2006-10-20 / Columnists

From The Rockaway Postmaster's Desk

New Rules For Passports - Get Them At Your Post Office
George P. Buonocore

Starting in January of 2007, passport rules are changing and many people who never needed passports for trips to nearby nations will now need to get one of the little blue, pocket-sized documents.

In many cases, passports will now be mandatory for getting back into the country if you travel to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean, something that has never been true in the past.

Cruise passengers will be exempt from this rule, at least until 2009. The same holds true for those who drive to Canada or Mexico prior to the 2009 changeover. Those who fly to any of those destinations, however, will need a passport to reenter the United States beginning in January under the new rules.

Passports for those 1ge 16 and older cost $97, and take up to six weeks. If you need a expedited passport, however, for an unexpected trip you can get service within a few days for an additional $60.

You can get a passport application and a passport from any branch of the United States Post Office. You will need proof of citizenship, proof of identity and two passport photos. Happy Travels!

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