Starting Tuesday, January 23, all US residents and visitors to our country will require a passport when flying into the United States. In the past you could get away with a birth certificate and sometimes just a drivers license if coming from locales such as Mexico, but no more. So if you're heading out of country get yourself a passport and save yourself some headaches.
Starting next year a passport will be required for coming into the United States through ground or sea travel or simply by foot. So if you're heading to Niagra Falls or Tijuana next year, you better get your passport now.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection estimates that up to 45 percent of American travelers entering the country at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and 10 percent at Miami International arrive without passports. These travelers are generally admitted if they show a birth certificate or another acceptable document, including a driver's license.
Of course some would complain about this passport requirement, such as the author of the above article who seems perturbed by the whole thing, but why this requirement wasn't in place a long time ago is beyond me. You're entering from a foreign country, you should be required to have a passport.
Then of course you have these short sighted tourism industry people.
Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the requirement will become a problem only if ``we appear to be inhospitable, that this is part of an effort to keep people from visiting the United States.''
Hey Nicki Grossman, how inviting will the United States look if we have a couple more terrorist attacks, or have you already forgotten the massive impact that had on tourism just after 9/11? Requiring verification of who you are and where you're coming from is the absolute minimum that should be done to combat terrorism, yet we still have people bitching and complaining about it.
There is however a silver lining to all of this for the American tourism industry
A November assessment by U.S. Customs and Border Protection indicated that both the U.S. and foreign travel industries will take a temporary hit. In the short term, the report said, the U.S. travel industry may even benefit as Americans who don't want to get passports forgo foreign trips.