Passports Now More Important for International Travel - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus

Passports Now More Important for International Travel

If you're planning to fly out of the country, you need to pay attention. Starting today, you'll need a passport to get back in.

But what does the future hold for other forms of travel.

The government says it's a way to further curb terrorism. And so far, no problems at airports across the country. But locally business has more than doubled to get those passports done on time.

It's a busy time of year at Preferred Vacations and Cruises. While it's cool outside, the weather is perfect for a vacation in the Caribbean.

"This is considered the wave season and with everybody traveling we're just staying constantly busy," said Laura Schelling, travel agent.

Laura Schelling says they're getting a lot of questions concerning whether travelers need a passport. Her advice is even though you only need it now when flying, go ahead and get one on matter how you travel.

"If you are on a cruise and heaven forbid something should happen an you have to fly home from one of those ports and you don't have a passport you're going to have a lot of trouble getting back in," said Schelling.

Without a passport, custom agents will question you before you're allowed to leave the airport. One resident says its just the world we live in. He doesn't consider it too much of a hassle.

"Like you say, you go to Jamaica or somewhere in the Caribbean what have you, with it being right now, due to what's going on in the world, it's a good idea," said Marshall Muhammad, Columbus resident.

At the Milgen Road Post Office, they average twenty to thirty customers a day looking to get a passport.

"Over the last several months, we're probably doing about twice as many passports now," said Mike Matthews, U.S. Post Office supervisor.

In 2006, the State Department issued over twelve million passports which is the most they've ever issue for one year.

This year they expect to issue sixteen million.

And that's because by next January, no matter how you travel if you leave the country, you will need a passport to re-enter.

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