New Passport Rules Have People Lining Up

By: Tony Tagliavia Email
By: Tony Tagliavia Email

New passport rules have people like Jeremy Gentges posing for the cameras to get one.

"Definitely the main reason I'm going to get that," said Gentges, a student at Lansing Community College.

The rules, which went into effect Tuesday, mean you'll need a passport for travel to places you used to be able to travel to without.

"Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the British overseas territories," Chief Ronald Smith of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said. "If you're flying into the country from anywhere in the world, you do need a passport in order to make entry."

It's a change for people like Vernon Cobb. His wife's family lives in Canada.

"We usually go to her family's a couple times a year," Cobb, of Williamston, said. "We've done it for 40 years."

Now, if he wants to go there by air, he'll need an updated passport. That's why Cobb and hundreds of others stopped by the Collins Road post office in Lansing for the passport fair there.

The fair runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. through 2 p.m. Saturday.

If you take the post office up on its offer, you'll need to be prepared. First, you need your old passport, birth certificate or naturalization paperwork. You'll also need your driver's license and cash or a checkbook.

The cost is $15 for two passport photos, plus $67 for those 16 and older and $52 for those 15 and younger. There's also a $30 processing fee for each passport.

Smith, a spokesman for the agency that checks those passports, says if you usually drive across the border and think the rules won't affect you, take note:

"As early as January 2008, it's going to be required for all travel," he said.

That's why folks with no immediate travel plans, like Diane Castle of Lansing, say they're better of waiting in line now, than out-of-luck later.

"Better be prepared," she said.


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