Effective 23 January 2007, all citizens of the United States and nonimmigrant aliens from Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda who fly into and depart out of United States airports will be required to present a legal passport. In the past, a valid birth certificate was acceptable. That is no longer the case. Future rulemaking intends to address requirements for citizens and nonimmigrant aliens departing from and arriving in the US via land and sea.
The changes will not affect the US territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
United States citizens can visit the State Department's web site http://travel.state.gov, or call the U.S. National Passport Information Center: (877) 4USA-PPT. Citizens should allow 6 weeks for passport application processing. If you need to travel urgently and require a passport sooner, please visit http://travel.state.gov for additional information on expedited processing. Peak domestic passport processing is between January and July. For faster service, the State Department recommends applying between August and December. U.S. citizens living outside the U.S. should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Foreign nationals should contact their respective governments to obtain passports.
Further information on the final rule can be found at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/06-9402.htm.
More information can be found on the State Department's website for travel: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2225.html.
back to Public Policy Reports