BEWARE! : New U.S. entry requirements

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    Princessa
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    BEWARE! : New U.S. entry requirements

    Post by Princessa on Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:25 pm






    Will your travel plans take you across international borders? Here's what you'll need to get in.

    Planning to travel to the U.S. in the near future? Remember this date: June 1, 2009 . That's when the last phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) comes into effect and restrictions at the border will get even tighter. After May 31, a birth certificate and driver's license won't be enough to get you into the U.S. at land and sea entry points. A Certificate of Indian Status or Certificate of Canadian Citizenship won't be accepted either. Instead, you'll have to present a WHTI-compliant document when you cross the border. So what are your options?

    Passport
    Best for: People who plan to travel internationally. According to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) it's " the only reliable and universally accepted travel and identification document available to Canadians for the purpose of international travel. "In other words, if you've got a passport, you're set to travel just about anywhere -- including the U.S.

    Process: It starts by filling out paperwork, gathering your I.D., getting a photo and finding a friend or family member to serve as your guarantor. You can send in your application via courier registered mail, or submit it through a receiving agent (i.e. designated Canada Post outlet or Service Canada location). You can take your application to your local MP's office and have staff check it over and mail it for you.

    If you're worried about mailing your birth certificate -- or want to cut the waiting time in half -- you can go to the nearest Passport Canada office instead. Some provinces only have one or two, so expect some travel time.

    Cost: The fees depends on size: 24 page passports cost $87 for adults, $37 for children ages 3 to 15, and $22 for children under 3. The cost for 48 page ones are slightly higher at $92, $39 and $24 respectively. Photos are extra, and there are additional fees for optional services like the $20 fee for Canada Post Receiving Agents, or "Express" or "Urgent" processing service ($30 and $70).

    Beware: If you don't have one yet -- or need a renewal -- do it now. Last time US entry requirements changed there were nasty backlogs of several weeks at application centres on both sides of the border. Hopefully, passport offices will be better prepared this time but the only way to avoid trouble is to apply or renew well in advances. Even at the best of times, passports can take two to four weeks to arrive.


    -------


    NEXUS card

    Best for: Canadian and U.S. citizens and permanent residents who frequently cross the Canada/U.S. border. NEXUS is one of two Trusted Traveller programs jointly run by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and it's designed to save time and hassle for pre-approved, low risk travellers. Members have the option to use automated self-serve kiosks at airports, dedicated lanes at land border crossings and a phone-in feature for arrival by sea. These services can make it faster to use a NEXUS card instead of a passport.

    And it's not just good for land and sea: Members can use their NEXUS card for air travel to the U.S. or Canada.

    Cost:
    $50 application fee for a five year membership for adults, and $50 to renew. Application and renewal fees are waived for children under the age of 18.

    Process: The reason the NEXUS card speeds up the security process is that a lot of the leg work is done before you reach the border. As with passports, you can apply online or print out a paper application. The process involves determining your eligibility and conducting risk assessments.

    Once you're accepted, you'll have to visit an enrolment centre in order to review your documents with officials and receive your membership card. In addition to a photograph, you'll also be required to provide biometric data -- like your finger prints and a digital photograph of your irises.

    Beware: It won't be a quick and easy application. CSBA warns that the process to determine whether you're eligible or not can take six to eight weeks (whether you apply online or not). Once you have a membership, you should renew it at least three months before it expires to avoid any disruptions. NEXUS enrolment centres are often few and far between. Expect some travel time if you plan to go this route.

    Also, the availability of special services depends on location, and in order to use them everyone travelling with you may need a NEXUS card too. For instance, you can't use those dedicated security lanes if there's someone in your car who isn't a member.

    Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card
    Best for: Commercial importers, carriers and registered drivers. It's the second Trusted Travellers program, and it's meant to make it faster and easier to ship goods across the border.

    You might see the FAST card on a list of WHTI-compliant documents, but it's not an option for the average traveller. If you don't already have one, chances are you won't need one now. (For more information, see the


    ----------

    Exceptions ('Special Audiences')

    As always, there are exceptions to the rules. Here's what these groups can expect after June 1, 2009:

    Children: Canadian citizens under 15 years old or younger won't need a passport for land and sea entry -- a birth certificate or Canadian Citizenship Card will do. The same rule applies for children under the age of 18 who are travelling with an organized group (like a school field trip) -- proof of citizenship (along with parental approval, of course) is all that's required.
    Even if the child has a passport or NEXUS card, a birth certificate may still be required to show the names of both parents. Depending on the circumstance -- such as travelling with a child who isn't your son or daughter -- additional documents like a parental consent letter and any custody documents may also be required.

    People who have Indian Status: According to the government of Canada, there's a new Secure Certificate of Indian Status in the works for land and sea entry. Unfortunately, no one's sure when it will be approved and implemented.

    Boaters and passengers of ferries and small boats: Passengers and boaters are required to present a WHTI-compliant document when they enter the country by sea. If you have a passport or NEXUS card, you can phone ahead for clearance.

