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New passport rules take effect tomorrow

U.S. Passport

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Are you planning a visit to Mexico or maybe Canada? A lot of Americans take quick trips across the border and its been pretty easy. All you needed was a driver's license or a birth certificate. But beginning tomorrow, you'll have to pack your passport thanks to new rules approved after 9/11. Canadian cities like Toronto wonder how that will affect its tourist trade. Marketplace's Hillary Wicai has more.


HILLARY WICAI: Don't leave home without it. Congress mandated passports for those entering the U.S. from anywhere — that includes returning Americans.

But as many as two-thirds of Americans don't have a valid passport.

Andrew Weir with Tourism Toronto says this could be a big problem for his city and others trying to entice U.S. tourists. His staff actually partnered with the U.S. Postal Service to help more Americans get their passports.

ANDREW WEIR: We're going to conventions in the U.S. now of groups that are coming to meet in Toronto in the future and we're setting up passport booths right there in their conventions.

The new requirement is being phased in.

First, air passengers must have passports. Land and sea travelers could have to carry them as early as next January.

An adult passport costs $97.

In Washington, I'm Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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