TORONTO, Ont. — The new U.S. Customs plan to require passports for foreign nationals and U.S. citizens entering the U.S. will not apply to truck drivers until 2007, OTA officials have learned.
The passport requirement, announced by U.S. Customs yesterday, is part of a plan to phase in more stringent travel document requirements over the next three years. The new rules would require U.S. citizens and foreign nationals to present a passport or other appropriate security documents when entering the United States.
The new requirements will not apply to truck drivers or others crossing the Canada-U.S. land border until Dec. 31, 2007. News agencies have incorrectly reported the new requirements would take effect Dec. 31, 2005 for Canadians, including truck drivers, entering the U.S.
During a news conference held yesterday in Washington, U.S. officials said the passport should be the document of choice because of security features. They advised individuals traveling within the Western Hemisphere to obtain a passport. For land border crossings, U.S. officials anticipate other documents such as SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST program cards will also be acceptable.
OTA and other industry groups affected by the new proposals have been told they will be given an opportunity to comment on the new rules.
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