    Which is best?
    Confused yet? Remember, the trick is to figure out which option suits the needs of you and your family. Cost, convenience, how you travel, how often you travel and where you travel are all considerations. Even if you're not planning a trip in the near future, you may need to travel if an emergency comes up. What documentation will you need to get to your friends and family in a hurry?

    Bear in mind that these options are all secure documents. It won't be easy or inexpensive to replace them, and you will have to alert the proper authorities if your card is lost or stolen -- like the police, passport officials or your NEXUS enrolment centre.

    Any of these WHTI-compliant documents will do for land and sea entry. The trick is to apply early and be patient. The Canadian government is already warning people that the deadline is approaching, so expect lots of other like-minded people to be applying as well.


    Last edited by Princessa on Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:52 pm; edited 3 times in total
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    Princessa
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    Re: BEWARE! : New U.S. entry requirements

    Post by Princessa on Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:40 pm

    Facebook is a ridiculously huge distraction for students


    I wasn't sure if the point of this story was too obvious to bear blogging about, but I figured in the end it bore repeating: In a nutshell, Facebook is a ridiculously huge distraction for students -- and now one study says that using the popular social network can have a measurable effect on their grades.

    The study comes from Ohio State University's education department and involved polling over 200 students about their Facebook habits. The results probably weren't a huge surprise: 65 percent of students checked Facebook at least once a day and usually more frequently than that, with some kids spending more than an hour on the site daily.

    But those that did use the site had remarkably lower grades -- the equivalent of a full letter grade average lower than their non-Facebookin' counterparts.

    None of this should come as much of a shock: The less time you spend on your schoolwork, I'd imagine the lower your grades are likely to be, whether that time is spent on Facebook or some other diversion. Whether Facebook is unique in causing grades to fall vs. video games, frat parties, football games, or watching 24 marathons is probably yet to be proven.


    The really interesting thing I found about the Ohio State study, however, is a tiny statistic buried at the bottom of the story: According to the research, 79 percent of Facebookers felt that time spent on the website "had no impact on their work." Now that's interesting. It's one thing to waste time online even though you know it's hurting your productivity or your grades, it's something else not to realize (or pretend) that it's having an impact. In other words: Think before you poke.
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    Princessa
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    Re: BEWARE! : New U.S. entry requirements

    Post by Princessa on Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:43 pm

    Dad wins $1M from son's scratch-and-win gift


    ST..JOHNS (CBC) - A Labrador man says he still cannot believe how lucky his son's birthday gift turned out to be.

    "I jumped up and I looked at it, and looked at it," said Happy Valley-Goose Bay resident Max Matthews, recalling how he reacted to seeing a scratch-and-win ticket that told him he won a $1-million prize.

    Matthews's adult son, Patrick, picked up the $10 Monopoly-themed ticket as a present, hoping his dad would win enough to pay for a few truck accessories.

    After the family took the ticket to the local store to have the win confirmed, Matthews jumped and danced for joy and then got sick outside from the excitement.

    "It was for real, it was $1 million. I'm shaking," a smiling Matthews told CBC News.

    Matthews will pick up the cheque on Monday, although he is clear what he will do with the money.

    His wife, Lillian Matthews, said the win will likely change their lives.

    "I think the first thing I said to Max was, 'Now we can redo our bathroom.' He said, 'Redo the bathroom?' Now we can have a new house,' " she said.

    Matthews said he indeed is planning something better than what the family now owns. "This is a mini-home and I already wanted a house, something with a full basement and everything like that," he said.

    Patrick Matthews said he won't forget the phone call he received from his father.

    "He's saying, 'Come home, I won a million dollars.' Yeah, right. Come on. No one around here wins a million dollars," he said.

    Meanwhile, Patrick said his own expectations from his newly enriched dad are not that high.

    "He can take care of my debts and take care of my school [expenses], and we'll be square," he said with a broad smile. "We'll call it even."
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    Sabastian
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    Re: BEWARE! : New U.S. entry requirements

    Post by Sabastian on Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:01 pm

    wow ... now dat's a good news!!!
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    Princessa
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    BEWARE! New U.S. entry requirements

    Post by Princessa on Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:41 pm




    Will your travel plans take you across international borders? Here's what you'll need to get in.

    Planning to travel to the U.S. in the near future? Remember this date: June 1, 2009 . That's when the last phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) comes into effect and restrictions at the border will get even tighter. After May 31, a birth certificate and driver's license won't be enough to get you into the U.S. at land and sea entry points. A Certificate of Indian Status or Certificate of Canadian Citizenship won't be accepted either. Instead, you'll have to present a WHTI-compliant document when you cross the border. So what are your options?

    Passport
    Best for: People who plan to travel internationally. According to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) it's " the only reliable and universally accepted travel and identification document available to Canadians for the purpose of international travel. "In other words, if you've got a passport, you're set to travel just about anywhere -- including the U.S.

    Process: It starts by filling out paperwork, gathering your I.D., getting a photo and finding a friend or family member to serve as your guarantor. You can send in your application via courier registered mail, or submit it through a receiving agent (i.e. designated Canada Post outlet or Service Canada location). You can take your application to your local MP's office and have staff check it over and mail it for you.

