CSA Travel Protection Helps Business and Leisure Travelers Countdown to Compliance with New Passport Rules

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Beginning on January 23, 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) takes effect, making passports a required Â?thing to packÂ? for airline passengers.

Beginning on January 23, 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) takes effect, making passports a required “thing to pack” for airline passengers. San Diego-based CSA Travel Protection is helping business and leisure travelers through this important transition, by providing current Department of Homeland Security and Department of State rules, as well as useful passport recommendations.

The New Passport Rules -- What Travelers Need to Know

Starting January 23, 2007:

•    All persons traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda must present a valid U.S. passport or other accepted document (Air NEXUS card or U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document) that establishes the traveler’s identity and nationality to enter or re-enter the United States.

•    U.S. citizens traveling directly between the United States and its territories do not need to present a passport. U.S. territories include: Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

•    U.S. citizens may also use a passport or other documents when traveling via land and sea (including ferry crossings), although for those modes of transport, such documentation won’t be formally required until January 1, 2008.

CSA’s 9 Passport Tips for Travelers

Business and leisure travelers seeking compliance with the new rule, can apply to renew an old passport or obtain their first passport, using these timely tips:

1.    Go Postal. Many Post Office branches around the country are holding “Passport Fairs” to make it easy to comply with new passports rules. Visit or call your neighborhood Post Office to see if it accepts passport applications and is holding a fair enabling you to complete and submit an application.

2.    Fine, Don’t Go Postal. Your local Post Office is among 7,000 Passport Application Acceptance Facilities. Feel free to seek out clerks of court, public libraries and various other state, county, township, and municipal government offices that supply and/or accept passport applications.

3.    Get Up Close and Personal. Only seven weeks remain until the new rules take effect. Showing up in-person at an authorized Passport Application Acceptance Facility, instead of mailing your application, is the best way to get the ball rolling.

4.    Don’t Leave Home ... without proper documentation. What’s a worse passport peril than standing in line only to be told: “Sorry you need this” -- and you don’t have “this?” Applicants must present proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a state-certified birth certificate, a valid identification, two passport photos, and Social Security number.

5.    Show Them the Money. Be prepared to pay passport fees, which vary based on the type of application and the applicant’s age. Travelers 16 and older pay a $67 application fee and $30 execution fee ($97 total); Travelers under 16 pay a $52 application fee and $30 execution fee ($82 total). The Post Office and other facilities accept most forms of payment, including personal check.

6.    Pay Attention to Detail. Carefully review your application to make sure all the information is complete and correct. Plus, don’t forget: Sign your name on your application, and if you’re paying by personal check, sign your check, too!

7.    Sign-Up the Kids. All children, including newborn infants and minors ages 14-17, are required to obtain passports in their own names. For children under age 14, evidence of the child’s relationship to the parent(s) or guardian(s) is required.

8.    Don’t Procrastinate. The new rule begins on January 23, 2007. Passport processing typically takes 6-8 weeks. If you’ve got a trip that’s fast approaching, get a quick fix through expedited service. The cost is $60 per application, plus overnight delivery costs -- in addition to regular application fees. By using expedited service and two-way overnight delivery, you should receive your passport within about 2 weeks.

9.    Purchase Travel Protection. Once you get your passport and you’re ready to travel, get a quick quote at http://www.csatravelprotection.com. CSA customers get essential travel insurance coverages such Trip Interruption and Trip Cancellation, and valuable 24-Hour Emergency Assistance Services. These include passport-friendly features such as embassy and consular services that’ll help travelers arrange to replace lost or stolen passports and other travel-related documents. Also, CSA customers receive pre-trip travel advice with updated passport news and other worldwide travel requirements.

For further information, travelers, can contact The National Passport Information Center at 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778).

About CSA Travel Protection

CSA Travel Protection has provided value-driven travel insurance, travel services and emergency assistance since 1991. The company’s products and services safeguard individuals and groups engaged in domestic and worldwide travel, to provide peace of mind, security and an overall enhanced travel experience. CSA’s reputation for continuous innovation and superior customer service, yields industry-leading travel protection and services sold directly online and through an extensive network of authorized travel professionals and suppliers. CSA (Customized Services Administrators) is headquartered in San Diego, California. For additional information call 800-348-9505 or visit http://www.csatravelprotection.com.

CONTACT:

Gerald Poindexter

Marketing Communications Specialist

CSA Travel Protection

858-810-2415

David Craychee, CTC

Director of Marketing Programs

800-348-9505, Ext. 2045

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Gerald Poindexter
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