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Posts Tagged ‘passport’

Trusted Traveler Programs: NEXUS – The Wait is Over

This is our third post in our series Trusted Traveler Programs.  In our last post we covered the Global Entry Program.  In this post we are going to take a closer look at NEXUS, a program designed to expedite the border clearance process for travelers into Canada and the United States.  The NEXUS card is approved as an alternative to the passport for air, land, and sea travel into the United States for US and Canadian citizens.   Once approved into the NEXUS program, you are issued a photo-identification, RFID card. Benefits of NEXUS: Receive expedited passage at: NEXUS-dedicated lanes Airport kiosks By calling a marine telephone reporting center to report your arrival into the United States and Canada. Cross the border with a minimum of customs and immigration que


Trusted Traveler Programs: Global Entry Program – Arrive in Style

As we mentioned in our previous post “Trusted Traveler Programs - Are You Enrolled?”, Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. How Does the Global Entry Program Work? Global Entry is intended for frequent international travelers but as of now, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify.  When arriving at the airport, the following occurs: Participants proceed to Global Entry kiosks Present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card Place fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification Make a customs declaration. Receive a transaction receipt from kiosk and proceed to baggage claim and the exit.


A Passport Into Your Favorite Fiction

Many great novels and short stories involve travel. It's easy to see why; when you leave behind everything that's familiar and step out into the unknown, all the key ingredients of an exciting plot are waiting for you. To quote JRR Tolkien, "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." Do you have a favorite travel story? Why not actually walk in your favorite characters' footsteps? For example, here are four great stories that you could plan a trip based on: The Odyssey Okay, so you probably won't want to be on the road for as long as Odysseus was, but there's no reason you can't plan a trip to Greece that includes some of the more prominent stops on along h


Do You Need a Passport to Go to Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is an incredible country. Whether your goal is to explore the jungle or simply lounge on the beach, you'll find what you're looking for here. But do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica? What do US citizens need to get into the country? According to the Department of State, you definitely need a passport to enter Costa Rica. If you don't have one, get one before you travel. Equally important, if you have a passport already, check the expiration date. To enter Costa Rica, it's not enough simply to have a valid passport. Your passport has to be good for at least 30 days after you arrive. If your passport expires in less than 30 days, you won't get into the country. You'll also need to show proof that you plan to leave: either a ticket home or a ticket to another country.


Scotland Wants William Wallace’s Passport Back

The government of Scotland is preparing to make a formal request to the British government: hand over William Wallace's passport.  William Wallace, the Scottish hero who inspired the movie Braveheart, may have had the passport with him when he was arrested by the English. The English never gave it back, instead storing it in their National Archives. The Times Online quotes Scottish official Christine Grahame explaining why the passport should be returned: “This is a very significant historical document related to [one of] Scotland’s most iconic and lasting national heroes. There are very few artefacts in existence which are believed to have been handled directly by Wallace and the return of his Safe Conduct would be an important step in better understanding this period. It is


Do You Need to Get a Passport for Spring Break?

It may still be cold and gloomy outside in many parts of the country, but make no mistake: spring is coming! That means it's time to start planning for Spring Break.  And if your Spring Break plans are taking you outside of the country, you may need to get a passport. To help you with your travel plans, here are the passport requirements for some of the more popular spring break travel destinations: Mexico Warm blue water,  gorgeous beaches and margaritas galore-what more could you want in a spring break destination? You probably need to get a passport before you can go party in Cancun, though.  For more details, see: Do You Need a Passport to Go to Mexico? US Citizens Visiting Mexico Face New Passport Requirements Canada If you prefer skiing and other winter spor


History of the US Passport

Did you know that the first US passports were actually printed by Ben Franklin? According to this book review of "The Passport: The History Of Man's Most Travelled Document," the first US passports were made especially for the  United States legation in Paris, France around 1777. Franklin modeled them after the French passports of the time, and printed them from his own printing press. However, passports did not become commonplace until 1918, when carrying them abroad became mandatory instead of merely advisable.  According to the US Department of State's blog, passports during this period consisted of a large sheet of paper with the bearer's photo and other information, pasted into a book cover, and were "bulky and inconvenient to carry."  By 1926, a lighter, more durable design had


Does the Name on Your Passport Need to Match Your Ticket?

It seems like every time you turn around, there's a new security rule you have to remember at the airport.  Now, TSA has begun a new program called "Secure Flight," which attempts to reduce the number of people who are misidentified as being on the government's no-fly list for suspected terrorists. As a result, your airline will now ask you to provide your name exactly as it appears on your driver's license or passport-whichever ID you plan to present at the gate. The New York Times' Practical Traveler blog has a great article about the Secure Flight initiative and what it means for you. Basically, you need to start making sure that your name is the same on all of the documents you use for travel (passport, driver's license, frequent-flier accounts, etc).  Right now, Secure Flight is


Get a Passport to the World of Harry Potter

The new Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, just came out yesterday. Hardcore Harry Potter fans have probably already seen it, maybe even more than once. The next film, the first installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is not going to be out until next November. What's a Harry Potter fan (young or old) to do until then? Well, you could get a passport and take a plane to Great Britain, where the books were set and the movies were filmed.  Naturally, Harry Potter-themed tours have sprung up in London, as well as in other locations used in the films. For example,  you can see Platform 9 3/4 in King's Cross station, (or, rather, a baggage cart that appears to be disappearing into the wall where Platform 9 3/4 would be if Muggles like us could see it).


New Passport Rules Don’t Slow Border Traffic

Today, Border Patrol officials began asking Americans for passports at the American and Canadian borders.  The final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is in effect, and a passport or another government-approved document is now required to re-enter the country. How has this affected traffic across the borders? Not much, it seems. The Houston Chronicle is reporting that wait times at both the northern border with Canada and the southern border with Mexico are normal today, and that the new rules haven't caused an increase in travel time for most American citizens. However, not everyone who regularly crosses the border has the correct documents.  FoxTV in El Paso reported that a flood of people applying for a last-minute passport has led some residents to camp out at t