    If you're worried about mailing your birth certificate -- or want to cut the waiting time in half -- you can go to the nearest Passport Canada office instead. Some provinces only have one or two, so expect some travel time.

    Cost: The fees depends on size: 24 page passports cost $87 for adults, $37 for children ages 3 to 15, and $22 for children under 3. The cost for 48 page ones are slightly higher at $92, $39 and $24 respectively. Photos are extra, and there are additional fees for optional services like the $20 fee for Canada Post Receiving Agents, or "Express" or "Urgent" processing service ($30 and $70).

    Beware: If you don't have one yet -- or need a renewal -- do it now. Last time US entry requirements changed there were nasty backlogs of several weeks at application centres on both sides of the border. Hopefully, passport offices will be better prepared this time but the only way to avoid trouble is to apply or renew well in advances. Even at the best of times, passports can take two to four weeks to arrive.
    avatar
    Princessa
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    Posts : 209
    Join date : 2009-03-17
    Location : Canada

    Re: BEWARE! : New U.S. entry requirements

    Post by Princessa on Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:48 pm

    NEXUS card

    Best for: Canadian and U.S. citizens and permanent residents who frequently cross the Canada/U.S. border. NEXUS is one of two Trusted Traveller programs jointly run by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and it's designed to save time and hassle for pre-approved, low risk travellers. Members have the option to use automated self-serve kiosks at airports, dedicated lanes at land border crossings and a phone-in feature for arrival by sea. These services can make it faster to use a NEXUS card instead of a passport.


    And it's not just good for land and sea: Members can use their NEXUS card for air travel to the U.S. or Canada.

    Cost:
    $50 application fee for a five year membership for adults, and $50 to renew. Application and renewal fees are waived for children under the age of 18.

    Process: The reason the NEXUS card speeds up the security process is that a lot of the leg work is done before you reach the border. As with passports, you can apply online or print out a paper application. The process involves determining your eligibility and conducting risk assessments.

    Once you're accepted, you'll have to visit an enrolment centre in order to review your documents with officials and receive your membership card. In addition to a photograph, you'll also be required to provide biometric data -- like your finger prints and a digital photograph of your irises.

    Beware: It won't be a quick and easy application. CSBA warns that the process to determine whether you're eligible or not can take six to eight weeks (whether you apply online or not). Once you have a membership, you should renew it at least three months before it expires to avoid any disruptions. NEXUS enrolment centres are often few and far between. Expect some travel time if you plan to go this route.

    Also, the availability of special services depends on location, and in order to use them everyone travelling with you may need a NEXUS card too. For instance, you can't use those dedicated security lanes if there's someone in your car who isn't a member.

    Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card
    Best for: Commercial importers, carriers and registered drivers. It's the second Trusted Travellers program, and it's meant to make it faster and easier to ship goods across the border.

    You might see the FAST card on a list of WHTI-compliant documents, but it's not an option for the average traveller. If you don't already have one, chances are you won't need one now. (For more information, see the
    avatar
    Princessa
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    Posts : 209
    Join date : 2009-03-17
    Location : Canada

    Re: BEWARE! : New U.S. entry requirements

    Post by Princessa on Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:52 pm

    Exceptions ('Special Audiences')

    As always, there are exceptions to the rules. Here's what these groups can expect after June 1, 2009:

    Children: Canadian citizens under 15 years old or younger won't need a passport for land and sea entry -- a birth certificate or Canadian Citizenship Card will do. The same rule applies for children under the age of 18 who are travelling with an organized group (like a school field trip) -- proof of citizenship (along with parental approval, of course) is all that's required.
    Even if the child has a passport or NEXUS card, a birth certificate may still be required to show the names of both parents. Depending on the circumstance -- such as travelling with a child who isn't your son or daughter -- additional documents like a parental consent letter and any custody documents may also be required.

    People who have Indian Status: According to the government of Canada, there's a new Secure Certificate of Indian Status in the works for land and sea entry. Unfortunately, no one's sure when it will be approved and implemented.

    Boaters and passengers of ferries and small boats: Passengers and boaters are required to present a WHTI-compliant document when they enter the country by sea. If you have a passport or NEXUS card, you can phone ahead for clearance.

    Which is best?
    Confused yet? Remember, the trick is to figure out which option suits the needs of you and your family. Cost, convenience, how you travel, how often you travel and where you travel are all considerations. Even if you're not planning a trip in the near future, you may need to travel if an emergency comes up. What documentation will you need to get to your friends and family in a hurry?

    Bear in mind that these options are all secure documents. It won't be easy or inexpensive to replace them, and you will have to alert the proper authorities if your card is lost or stolen -- like the police, passport officials or your NEXUS enrolment centre.

    Any of these WHTI-compliant documents will do for land and sea entry. The trick is to apply early and be patient. The Canadian government is already warning people that the deadline is approaching, so expect lots of other like-minded people to be applying as well.

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