Americans visiting Canada, Mexico may need passports to return home
WASHINGTON – Starting in 2008, Americans traveling from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Panama will be required to show their passports to re-enter the United States under regulations proposed Tuesday by the Bush administration.
The border-tightening effort, designed to keep terrorists out, will also apply to citizens from those countries who want to enter the United States – prompting Canadian officials to announce that they might reciprocate.
The regulations mark a dramatic shift from a North American borders policy that allows Americans to merely declare their citizenry to enter the United States. They also raise the potential of hampering tourism and commercial traffic. The new requirements would take effect on Dec. 31, 2007, for travelers entering from Mexico and Canada by land, and on Dec. 31, 2006, by air or sea.
The proposed rules are scheduled to be finalized this fall. Until then, the government will solicit comments from the public.
Currently, Americans generally need to show a driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID to cross the border from Canada.
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