New Rules for Passports begin today

by Tim Haas
NBC News

Remember those rules requiring a passport to fly back from Canada and Mexico that were delayed when passport offices were flooded with applications earlier this year?

Well, those rules are back today and this time, apparently, there's no more delays.

The first time around the new travel rules created such a backup at passport offices that travelers, such as Lorraine Bills, complained.

Lorraine says, "seemed weird to have to pay for expedited service, and then for it to take so long."

And the Bush Administration pushed back the deadline more than eight months.

Maura Harty of the U.S. State Department said, "one of the things that we failed to predict was how quickly American citizens would choose to apply for a passport in recognition of the new law."

But now, with the summer travel season over and passport offices caught up on their paperwork officials say this time it's for real.

As of today, airline passengers traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda will need to have a valid passport.

Chris Brown, who's traveling to Mexico, says, "they told us that we would get our tourist cards on the airline, but we would need to show a regular ID, and a passport."

It's all part of a post-9/11 crackdown on entry into the country, and eventually the rules are going to get even tougher.

As of next January 31st, Americans returning by land or sea will also have to have a passport or several other forms of official ID before re-entering the country.
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