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As enhanced border crossing requirements loom big, more US states and Canadian provinces are putting in place the needed tools needed to make life easier for those seeking to cross the border.

For Americans headed to Montreal or Canadians visiting Michigan’s Mackinac Island or anywhere in the U.S., those trips will get a little more complex this summer.

There are still some details not settled, but officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection say they will be ready June 1, the day the United States begins following the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

The initiative strengthens documentation requirements for everyone entering the country, calling for passports or special driver’s licenses.

The requirements will be in effect along the entire U.S. border with Canada. The initiative doesn’t affect Mexican nationals, who have always needed to present a passport and visa to come into the U.S.

Vermont, New York, Michigan and Washington State and the province of Quebec are the only places issuing enhanced driver’s licenses, according to the customs agency. The license is designed for travel into the U.S. by land or sea. It can be a great convenience for those frequently crossing the border to have these special and more secure licenses.

Homeland Security delayed full implementation of the travel initiative after numerous of complaints from officials in all states along the border.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., helped pass the legislation that delayed full implementation.

He was known to have stated that this would avoid large issues that otherwise would have plagued those members of his state dependent on border travel. The economic hardship of moving too fast to implement these new rules could have been devastating.

Scanners have been installed at most of Vermont’s border crossings to read the chips of the enhanced, secure drivers licenses. These scanners greatly reduce the delays in making a crossing.

Over several hours, this can be significant, said John Makolin, the CBP area port director for Vermont and New Hampshire.

“It does add up and it may seem incidental, but as time goes on and the document gets out there, it’s quicker, quicker, quicker,” Makolin said.

With the Quebec holiday of St. Jean Baptiste Day coming in late June and Canada Day is in early July, these new policies and changes are going to be tested significantly.

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One Response to “With Enhancements to Border Checks Coming in June, U.S. and Canada are preparing”

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