Passport rush predicted as U.S. land and sea border deadline looms



    
    BCAA recommends travellers don't leave passport application until the
    last minute
    

    BURNABY, BC, April 9 /CNW/ - With less than 60 days before the new
requirement to show a passport when entering the U.S. by land and sea, BCAA is
recommending travellers needing a passport apply as soon as possible to avoid
potential inconvenience and disappointment. Starting June 1, 2009 Canadians
travelling to, from or via the U.S. by land and sea must present a passport at
U.S. Customs.
    This new requirement is the second and final stage of the Western
Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), a U.S. plan aimed at tightening border
security. Until now, Canadians have only needed a driver's licence and proof
of citizenship to enter or re-enter the States by land and sea. In January
2007, passport requirements were introduced for Canadians travelling to, from
or via the U.S. by air.
    In addition to a passport, other WHTI-compliant documents can be used
when entering the U.S. by land post June 1: a NEXUS card, FAST card or an
Enhanced Driver's Licence (EDL) or Enhanced Identification Card (EIC) from a
province or territory where a U.S.-approved EDL/EIC program has been
implemented. Note however, Canadian citizens entering the United States by
land but exiting by air must present a valid passport in compliance with U.S.
air exit requirements.
    "Back in 2007, when travellers began needing a passport to fly into the
U.S., the long and lengthy lineups made frontpage news," says BCAA Travel
Director, Dale Urquhart. "We are reminding customers that it takes time to
locate or obtain the necessary documentation to apply for a passport."
    "The new rule may impact many B.C. vacationers who prefer to travel by
land or sea," adds Urquhart. "The U.S. is among the biggest international
destinations for B.C. travellers and the June 1 deadline coincides with the
start of summer holiday season."
    According to Passport Canada, passport applications take two weeks if
processed in person or four weeks if processed by mail, not including mailing
time. For information on obtaining a passport, visit Passport Canada website:
www.pptc.gc.ca.
    Passport applications and passport photos (BCAA members save $2) are
available at any BCAA sales centre. To find your closest BCAA sales centre, go
to www.bcaa.com.

    BCAA Travel is one of the largest travel agencies in B.C. and one of the
first in Canada to introduce a fully-disclosed pricing policy. All advertised
prices under BCAA's "What You See Is What You Pay" prices include all fees,
surcharges and taxes. BCAA is there for its customers before, during, and
after their vacations with its Travel Guarantee and 24-Hour Travellers'
Helpline. BCAA also offers travel planning tools such as TripTik(R) routing
maps & TourBook(R) guides.





For further information:

For further information: Jennifer Timm, BCAA Media Relations Advisor,
Tel: (604) 268-5342, Cell: (778) 228-8859, E-mail: jennifer.timm@bcaa.com


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