(LOS ANGELES, Jan. 21, 2008) - The Automobile Club of Southern California is alerting land and sea travelers to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean that beginning Jan. 31, they will be required to carry a government-issued photo ID and proof of U.S. citizenship in order to either enter or leave the U.S.
Sea and land travelers to these regions do not yet need to carry a passport. But if they don't have a passport with them, they need to have another form of proof of citizenship such as an original birth certificate or naturalization certificate. And all travelers aged 19 and over are also required to carry a government-issued photo ID.
"Identification requirements for travelers have been changing frequently in the last couple of years, and travelers need to stay aware of these changes so they bring the correct documents on their trips," said Diana Meinhold, the Auto Club's vice president for travel products and services.
The U.S. government was planning to require all sea and land travelers to these adjacent international destinations to carry passports as of this summer. But that requirement has been pushed back to 2009, when a smaller, less expensive version of a passport - known as a "passport card" - should be available for U.S. citizens to use in lieu of a passport when they travel to countries adjacent to the U.S.
However, in the meantime, travelers must carry some proof of citizenship with them if they travel by land or sea to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean, Meinhold said.
The Auto Club also reminds travelers to Mexico that if they plan to drive their vehicles there, they need to purchase Mexico auto insurance for their trip. U.S. auto insurance is not accepted in Mexico, and drivers without auto insurance in that country are subject to immediate arrest. The Auto Club offers Mexico auto insurance online at www.AAA.com or in any Auto Club office.