December as part of the Omnibus Appropriations bill signed by
President Bush.

“More time was needed to get this thing (the WHTI) right,” said
Luke Friedrich, a spokesman for Coleman.

Earlier changes in travel documentation caused a backup in the
production of individual passports, and in many cases, botched
trips. Tourism officials in Canada feared the new requirement, set
to take effect during the height of angler travel to provinces like
Ontario, would have further reduced travel outside the United
States. High gas prices and a reduced value of the U.S. dollar
already have served to discourage foreign ventures, according to
Canadian officials.

With the news of delayed new passport requirements comes word
that there’s a cheaper alternative to the “regular” passport – the
passport card, which will cost individuals $45. Cards for children
will cost $35. The U.S. Department of State moved to find a cheaper
alternative to the passport when pushed by border residents and
Congressmen representing border states.

“The Department of State is issuing this passport card in
response to the needs of border resident communities for a less
expensive and more portable alternative to the traditional passport
book,” according to a department press statement. “The card will
have the same validity period as a passport book – 10 years for an
adults, five for children (age) 15 and younger.”

(Adults who already have a passport book may apply for the card
as a passport renewal and pay only $20.)

The passport card will contain a vicinity-read radio frequency
identification (RFID) chip that will facilitate the frequent travel
of U.S. citizens living in border communities and meet the
Department of Homeland Security’s operational needs at land
borders, the statement said. No personal information will be
written into the RFID chip.

State officials caution travelers that the new passport card
isn’t valid for air travel, because it is not “a globally
interoperable travel document,” and, “the passport book is the
appropriate travel document for most international travel.”

But, if you’re an angler or hunter who plans to travel to Canada
by car or truck, it’s an option that will cost half the price of a
traditional passport.

U.S. citizens may begin applying in advance for the new passport
card beginning Feb. 1. The State Department expects cards will be
available and mailed to applicants (who apply right away) this
spring.

Officials say the cards will expedite document processing at
U.S. land and sea ports of entry. Further, it will fit in a
wallet.

The passport card technology – RFID – is the same that is used
for other DHS “trusted traveler” programs, like NEXUS, SENTRI, and
FAST.

The State Department says such technology has existed in many
forms since the 1970s, in such things as car keys, bank cards, and
security access cards.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border
Protection officers, who staff the ports of entry, anticipate that
the speed of ‘vicinity RFID’ will allow CBP officers, in advance of
the traveler’s arrival at the inspection booth, to quickly access
information on the traveler from secure government data bases, and
allow for automated terrorist watch list checks without impeding
traffic flow.

“In addition, they foresee that multiple cards can be read at a
distance and simultaneously, allowing an entire car of people to be
processed at once,” the statement says.

“This (passport) card is better for people who don’t do a lot of
international air travel Š or just go up (to Canada) to fish once
or twice a year,” Friedrich said. “The idea was to provide a
cheaper, more convenient alternative.”

Brett Sturgeon, public affairs officer for U.S. Customs and
Border Protection in Chicago, said once passport cards begin to be
processed, it should take four to six weeks to receive the card
after application.

“(The passport card) fills a niche for a lot of border anglers,”
he said.

For information on applying for a passport card, visit the web
at http://travel.state.gov/passport/

Applications generally may be made at local U.S. Postal Service
locations and at many county courthouses.

Share on Social

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Hand-Picked For You

Related Articles