U.S. border passport rules suspended

Via Yahoo News

The Bush administration on Friday suspended some of its new,
post-Sept. 11 requirements for flying abroad, hoping to placate
Congress and irate summer travelers whose vacations have been thwarted
by delays in processing their passports.

The proposal would temporarily lift a requirement that U.S. passports be

used for citizens flying to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and
Bermuda. The rule, and its suspension, does not affect Americans
driving across the Canadian or Mexican borders or taking sea cruises,
although those travelers are expected to need passports beginning next
year.

The suspension should allow the State Department to catch up with a
massive surge in applications that has overwhelmed passport processing
centers since the rule took effect this year. The resulting backlog has
caused up to three-month delays for passports and ruined or delayed the
travel plans of thousands of Americans.

Until the end of September, travelers will be allowed to fly without
a passport if they present a State Department receipt, showing they had
applied for a passport, and government-issued identification, such as a
driver’s license. Those who have not applied for a passport will not be
allowed to travel.

Those with receipts but no passports would receive additional
security scrutiny, which could include extra questioning or bag checks.

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