The travel industry has launched a new website, GetAPassportNow.com, to inform travelers about new passport requirements and to help them get passports. The purpose of the website is to also educate travelers about pending deadlines contained in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) recently revised by Congressional action and provide easy access to passport information.
“The message is that if you want to travel to or from the U.S., get a passport,” Travel Industry Association President Roger Dow said of the new website.
WHTI requires all air travelers to the U.S. to have a passport or other secure document by January 23, 2007, including Americans returning from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. In addition, all travelers by land and sea must meet this requirement by an unspecified deadline not later than June 1, 2009.
Just 27 percent of all Americans currently have a passport, while 40 percent of Canadians have the official government-issued travel document.
“We don’t want anyone to be surprised by the new requirements,” Dow said. “No one’s vacation or business trip should be ruined because they didn’t know they needed a passport.”
The one-page site explains the new passport requirements, cites the deadlines, and provides links where citizens of the U.S., Canada and Mexico can get information about and applications for their respective passports. It is intended to supplement efforts by the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security to inform travelers about the new rules.
TIA and the Travel Business Roundtable (TBR) have worked closely with Congress and the Administration to ensure that the new rules provide enhanced security for travelers with minimal disruption.