Try A New Passport Card Instead Of Using A Passport To Canada

by adam on February 16, 2010

One thing that everyone who travels in and out of the United States needs to know about is passport rules and regulations. While the previous laws allowed US citizens to travel to border countries with nothing more than a birth certificate or driver’s license, that is no longer the case. Today, a United States passport card to Canada or Mexico is necessary whenever traveling.

Prior to June 1, 2009, passports were not required for land travel to U.S. border countries. Passports were often times not required for air travel, provided that the border country was the only destination. Before June of 2009, state issued documents such as driver’s licenses or government identification cards were sufficient to re-enter the United States.

The law changed in June 2009 and while it is a good thing, it has shaken up travelers who were unprepared for the new documents that are required. Today, any traveler that is moving in and out of the United States, even if only by land and heading to a border country such as Canada or Mexico, is required to have passport documentation. This is a delayed response to 9/11, but at least it has finally happened.

According to the government, these rules were put in place to tighten up our security and make the country a safer place. Previously, illegal immigrants would travel into Canada or Mexico and pass through the borders fairly easily. Driver’s licenses and birth certificates were fairly easy to forge and the new documentation makes it much more difficult to gain entry to the United States.

Although the Homeland Security advantages to this law are self evident, many citizens, specifically those living in border towns, are opposed to the law and cite it as a major inconvenience. Many people think that requiring a person to bring a passport to Canada is absurd. Likewise, many people believe that there are other ways to tighten border security without forcing everyone to carry a passport.

The government continues to stick to their guns in that this definitely improves the overall security of the country. While no system is perfect, it does at least add one more safe guard to be in place to attempt to prevent illegal entry into the country. However, they do recognize that getting and carrying a passport can be somewhat of an inconvenience and there are new measures in place to help with this.

One of the new forms of identification that can be used in place of a regular passport is a passport card. They are much less expensive to obtain than a standard passport and they are also a lot easier to carry. Instead of carrying a big, bulky passport folder, they can have documentation that will fit into the same space that a driver’s license would normally occupy.

It is clear that rush passport applications will be required to enter border countries from now on. Given the obvious national security advantages, it seems quite unlikely that the U.S. government will have any reason to change these laws in the near future. Luckily, innovations like the passport card make the mandatory carrying of a passport to Canada and Mexico a bit more convenient.

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