Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Cruising kids get a reprieve, of sorts

In our never-ending battle to keep up with U.S. passport regulations, here's the latest in case you missed it:

Children aged 15 and younger will be exempt from the new rule that goes into effect as early as January 2008 that U.S. citizens will need to have a valid passport to re-enter the United States by land or sea (air travelers -- including all children -- already have to have passports, as of January 23, 2007). So if you're returning from, say, a Caribbean cruise that departs from and returns to Miami, your kids under 16 can re-enter the U.S. with certified copies of their birth certificates instead. They do need to travel under adult supervision and with parental consent.

My advice is still the same: despite this relaxation of the rules, get passports for everyone in your family if you don't already have them. For starters, if you like to travel, you'll probably need them soon enough anyway, since they're required for any air travel outside the country. Secondly, the Homeland Security Department tinkers with these regulations often enough that you may find yourself needing passports for your kids by this time next year anyway -- don't count it out.

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