If you or your attendees are still waiting on passports, you’re not alone. When the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requiring passports for air travel between the U.S. and Canada, Bermuda, Mexico and the Caribbean went into effect in January, it created incredible demand for passports among U.S. citizens. Many who paid the $60 expedition fee on top of the $97 application fee did not receive their passports within the expected 14 days, creating problems for those who are traveling outside the United States this summer.
The good news is if you can show a government-issued photo ID and Department of State official proof of application, you will be allowed to depart and re-enter the U.S. by air through Sept. 30, 2007. Travelers who need to check their passport application status and print out proof of application can do so here. The relaxed passport regulation only applies to travel within the Western Hemisphere; passports will still be required for travel to other destinations.
Also, the U.S. Department of State is issuing refunds to travelers who paid to have passport applications expedited, but did not receive them in time. To receive the refund, applicants should send a written refund application to Passport Services, 1111 19th Street, Washington, D.C. 20036. Include name, date of birth, date of application, passport number (if applicable), mailing address and phone number.