M.I.S.S. Jet Set: Border Patrol

It’s pretty a pretty sure bet that you’ll need a passport when you’re traveling by air across an ocean to another continent – North America to Europe, for instance, or Australia to Africa. But what if you’re traveling right across the U.S. border into Canada, or into Mexico? What if you’re driving your own car there? And what’s the protocol if you’re traveling by sea?

These are times when border procedures can get a little vague. Here are a few guidelines to help you out if you’re traveling from the U.S. into one of it’s bordering countries or nearby islands.


Air – All travelers are required to present a passport. Period.
maharishi bonsai passport holder
Passport Cover by Maharishi, GBP 60

Sea – Currently no passport is needed to cross into Mexico from the U.S. by sea (cruise ship or boat). However, by June 2009 all seagoing passengers coming back IN to the U.S. will be required to present a passport. It is assumed that the passport will be checked before departing for Mexico as well.

Land – Currently, no passport is needed to cross into Mexico from the U.S. by land (car, bus, other vehicle). However, proof of citizenship is required at checkpoints (birth certificate, driver’s license). By June 2009 all visitors will be required to present a passport when returning to the U.S. from Mexico, so you will need one before crossing into Mexico.

The full story and more passport cover options after the jump . . .


Air – All travelers are required to present a passport.

passport cover
Pink Passport Cover, Neiman Marcus, $32
Embossed Passport Cover, Neiman Marcus, $32

Sea – Currently proof of citizenship is needed to cross back into the U.S. by sea from Canada. Passports will be required as of January 31, 2008 to re-enter the U.S. In mid 2008, passports will be required of ALL travelers at ALL checkpoints to re-enter the U.S.

Land – The same guidelines apply to land entry as to sea entry.

Graphic Croc Passport Cover & Luggage Tag Set, Saks, $65
Paul Smith Passport Cover, Saks, $125

Caribbean Islands

There are varying entry requirements throughout the Caribbean islands. Your best bet is to have your passport ready before you book travel as you’ll need it to re-enter the U.S. anyway.

Regardless of where you’re traveling outside the United States, the safest bet is to get your passport or have your passport renewed at least three months before you leave the country. Though you may not need it to exit the U.S., you’ll definitely need it to re-enter the U.S.

Right now, the processing time for passports is roughly 6-8 weeks, depending on your location. If you live in a border city, the processing time may be even longer. Go to the U.S. Passport website for more information on applying for your passport, and further information on U.S. passport regulations.

Kate Spade Passport Cover, Kate Spade, $65

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