On Tuesday, April 5, 2005, the U.S. State Department announced details of the proposed "Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative." If the proposed rules are enacted, U.S. and Canadian citizens will be required to carry a passport for travel to or from certain countries/areas that were previously exempt. The proposed implementation is as follows:
- December 31, 2005 - Passport required for all air and sea travel to or from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central and South America.
- December 31, 2006 - Passport required for all air and sea travel to or from Mexico and Canada.
- December 31, 2007 - Passport required for all air, sea and land border crossings.
- On January 8, 2007, U.S. citizens traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be required to present a valid U.S. passport, Air NEXUS card, or U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document.
- As early as January 1, 2008, U.S. citizens traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea (including ferries), may be required to present a valid U.S. passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security. While recent legislative changes permit a later deadline, the Departments of State and Homeland Security are working to meet all requirements as soon as possible. Ample advance notice will be provided to enable the public to obtain passports or passport cards for land/sea entries. If passenger gets sick on a ship (and does not have valid passport) they will be unable to enter the UNITED STATES or leave the ship.
Once the proposed rules are finalized - either in their current form or a modified form - the cruise industry will communicate that information to our travel agent partners and guests. In the meantime, individuals with future travel plans that would be affected by the proposed new rules are strongly encouraged to obtain a passport now.
You may print a passport application or get additional information from the government on this subject by visiting: http://travel.state.gov/passport