More needs to be done to educate border crossers on new documentation requirements to prevent lengthy delays at the ports of entry when changes take effect next year, says Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S.
“We have to do this in a way that is collaborative and co-operative,” Wilson said on Nov. 28, a day after visiting the U.S. southern border at Laredo. “We think a really strong effort has to be made to manage this.”
Wilson, who last visited San Antonio in 1992 to sign NAFTA on Canada’s behalf, said he’s concerned that confusion among border crossers and the additional time it will take for U.S. agents to check paperwork could cause frustrating backups at the ports — something that could deter tourism and stymie trade between the countries.
Starting Jan. 31, U.S. and Canadian citizens will be required to show a government-issued identity card and proof of citizenship, like a passport or birth certificate, when entering the United States by land at the northern and southern borders.
Additional passport requirements, similar to those implemented for air travellers early this year, will go into effect next summer for border crossers.
Amy Kudwa, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said the agency has been holding news conferences, publishing documents and trying to send a clear message to travellers about what will be required.
For more information on new travel requirements, visit www.dhs.gov/xtrvlsec/crossingborders/whtibasics.shtm; www.voyage.gc.ca.