With New Passport Requirements, Walden Urges Travelers To Plan Ahead
A significant increase in passport requests following new regulations from the State Department has led to a significant backlog in processing that is causing heartburn for some travelers hoping to receive a passport before their scheduled departure date.
The new regulations, which went into effect in January 2007, require all travelers flying between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda to present a valid passport. The goal is to create a standard system of identification to better secure our borders and protect the American homeland.
But the ensuing flood of passport applications for summer travel caused major delays in all passport applications that have threatened some Americans' travel plans. The State Department today announced that those who have already applied for passports - but have not necessarily received them due to the longer wait times - will be allowed to travel between the United States and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda with government-issued photo identification and an official proof of application from the State Department. The temporary reprieve will last through September 30, 2007.
"While I strongly support the efforts to strengthen our nation's security, the backlog in passport processing that has resulted needs to be resolved," said Congressman Walden, who yesterday signed onto a bipartisan letter from House members urging the State Department to address the long delays passport applicants are currently experiencing. "I am encouraged that the State Department has acknowledged the difficulties facing American travelers. Congress stands ready to assist the administration in finding a way to make this process go more smoothly."
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