Passport comment period opened

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Peninsula News Network

People upset with the federal government’s requirement for cross-border travelers to Canada and Mexico to carry passports are being given a couple of months to comment on the plan.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is a requirement being imposed to boost border security. Air travelers have already been required to have passports and the original plan called for ground travelers, including those traveling by ferry between Port Angeles and Victoria, to have passports next year.

That’s been a major concern of local government and tourism leaders, who have already seen a falloff in ferry travel because of confusion over the new rules.

However, the backlog of passport applications had built to several months this spring, forcing the Department of Homeland of Security to extend the deadlines. Right now, passport requirements for air travelers are on hold, at least until the government can catch up on the applications.

Now, DHS is taking written public comments on the WHTI requirements until August 15th.


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