By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: I’ve heard about the new US entry requirements that started January 23rd. Does this new rule apply to Canadians traveling by car?

A: You mentioned the new requirement for entry into the United States that started on January 23, 2007. Yes, Canadians flying into the US are now required to carry a valid passport. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) reports all travellers by land and sea must meet this requirement by an unspecified deadline not later than June 1, 2009.

However, your best form of identification is still a valid Canadian passport. Recently, the travel industry launched a new Web site, to inform travellers about new passport requirements and to help them get passports.

According to the Travel Industry Association of America, the purpose of the site is to also educate travellers about pending deadlines contained in the WHTI and to provide easy access to passport information.

“The message is that if you want to travel to or from the U.S., get a passport,” Travel Industry Association president Roger Dow said in a statement about the new website.

While 40 per cent of Canadians have passports, only 27 per cent of all Americans do. “We don’t want anyone to be surprised by the new requirements,” Dow said. “No one’s vacation or business trip should be ruined because they didn’t know they needed a passport.”


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