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New rules coming for air travel

Residents of Western New York will begin feeling the effects of the Bush administration's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative on Jan. 23.

Beginning on that date, citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda will be required to present passports when they enter the United States by air travel from any part of the Western Hemisphere.

A reminder about the changes was issued on Friday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its agency of Customs and Border Protection.

There will be no new restrictions taking effect on American or Canadian citizens entering the country by land or sea.

But the Department of Homeland Security said it is "highly recommended" that travelers from the United States and Canada be prepared to present documentation such as a passport, naturalization certificate or birth certificate, accompanied by a driver's license or some other form of government-issued identification.

As early as Jan. 1, 2008, all U.S. citizens returning from other countries -- including Canada -- will be required to present a passport or some comparable document, as yet to be determined. Some federal lawmakers are seeking to change that deadline to June 2009 or later.


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