Despite all the much-publicized delays with passport applications this year, the government has announced that they’ll still be unprepared for the onslaught of applications come 2008, so if you know you’ll need a new/renewed passport you should apply now during the slow season. In January, the land and sea portion of the new passport law goes into effect, requiring everyone who travels to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean to show proof of citizenship.
The passport requirement for air travel was implemented last January, although the rules were loosened at the end of summer due to gross incompetence—er, “unusually high application volume”—so that you could travel with a receipt for your new passport. That expired at the end of September, and there’s no word whether the Department of Homeland Security will make any similar exceptions next year for sea and land travel.
A passport isn’t required for U.S. territories, so if you really want to travel and don’t have a passport, try planning your next vacation in American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Swains Island, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Second Wave of Passport Anxiety Likely” [Fodor’s]