Avoid getting jammed up up north

Wednesday - 5/13/2009, 7:35am EDT

WFED's Jane Norris

As heard on sister station WTOP

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By Jane Norris
FederalNewsRadio

If your summer plans will be taking you to Niagra Falls in Canada this summer, starting in June, you will need to bring your passport along.

Q: The Southern Border already has this requirement,why the delay on the Northern Border?

A: Because there has always been a more open policy on the Northern Border and tourism from both countries in states like Vermont and New York and Washington State. So members of Congress delayed the start date until June 1st 2009 to make sure there would not be long lines and problems for citizens of either country. As of June first you will need a passport, or passport card for frequent travelers or an enhanced drivers license which is only issued in Vermont, New York, Michigan and Washington State.

Q:What do you need to have if you are traveling with children?

A: U.S. and Canadian children under the age of 16 who are traveling with supervision will be able to present a birth certificate (original or certified copy) or other proof of citizenship like a naturalization certificate. But it might be worth getting your children their own passports given that this is a requirement that will not be going away.

Q: There are other documents for frequent travelers? Who should get one of these?

A: If you are a frequent visitor or a truck driver you might want to apply for a trusted traveler program (SENTRI NEXUS or FAST) but you will need to undergo a thorough background check against criminal, law enforcement, customs, immigration agriculture and terrorist indexes including a biometric fingerprint check and a personal interview with a CBP officer, so it's not for the occasional traveler.

For more information, see the State Department's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative page and the report on FederalNewsRadio.com, "US, Canada prepare as enhanced border checks loom".

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