New US passport travel rules take hold

A new rule requiring U.S. travellers to show a valid passport when they travel to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean has now taken effect, with few reports of stranded travellers.Until Tuesday, U.S travelers required only a driver’s license or birth certificate, as well as a plane ticket to fly to and from these places.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which is a mandate by the U.S. Congress to help secure U.S. borders has taken effect.

Atlanta International Airport, one of the world’s busiest, reported no problems by midday Tuesday.

“I think we’re looking at 100 percent compliance,” Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Susan Shattuck told AFX news wire.

Most travellers who did not know about the new requirement were allowed to enter the various territories after receiving a warning and a passport application.

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Their names were entered by the U.S. authorities into the agency’s computer system, and they will be scrutinised if it happens again.

Both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have offers timed in conjunction with the new regulations.

Travel agents and airlines reported no major problems after warning travellers about the new rules for more than a year.
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