On January 8, 2007, all travelers to Aruba and other Caribbean destinations will need a U.S. passport for air travel. The change comes as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security attempts to alleviate travel concerns about border security under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Unlike previous years when passports were not required for travel to Caribbean beach resorts, this upcoming season has added potential for traveler headache. As many tourists that have planned their Aruba family vacation or scheduled a wedding may not be aware of the new rules, there could well be a rush on new passport applications near the end of the year. Also, because the program will be in its first season, there certainly exists a possibility of delays beyond the outlined timeframes for passport applications.
So, as you plan your activities for your Aruba wedding or vacation, you should also organize your materials for your passport application. Currently, the State Department claims that passport applications take 4 to 6 weeks to process. As backlogs are certainly expected this season, it is recommended that you either apply for your passport now as a couple of months remain before the legislation goes into effect, or apply as soon as you know you are going to travel.
To alleviate some of your concern, here are some additional recommendations to secure your passport as quickly and easily as possible for your Aruba vacation and even an outline of what to do when you don’t have enough time to apply for a passport via traditional methods.
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