June 08, 2007

CRAPO: COMMON SENSE PREVAILS IN CHANGES FOR PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS

Exemptions made for those who are still waiting for passport

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo applauded today's announcement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to permit U.S. passport applicants to travel while their applications are being reviewed. Under new regulations, travelers by air to and from countries in North America must have a valid passport. Crapo noted his office has received many calls from Idahoans concerning delays in receiving their passports. Many of those who called received assistance that ultimately led to successful travel plans, but applications for passports have risen as high as one-half million per week, creating a severe backlog."Allowing those who have applied for passports the ability to show an official receipt and keep their travel plans is a common-sense solution to dealing with the backlog of applications," Crapo noted. "Even so, I still advise travelers to plan far ahead for when they might be traveling outside the country and will need a passport to do so. I encourage the Department of Homeland Security to continue to work with affected travelers to meet their travel documentation needs."The changes permit travelers to produce a State Department receipt, showing they have applied for a passport, along with government-issued identification for airline travel to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. Destinations outside those areas still require a passport.The changes will remain in effect until the end of September. The rules do not affect Americans driving across the borders contiguous with the U.S. or traveling by sea. Those travelers may need passports by January of next year. For more information, contact Crapo's web site at http://crapo.senate.gov. Citizens with existing passport applications can also obtain proof of application on line at http://travel.state.gov.