New Passport Requirements
As of January 23, 2007, all US citizens traveling abroad via air need to have a passport—that includes infants. Previously, US citizens could travel to neighbors such as Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean using a driver's license for identification, and they could use their children's birth certificates for their ID. New regulations aimed at tightening border security and fighting terrorism now require all air travelers to have valid passports.
These new passport regulations overwhelmed the US Department of State, which says it has issued 16 million passports in this fiscal year ending Sept. 30—about 4 million more than in the previous year.
Yet after a spring and summer in which travelers faced long delays to obtain US passports, the department says it has restored passport service to the six to eight-week processing time for routine passport applications, and no more than three weeks for expedited service.