Headed to Canada or Mexico? Take your passport!

Nebraskans who plan to travel abroad need to take note of new rules that took effect this week. Gayle Weinholzer, with Triple-A Nebraska, says anyone visiting Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, by land or sea, will need to show certain kinds of I-D.

“As of June 1st, the borders have been tightened a bit,” Weinholzer says. “You need either your official passport book or a new passport card that’s been approved by the U-S Department of Homeland Security.”

She says Nebraskans who make frequent fishing trips into Canada, for example, might find the new passport card handier than carrying the full passport book. “The passport card is for U-S citizens that typically live in border communities either with Canada or Mexico and travel back and forth frequently,” Weinholzer says. “A card is obviously smaller and easier to present and a bit less expensive.”

Of course, using the card doesn’t allow a traveler to get all of those neat stamps from border guards to show off the many countries they’ve visited. If cost is an issue, she notes neither option is cheap, but if you’re going to travel outside the U-S, you need to make the investment.

“The passport costs $75 these days, the card itself costs $45 but the card is useful in fewer circumstances than the passport book,” she says. The passport card is good for travel between the U-S and Canada or Mexico by land or by sea, not air. The passport book is good for all means of travel.

Weinholzer notes, if you’re traveling to Puerto Rico or the U-S Virgin Islands, you can still use a driver’s license for an I-D, but everywhere else, you now need a passport to return.

For more information, see the U-S Department of Homeland Security website.