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Comment period for mandatory passports almost over

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Time is running out to comment on a controversial U.S. plan that would require visitors from Ca...


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Time is running out to comment on a controversial U.S. plan that would require visitors from Canada to present a passport upon entry into the U.S.

The public comment period for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative ends Oct. 31. The initiative will require all visitors to the U.S. (including Canadians) to carry a passport or other accepted document to enter the U.S. It’s expected FAST cards would be an acceptable alternative.

“However, the Department of Homeland Security and State are reviewing new technological developments regarding options for secure travel documents,” reads a recent press release. “Acceptable documents must establish the citizenship and identity of the bearer, and include significant security features. Ultimately, all documents used for travel to the U.S. are expected to include biometrics that can be used to authenticate the document and verify identity.”

The planned rollout dates are Dec. 31, 2006 for air and sea travellers and Dec. 31, 2007 for land border crossings. To comment on the proposed rule, visit www.regulations.gov and type DOS-2005-0004-0001 into the “keyword” box. For more information, visit www.travel.state.gov.


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