New Passport Requirement

By: Narina Crain
By: Narina Crain

Whether traveling by plane or boat, everyone will need a passport to leave the United States starting January 1.

"People are a little confused because they haven't been required to have a passport to go on a cruise or to the Carribean or Mexico, just some kind of id showing you're a U.S. citizen," said Sally Truitt, a local travel agency owner.

U.S. customs and border protection are enforcing the new rule to make the United States safer. The restrictions apply to everyone.

"I did this the other day. I was in line there were people holding up infants, there's no exceptions," said Derek Martin, Deputy Director of the Chicago Rockford International Airport.

Many people are concerned about price. Passports cost $97 for adults and $82 for children. Then there's an additional charge for the passport photo.

"A family of four getting passports is $400, so that adds to the cost of the trip," Truitt said.

Rockford residents can get passports at the post office on Harrison Avenue. Residents in Freeport, Beloit and Belvidere can also buy passports at their post offices, but make sure you apply at least eight weeks before your trip.

"If they have to leave prior to that time there are some ways to expedite services but that definitely increases the extra cost," said Michelle Zyvert, community relations director of Rockford's Post Office.

Apple Vacations is turning the passport rule into a promotion. The company is taking $100 off the price of each ticket if customers fly from Rockford to Cancun after January 1. Customers have to buy tickets by October 31st to receive the discount.

To learn more or apply for a passport, log on www.travel.state.gov


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