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Government may delay new passport rules

Travel Weekly reports (registration required) that two U.S. senators are apparently siding with the travel industry over the issue of passport requirements. As you’ve likely heard by now, new passport requirements are scheduled to take effect next year that would require passports for travel between many destinations that until now have not required them. Those destinations include Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.

Different portions of the new passport rules are currently scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2008, respectively. But now senators Ted Stevens (Alaska) and Patrick Leahy (Vermont) have proposed (and the Senate has approved) an amendment that would push much of the new requirements off until June 1, 2009.

If the amendment makes it into the final immigration bill that will be hammered out in a House-Senate committee, it would be considered a huge victory for the travel industry, which sees the new requirements as a potentially crippling blow to tourism. It’s hard to know if the amendment will survive. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to brush up on the existing passport rules before you next travel.

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