Passports needed for world travel

Molly Mccabe and Molly Mccabe

Before making travel plans spring breakers should become knowledgeable on the laws for traveling internationally, especially when it comes to having a passport.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is a proposed plan involving two phases of passport requirement changes for U.S. travelers, according to the U.S. Department of State Web site.

The first phase which becomes effective Jan. 23,

states that all persons traveling by air between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda will be required to present a valid passport during travel. This law will concern students who plan on traveling out of the country for spring break or during the summer.

The second phase of the initiative does not take effect until Jan. 1, 2008. This phase states that all persons traveling by land or sea (including ferries) will be required to present a valid passport as stated by the Department of Homeland Security. Students planning on driving into Canada are not required to have a passport until next year.

For example, Karen Farmer, junior, said she travels to the Toronto area frequently and says it is much easier to travel with a passport even if by car.

The U.S. Department of State has outlined the specifics on what goes into obtaining a passport. The application must be done in person if applying for the first time, if a passport got lost or stolen, if it was issued more than 15 years ago, or for a change of name.

Students that need to apply for a passport can do so at the Bowling Green post office located at Main Street and West Washington. Before heading to the post office, the application for a passport can be downloaded at, or applications are available at the post office.

The city post office does provide photograph services, at a cost of $15. The fees for a passport for those ages 16 and over include an acceptance fee of $30 that goes to the United States Parcel Service, and the application fee of $67 that goes directly to the U.S. Department of State, coming to a total of $97. “It costs a lot more now, five or six years ago it was only $60 I think, this time it was over $100 to get my passport,” said senior Erika Ulcar.

The process can be expedited, rush ordered, and will be received within three business days for additional cost of $60, which may be a consideration for some students.

Senior Andrew Miller applied for a passport in plenty of time, two months ahead, in order to travel to England.

“The only problem was when it was sent to a passport agency, somewhere in Maryland, the process got backed up,” Miller said.

As the date of his departure came closer, the passport had not arrived. Unfortunately it did not get there on time and he had to cancel the trip.

Travelers should have no fear though, the new laws do not include U.S. territories. “I went out of the country, but since it was a cruise to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands I only needed a birth certificate and a driver’s license,” said junior, Pam Bryndal. These consist of Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island and the Commonwealth of Mariana Islands.

Once the passport is received it is valid for ten years.

Editor’s Note: More information can be found on the U.S. Department of State Web site under travel: