Reminder: Travel Agents Are Here to Help with Revised Passport Regulations

June 13, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Alexandria, Va., June 13, 2007—With last week's announcement by the U.S. State Department that passport requirements temporarily will be eased for U.S. citizens traveling by air to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda who have applied for, but not yet received passports, ASTA reminds travelers to contact a trusted ASTA travel agent to get updated information, along with timely advice on all their travel needs. (To locate a travel agent near you, visit’s Find a Travel Agent directory.)

“The government’s decision to temporarily ease passport restrictions opens the door for many travelers who were faced with impending travel plans and no passport,” said Cheryl Hudak, CTC, ASTA president and CEO. “For many this comes as welcome news. Travel agents stand ready to assist their customers with getting necessary travel documentation. We are there for our clients before, during and after the trip.”

The U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security announced that, effective today through Sept. 30, 2007, U.S. citizens traveling by air to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda who have applied for, but not yet received passports, can temporarily enter and depart from the United States by air as long as they present both a government issued photo identification and Department of State official “proof of application.” U.S. citizens traveling by land or sea are not yet required by the U.S. government to present a passport and remain unaffected.

However, the U.S. Department of State also warned applicants that it may take up to one week for expedited applications and up to four weeks for routine applications before a proof of application can be obtained and printed. In other words, passport seekers who recently filed a non-expedited application and are traveling in less than four weeks may still find themselves without a passport. Similarly, expedited applications where travel is expected in less than a week from the application may not be aided.

The federal government made this accommodation for air travel in the face of longer than expected processing times and record demand for passport applications. Currently the U.S. State Department’s Passport Services unit is experiencing a major backlog in processing applications. Rather than taking the usual four to six weeks, routine applications or renewals are now taking 10 to 12 weeks, and in some cases, longer. Even the more expensive expedited service takes about three to four weeks.

For a full list of travel tips on issues as complex as airline bumping and new security regulations to tips on traveling with teenagers and packing advice, visit

The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business