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Old 04-23-2009, 06:22 AM   #1
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US/Canadian Travel

Got a flyer with my trailer renewal forms this year: As of June 1st of this year, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will require a passport or federally acceptable alternative (such as a New York State Enhanced Driver License) to cross land and sea borders.

Obtaining a US passport looks like a royal pain unless you live near a passport issuance location. And it is over $100 per person by the time you factor in the cost of the photos.

New York offers the enhanced driver license which can be obtained for $30 over the normal cost of your license and present two forms of ID at your local DMV office. (www.nysdmv.com/edl.htm for details.) It looks like a good, lower cost alternative to a passport, and probably makes more sense for those folks on tight budgets who don't anticipate any travel abroad other than Canada, Bermuda, Mexico and the Caribbean. It is an identity and cititzenship document for select sea and land border crossings as well as air travel within the US. It is not good for international air travel. And you have to be a US citizen to get one.

Gail and I are going to both get them when her license is up for renewal next month.

New York now offers an Enhanced Non-Driver ID which works the same way.

I also found out that (US) children under 16 only need proof of citizenship this year to enter Canada. It is unknown what may happen in the future.

What are other folks in NY going to do? And what alternatives are available in other US states? And what are our good friends in Canada doing?
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Old 04-23-2009, 06:28 AM   #2
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Passports are not that hard to get. You can apply for them at Almost any Post Office. They can be a little expensive but they are good for several years (I think 10). and if you need one quickly for an additional fee you can have rush processing. I got mine at the post office last year and it only took 2 weeks to get.
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:08 AM   #3
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I've heard they have the same enhanced license program here in Michigan too.

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Old 04-23-2009, 07:19 AM   #4
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You can also get a passport card for $45. It's the same size as a drivers license, can be used the same as the NYS enhanced license, but is good for 10 years. Renewal is only $20
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 264SRinPA
You can also get a passport card for $45. It's the same size as a drivers license, can be used the same as the NYS enhanced license, but is good for 10 years. Renewal is only $20
NYS Enhanced DL is good for 8 years but the it's also a regular license.

Is the passport card a PA thing or federal?
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Old 04-23-2009, 08:45 AM   #6
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I am safe until July 2017 as that is when my passport expires. And I will probably just renew it once again. I think it's something that is going to become a "must have" document.

Kitty
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:25 AM   #7
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Passports

The cost of a passport is relatively low when you consider it on a per year basis, really less than $10/year.

We always carry ours with us.

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Old 04-23-2009, 10:06 AM   #8
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Passport photos

We got our passport photos at Walgreen for $7.

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Old 04-23-2009, 10:58 AM   #9
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Steve, the passport card is federal.
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Old 04-23-2009, 06:55 PM   #10
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We've had passports for two years now in anticipation of the change. Probably 90% of Canadians live within 1-2 hr. of the border so there has been lots of early warning and publicity about getting passports. No doubt there will still be lots turned back at the border who'll claim they never knew.

Crossing the border has been relatively hassle free for us. The first thing that happens is that the vehicle license plate gets entered into the computer as you drive up to the booth. We cross the border a couple of times a year and our complete history is immediately on the screen. Basically this means no red flags are waving before you even hand over your passports and you clear through very quickly. Coming back to Canada is much the same. The US seems to care most about food, especially if its from somewhere other than Canada, and Canada cares most about guns.

So get your passports or enhanced driver's licenses and come for a visit, but definitely make reservations for just about any ON Provincial Park.

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Old 04-24-2009, 08:13 AM   #11
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I think this conversation also applies to travel to Mexico. If you travel other than in campers someplace, passports are required for many Caribbean destinations and of course all other international travel so plan accordingly, If you think you'll ever require a passport, no need for both.
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